Guardian Carers Feature on BBC News London

Private care company – What we do and what makes us different

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In a private care arrangement, the care recipient gets support and assistance with daily activities such as cooking and shopping, and is helped to stay independent within the community. Part-time care and housekeeper companionship can also be successful arrangements.

Here we look at the pros and cons of employing a private care company.

Advantages and disadvantages of private care

Private care can be flexible, allowing as much or little care as you want. A reputable agency such as Guardian Carers will tailor a unique plan based around your requirements.

Disadvantages are that with some other agencies, different staff may be used from time to time meaning a lack of consistency.

Private care

Considerations before you choose a private agency

  • Work out your budget: Consider the length of time you need care for, and make an estimate. Take into account pensions and savings. Check eligibility for Attendance Allowance.
  • Think about what’s important: Your values matter. Specify if, for example, you want a female carer.
  • Get reviews and testimonials: Look online for recommendations.

Compare agencies

Get information from different agencies so you can compare providers. State how often you want them to visit, what activities require help, and your budget.

Draw up a shortlist

Contact the agencies that can meet your needs and arrange to meet with them.

Ask whether staff references are taken up before offering work, and what happens if the carer is off sick. How many different carers may visit? What sort of training and qualifications do the carers have?

Enquire if the private care company has a standard contract you can see, and ask about hourly charges. You could also check about bank holiday cover and how and when payment is required. Ask what insurance is in place, and whether a trial period is possible.


Private agencies need to be registered with the Care Quality Commission. The agency may belong to the United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA), which has a Code of Practice.

Private care

Private care costs

It is almost always considerably cheaper to arrange live-in care compared to the costs of a residential home, Normally private care is charged at an hourly rate - usually around £15–30 per hour. The costs will depend on the sort of care you want and it can be possible to pay upfront on a retainer basis, or to pay by Direct Debit.

Questions from the agency

The agency has to conduct an assessment of your needs before putting forward their care plan. This considers the assistance you need, and information about any illness.

Your mental status and ability to communicate will be assessed, and any problems with mobility or continence will be noted. Dietary preferences and cultural requirements are also important, and the agency may look at any health and safety issues based around carers accessing your property.

These steps should help you to find a good carer arrangement for yourself or a loved one.

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