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Finding care and support yourself

The following information will be helpful if you want to find care and support for the person you are looking after.


This information applies to people living in England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland.


There are different reasons why you might want to find care and support for the person you are looking after, including:

  • the person you are looking after does not want an assessment from the local council/trust
  • the person you are looking after was assessed as not needing care and support by the local council/trust
  • the person you are looking after has income/capital which means the local council/trust won’t help with the cost of care and support even if they agree that it is needed
  • the person you are looking after has been given direct payments from the local council/trust

There are different ways to find care and support depending on what you are looking for.


Finding residential care

It might be that the person you are looking after needs full-time care, and if so it might be decided that residential care is the best option to meet their care and support needs.

The local council/trust should be able to provide you with a list of residential care homes in the area, and should be able to advise on suitable residential care homes within their budget (if they are helping with the cost) or the budget of the person you are looking after if they are paying themselves.

You can search for residential care homes on the following websites:

If the person you are looking after has a life-limiting or terminal illness and you are looking for a hospice then Hospice UK has an online directory of hospice care providers in the UK.

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Finding care agencies

If the person you are looking after doesn’t need to go into residential care, but does need some care and support to help them in their own home, a care worker might be a good option. One way to access care workers is through care agencies.

The local council/trust should be able to provide you with a list of care agencies in the area, and should be able to advise on suitable care agencies within their budget (if they are helping with the cost) or the budget of the person you are looking after if they are paying themselves.

You can search for care agencies on the following websites:

Using a care agency can be more expensive that employing a care worker directly (see below), however it can sometimes be easier because the care agency will deal with all of the employment responsibilities and will provide a replacement if the intended care worker is off work.

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Finding care workers

If the person you are looking after doesn’t need to go into residential care, but does need some care and support to help them in their own home, you might decide to employ a care worker directly instead of using a care agency. If so, you or the person you are looking after will be taking on the responsibilities of an employer.

Some examples of employment responsibilities:

  • check the references of the intended employee and find out if they have had an up to date Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check
  • make sure the intended employee has the right to work in the UK
  • set up a system for paying wages, deducting tax and national insurance and keeping records for the Inland Revenue
  • ensure that the employee has the annual leave they are entitled to under ‘Working Time Regulations’, any maternity/paternity/sick pay they are entitled to and ensure you comply with auto enrolment duties
  • do a check to ensure that there are no potential health and safety risks to the employee because of the care they will be providing, as well as removing any potential dangers in your home that could put them at risk
  • ensure that you have suitable insurance cover (ie employer’s liability insurance and public liability insurance)

This is not a definitive list and if you or the person you are looking after are considering becoming an employer they should seek advice on their full responsibilities.

This can seem daunting, however, in many areas of the country there are organisations which can help with these responsibilities, and your local council/trust should be able to tell you about any relevant organisations in your area.

If you or the person you are looking after does want to employ a care worker and wants to know how to find care workers in their area, then they could ask their local council/trust if they hold any information on care workers in the area or they could place a job advert on websites like Gumtree and the government website Universal Jobmatch.

There are some useful websites which have helpful information about employing care workers:

  • ACAS provides advice and information to employers and employees and have some information on employing personal care workers and a guide for new employers
  • Being the Boss is a peer support website run by people with disabilities who aim to share knowledge, support and information around employing personal assistants
  • in Wales Dewis Cymru provides advice and information on direct payments and on employing personal assistants
  • in Scotland the Scottish Personal Assistant Employers Network (SPAEN) is a membership organisation which supports people to use a direct payment to employ personal assistants - they offer a range of support and services to enable people to engage their own staff
  • in Scotland Self-Directed Support Scotland is a one-stop-shop for information about self-directed support - it provides information about direct payments and links to local support organisations that can help you decide about employing care workers and to set up and manage your direct payment
  • in Northern Ireland the Centre for Independent Living provides advice and information on getting direct payments, using personal budgets and employing carers and personal assistants.
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Finding holidays

If you want to arrange a holiday for the person you are looking after, either with or without you, our Taking a Break factsheet has some useful organisations who might be able to help you arrange this.

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