Guardian Carers Feature on BBC News London

Revenue - Private Care

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In response to the increase in the ageing population, the demand for private home care services is also continuing to rise. The private care industry is now worth 7.2 billion per year, and while the NHS is providing care to a number of vulnerable adults and elderly people, there is still plenty of room for care agencies to offer private care services to those who need them. Private home care agencies assign reliable professional and qualified carers to clients who would require care in their own home and collecting certain payments directly from clients.

Many families are now opting for private home care as it allows them to be in control of the support they receive. With one-on-one, personal support and assistance, private care plans can be built for the client’s requirement. While the private home market is believed to have remained at a fairly consistent value over the last five years, the commercial sector is expected to represent over a fifth of the total market value. This also includes the private sector supply and voluntary informal professions.

The market for private home care has several key differences to most other health and social care markets. Whilst most health and care markets are labour-intensive. Unlike them, the private home care services tend to include a workforce of relatively of formal qualifications, which means home care would be competing with the wider economy, either for staff or minimum wage.

The United Kingdom Associates (UKHCA) estimates that around 249 million hours of private care in the home are provided in England each year. It is normally their priority to enable people to live their later years in a familiar surrounding and provide private care to people close to their home as possible. It should also be the NHS’s priority and aim to help elderly and more vulnerable people to stay healthy and independent, and to avoid hospital stays.


Even though the demand for private care in the home is continuing to rise, the future of the industry is still uncertain and the market is fragile. There are more agencies that are deregistering before having provided any services which, according to the Care Quality Commission, this gives a sense of uncertainty in the industry and there are concerns about the lack of care continuity. Private in-home care agency employs around 680,000 people, which are people who work in direct in-home care as care workers. These figures are very likely to increase significantly in the future years to match the growing need of private care, but the care industry is still struggling to recruit the number of staff it requires. Over half of private in-home care workers are employed on zero-hour contracts, which is more than in any other aspect of social care, and the turnover is also highest in private in-home care.

Local authorities have a duty to ensure that there are sufficient services of a high quality to meet the care needs. At times, this may not be the case when it comes to the increasing time of waiting for home care packages for people who are ready to leave the NHS hospitals. This is becoming the biggest reason for delayed discharge, which has risen from 12,777 bed days lost in August 2010, to 33,520 in March 2018.


Private carers can offer an array of support and assistance for someone who is need of care. There are a variety of care workers that can fulfil the role of a full-time or part-time carer, as well as live-in or live-out.


As certain health conditions are continuing to rise in the UK, such as dementia or parkinson’s , the need for private home care is increasing. Particularly with conditions such as this, it is beneficial for the individual to remain in the comfort of their own home, surrounded by their friends or family members, and their possessions. Certain conditions require 24 hour care, which means there is a rise for the need of live-in home carers which will ensure to provide constant support and help.

Hiring a Live-In carer tends to be the most expensive option for a client, considering the carer will be helping them for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But this very popular as it allows the individual to remain in the comfort of their own home, without worrying about going to a retirement residence, and in comparison it is much more affordable. Live-In care is different to other types of care because the wages are provided either by the day or the week. It will improve the quality of life for people and and much greater independence than a care home provider.

However, if you have no previous experience as a carer, it would not be recommended to start your profession with a live-in care role. You will be able to get a live-in care role eventually, but experience is needed. There are a variety of ways you can build up your experience before considering taking on a live-in position. Firstly, you could start doing some volunteering at a charity that specialises in adult or elderly care. This will allow you to become more knowledgeable about the industry. This will expose you to different situations and conditions that you will be dealing with as a full-time, live-in carer. At the same time, you will have staff around to support you who may be more experienced and can learn from. Secondly, you could also build up your experience by registering with a domiciliary care agency and taking courses that will provide you with more detailed, in-depth knowledge of the different conditions and debilitating illnesses.


Regarding health conditions, a nursing carer is also increasing in demand from people. Care can be provided less expensively to them, in comparison to moving into a care residence. A one-on-one personal carer is more likely to achieve better health outcomes for many individuals. There may be experiences where the care worker will need to provide care in coordination with a physician or other health care workers. Certain training, experience and qualifications would be required to handle certain medical conditions or disabilities.For example they may need to check a person’s blood pressure, assess the patient's condition, wound care. Nursing carers will often need to manage and administer prescription medication when the patient will need it. A nursing carer would also be required to check patients for a any muscle weaknesses and if their mobility is deteriorating. At times, it is required from the care worker prepare a care report to give any other medical specialists that are also caring for that individual. This would include identifying the care issues and making any recommendations about changes that could improve the patient's care plan.

If you are extremely passionate about caring and you would like to help others and make a difference in their lives, especially for some of the most vulnerable people. There is known to be a shortage in staff all across the care system, so deciding to take on the role in the industry can make an impact. Particularly with the number of elderly people, it is continuing to rise, which can also correlate to a rise in people with dementia which is expected to double to nearly 1.6 million by the year 2040. Because of this, the health and care industry will be under more pressure and become more demanding.


On average, a live-in carer working with a client with specialist care needs is able to ask for up to £160 gross per day, however, it is not unheard of for live-in carers to be paid more than that. Again it depends on the experience and qualifications of the carer as well as the type of care that is required.

The minimum wage of a live-in carer is inline with the National minimum wage or London minimum wage if you are based in London. Minimum wage is only applicable if you are aged between 21 and 25 years old, otherwise, you will qualify for the National living wage which is slightly higher than the minimum wage. Living and minimum wage typically increase each year, but as it stands the minimum wage for the UK is currently £7.70 per hour and the living wage for the UK is currently £8.21 per hour, in London, the living wage is again slightly higher at £10.55 per hour


While being a carer is an incredibly demanding, emotional and draining profession, it is also one of the most rewarding. Knowing that you are looking after someone so that they are able to stay in their home, within their community and surrounded by cherished positions and photographs that hold precious memories.

With your care and knowledge, you will be able to help guide your clients through adjustments within themselves that would be difficult to manage on their own. Whether they are dealing with the loss of a spouse, a decline in general health or navigating a recent diagnosis with more serious health issues.

Knowing they have had such a profound impact on their client’s lives is one of the main motivators with many of the carers that we work with. Not only are you helping the client, but you are also helping the family. A carer takes the pressure off family members to try and assist and support in situations that they do not feel comfortable in, for example, if their loved one has Alzheimer’s or Parkinsons and requires more complex care than they can provide.

Relationships can become strained, but with a carer, they are able to maintain happy and healthy relationships with their loved ones.

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