How to choose a home care agency

How to choose a home care agency

We know that choosing the right company to provide your care can be difficult. There are many different homecare agencies out there and navigating the process for the first time can seem daunting. Good care providers will have teams that will work with you to create a care package that meets your needs but being armed with the right questions can help you to find that provider.

  • What you want your carer to do?

    It is best to start by having an idea of what you want your carer to do when they come to visit.

    • What things do you want them to help with? Is it your personal care (washing, dressing, getting up), help around the house or with meals, help remembering to take your medication, maybe help getting to the shops. Most agencies will be able to help with all of these but some may not and it can help you narrow down the choice.
    • How often and at what time do you want them to visit?
    • How much can you afford to pay for the help?

    Sometimes chatting with a family member, friend, or social services can help with this as they can give you ideas or guidance on what may be best.

  • Make a list of homecare agencies

    The next thing is making a list of homecare agencies available in your area. Your local social services team will be able to give you a list, or you can find them on various online directories.

    Regulated by Care Quality CommissionFind the ones that can meet your needs and then make sure you check that they are regulated by the healthcare regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC monitor and inspect companies to check that they meet the required standards of quality and safety. They also publish reports on the agencies that they inspect to help people choose care.

    It is also good to check if the agency is a member of the United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA); these agencies are required to adhere to its Code of Practice to ensure that high standards of care are provided.

  • Contact the care agencies and arrange to meet with them

    You should now have a shortlist of agencies that you think may meet your needs. The next step is to contact them and arrange to meet with them. This will usually be a meeting at your home and is the time for you to ask any questions you have about how the care would work.

    Some ideas of questions to ask could be:

    • Can I contact your agency during the day, outside office hours and in an emergency?
    • How many different carers will look after me?
    • Is your organisation insured in order to protect my safety and interests?
    • Do you interview all your care workers before offering them work and get references?
    • Do all your carers undergo a criminal record disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service?
    • What sort of training do your carers receive before they start work and during their employment?
    • How will carers get into my home if I can’t answer the door? How will that information be kept secure?
    • Are there any hidden extras in the prices you quote?


    During that meeting the care agency should be doing their own assessment of what care they think you would need. They should ask you questions about what help you need, how you can get about in your home, what your dietary requirements are, if anyone has power of attorney for you. They will also look around your home to make sure that there are no risks to you or to the carers that will be coming in to help you. This is a very important part of the process and if the agency doesn’t do it you should ask them to.

    It is often helpful to have a friend or family member with you at these meetings so you can chat afterwards about if you liked them or any areas of concern. Never be scared to ask the agency to come back again if there are any things you aren’t sure of.

  • Agree the care plan and sign a contract

    Once you have made your decision about the company you prefer you will have to sign a contract with them and agree the care plan that they will provide. You should always be able to cancel that contract with a bit of notice so if you do find that you are not happy with the company you can change it.