With people living longer lives, a ‘problem’ has presented itself – a shortfall in social care availability and a rising demand for it.
A much-touted ‘solution’ pushed by the local authorities and the NHS is the hiring of personal assistants. This low-cost solution allows people to receive in-home care and retain some independence, but is it the right option for you?
The landscape of personal care is ever-changing so it’s important that you’re kept up to date with the options that you have.
Here we’re going to take a look at two seemingly similar choices – hiring a personal assistant and the option of live-in care.
Should you hire a personal assistant? What are the benefits and challenges of doing so? How does the service compare to live-in care and traditional care homes?
Let’s look at the most fundamental aspects of care and see how each option stacks up.
(For more information on live-in care before we start, see here – What is Live-in Care?)
Finding the right person
Hiring a personal assistant gives you the benefit of choice. Not just of the person who will be providing the care, but also their duties.
That said, the net isn’t infinitely wide. You won’t be able to pay a friend or a family member to provide your care – unless they’re a registered carer.
You will also need to think about where you will find the right person. To do this, and to appoint an assistant yourself full stop, you effectively need to become an employer.
This involves advertising, paying fees, recruitment and selection, payroll, checking someone’s right to work in the UK, and DBS checks.
There’s ongoing management required too, such as overseeing holidays and any grievances.
You could use a recruitment agency to help find someone, but this could be costly, and you will still need to do the ongoing management.
You don’t have to worry about any of this with a live-in care service.
The question is, how hands-on do you want to be?
Continuation of care
A key benefit of employing your own personal assistant is that you always know who your carer will be. With other care options you might not always know who will be arriving for each visit. As an employer though, it will be up to you to arrange suitable cover for holidays and sickness etc.
With live-in care from Promedica24, continuation of care is a priority. Generally, carers will live-in for up to 12 weeks at a time, usually 6 weeks. In most scenarios two carers will share the role, each working six weeks on then six weeks off.
This provides the all-important familiarity whilst increasing the size of your care team. You also don’t need to worry about any scheduling.
The role of an agency
Because of the workload involved in hiring a personal assistant, there’s been a growing trend of families appointing organisations, either private or not-for-profit, to act as middlemen. This can help limit a family’s involvement as the agency can take care of things like recruitment, payroll, DBS checking, insurance etc.
Despite this though, the carer is still either employed by the family or self-employed. The question of accountability remains if something goes wrong.
Live-in care by comparison is a fully managed service meaning there’s nothing you need to do day-to-day. Any queries or issues are all taken care of by them.
Safety and security
A personal assistant comes and goes, just like they would at any traditional job. A live-in carer does exactly as it says, they live with your loved one. 24/7.
Not only will they be on hand at all hours for all eventualities, they will be able to take on extra tasks, such as ensuring the property is secure at night. They are more invested personally in the role and act like that extra family member that you need.
A key consideration when deciding which option is best for you is the regulations. Personal assistants are unregulated, whilst the Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulates all live-in care providers.
Therefore, whilst most experienced personal assistants will do a great job, it’s important to do some extra due diligence before making an appointment.
You can find out more about the regulatory differences here.
The BIG one: quality of care
Of course, you would expect a bit more from a live-in carer and generally that’s exactly what you get. A regulated carer, no admin or related tasks that come with being an employer, and someone who devotes their time to caring for your loved one 24/7 whilst they are on placement.
In terms of cost, you are effectively looking at three tiers:
- Low-cost, high workload: personal assistants
- Medium cost, low workload: live-in care
- High cost, low workload: traditional care homes
How to decide
Your decision is two-fold:
- Resources and time: Your financial position and the time you have to manage things
- What type of care do you want for your loved one?
Are you happy with the workload that hiring and managing a personal assistant comes with?
Do you want your loved one to remain at home or go and live in a care home?
If you do want your loved one to retain their independence then it’s important that you understand all the options available to you, which we hope we have portrayed here.
Live-in care is now affordable for the vast majority, thanks to our innovative approach to sourcing quality carers and our experience in this field.
If you can find the right personal assistant and want to manage your affairs entirely by yourself, then that’s a good option. However, if you want a complete, premium service at an affordable price, it’s worth considering live-in care as a viable alternative to a traditional care home.
To find out more about how Promedica24 can help with live-in care, have a look at what we do here or simply call us on 01254 375023. Alternatively, you can take an online care assessment to see exactly how we can help you or your loved one.
In health, happiness and independence,
-Gary Derbyshire, Promedica24