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What do we need and how do we sort it out? Eek.. - Carers UK Forum

What do we need and how do we sort it out? Eek..

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Cryptic title but hey..I'm tired. Image

Mum has been discharged from hospital (again Image ) but this time she has got a careworker coming in, first time she has ever had this. She doesn't really like the idea but has acknowledged that she needs more help than we and her neighbour can provide for her.

At the moment she doesn't need to pay for the service (it's called reablement and it is set up by the hospital with Social Services) but after 4-6 weeks that will stop.
So..we have to employ a careworker. Social Services have told me that it will probably be chaeper to find one ourselves rather than through them, mum has considerable savings after scrimping and saving for all of her life so she would not be eligible for any help.
They have sent me a list of agencies they use which I am going to look into but am also thinking of maybe taking on someone that mum knows, we will have to think about it.

At present she is getting 4 visits a day. An hour in the morning to get her out of bed, help her to the loo and stay with her while she washes, she needs help to get dressed now. CW will make her a cuppa and toast for brekkie and ensure she is settled in her chair. She returns at lunchtime, today she supported mum to make her own cooked lunch (brill!!) but she could make a sarnie for mum if needed. A quick visit at teatime and then an hour at bedtime to get her toileted, washed and undressed, and into bed. She is also supervising mum's meds which are in a marked blister pack.

We anticipate that that some of these needs will lessen but not significantly, dressing and making food will still need assisstance as she has become forgetful. Where do we start?

I'm guessing this is what's called personal care but how do I find out about average costs, how to make sure we get someone reliable, do I need to do anything about tax (gulp), seriously...I haven't got a clue where to start and it's scary.

Any pointers that anyone could give would be gratefully received.

If you employ someone directly, you have full employer responsibilities and need to take out insurances, and ensure that your staff have all the necessary training. Those are costs that can come out of your budget but as a result it may not be all that much cheaper than using an agency.
As Charles says, if you employ someone yourselves you will need to take out employee liability insurance, if you use someone who only works for you and they earn below the National Insurance and Income Tax thresholds they and you will not be liable to make contributions, the thresholds for next year are here:


but, whether they are liable for tax and NI or not, it is worth using a payroll service, these are not expensive and reduce the administrative burden on you. You will need to provide the person you employ with a contract of employment but organisations who support people in receipt of direct payments can provide these and they can be adapted to your needs. All employees have employment rights including the right to holiday leave, there is a calculator available to work out their entitlement. Employing someone yourselves give more choice, including choice of who works for you, and flexibility than using an agency but it does make extra work not all of which can be avoided by using the services of other organisations.

If you do decide to go down the direct employment link I can give you more information.

Even if social services is not involved in the provision of care they should be willing to advise and assist you, for example by giving you a list of their approved care agencies if that is the route which you choose so that you can find one which is suitable.
In Scotland we have free personal care and this is provided for my Dad through social services homecare scheme. If the homecarer is sick or on holidays then the office provide someone else, if we used direct payments we would have to have a crew of people for him to have three or four visits each day, seven days a week.

Dad`s homecare "team" at the moment can entail him seeing up to eight different staff in a week, but they are all girls who love his banter and he secretly enjoys the company.

Hopefully your mum will settle into the new routine well and you will wonder what all the fuss was about.

Take care
I would suggest that you ask Social Services to arrange carers to start with - then see how things go. I ended up being responsible for my son's care arrangements and it's been such a nightmare, now all in the hands of the Ombudsman. Mum contributes to her care, but as her savings are below the threshold of £22,000 she doesn't pay the full amount. Her DLA goes into a joint account with me, and so only half of the money in the account is regarded as hers, which helps keep her contribution down. The going hourly rate in my area is between £10 and £11 per hour, to give you a very rough guide. If mum is just above the threshold for care in your area (should be on the authorities website) then it might be worth encouraging her to spend a bit on something she genuinely needs to help her, e.g. an adjustable bed, washer/dryer, new carpet. Make sure the local authority do a full financial assessment - try to be present when this is done. It might still be worth checking with the helpline to make sure that you both have everything which you are entitled to. The assessor should also point your mum in the direction of any additional benefits which she might be entitled to. Do you have Power of Attorney for her? It's easiest to do this when your mum still has mental "capacity". Hope that helps.
Many thanks for all your replies.

I think we are going to look to a care agency to provide what is needed at the end of the 4/6 weeks, we will also have a clearer picture then of how mum is doing with her mobility and other issues.

Without giving too much away, it is safe to say that she is way, way above the threshold for assistance from Social Services so we will pay the agency ourselves. that isn't the problem, we just want to make sure we get it right.

She will still need ongoing help with washing and dressing so I think that is personal care? Her mobilty is improving (woohoo!!) but she may well continue to need the help to cook her meal (preparing and cooking fresh food-current careworker is supporting her to do this) and put her to bed at night after undressing and washing.

It has only been 5 days and so far it has been a very positive experience. She has the same CW coming in 4 times daily with a different lady on Sunday and they are both very good. Weekday CW has told mum she is as sharp as a pin and makes sure mum eats while mum has returned the kindness and shown CW how to make a gorgeous beefy gravy from meat stock. Image I think she is doing so well because the worry is off her shoulders now, she doesn't have to struggle to do simple tasks anymore. This gives her more energy, her appetite is increasing a bit..it's all good.

I am delighted beyond measure. When I walked into mum's on Saturday, I shut the door almost silently as I had got so used to her being asleep when I arrived. She called out "is that you Angela?" and I nearly dropped..more so when I walked in the living room and saw her sitting with her hair in curlers. Her eyes sparkled and I haven't seen that for more than 6 months, truly a wonderful feeling. Image

The care agency have been on the phone at least three times to check mum is happy and is coming out tomorrow to see if there is anything else she requires. Mum has worked all her life and scrimped and saved plus my dad had the foresight to sort out a good pension so she is for the moment, financially stable. My view is that the more she has, the more the government will get so better we use it for her welfare while she is still here!

I will probably approach the agency in a few weeks to discuss arrangements with them and see if we can come to an agreement.

Thanks for all your support x
It sounds as if you have hit the jackpot with this care agency!!! They sound absolutely fantastic, it's great to hear that there are some good news stories out there. Such a weight off your shoulders too. The agencies usually charge you a flat rate, then they are responsible for paying tax, holidays etc. The hourly rate is more, but so much less hassle for you. I'd so love to be able to go and see my mum without having to fill in the gaps in care. Yesterday I went to see her as she was having an Occupational Therapy assessment - and ended up shampooing the almost new carpet after a spillage which the care agency staff had ignored!
Cryptic title but hey..I'm tired. Image

how do I find out about average costs, how to make sure we get someone reliable, do I need to do anything about tax (gulp), seriously...I haven't got a clue where to start and it's scary.

Any pointers that anyone could give would be gratefully received.

You can download easy Payroll, Tax and Payslip software - I use Payroll Manager. It costs less than £100 per year, and includes quarterly updates to make sure you stay legal. Employers liability is less than £100. My sons employees dont actually pay tax or NI as they are students. So, basically, its cheap and its a doddle to employ people, dont be put off.