August 10, 2022

Domiciliary Care: Everything you need to know

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If you want to know more about Domiciliary Care, this piece is the perfect place to get started. This brief guide from Birdie will help you understand more as a care professional, or provide some answers if you’re considering this type of care at home for a loved one.

Let’s go!

What is Domiciliary Care?

Put simply, Domiciliary Care (sometimes referred to as care at home or home care) is care that takes place within someone's own home. The term covers a variety of services that a homecare provider or care professional can offer when someone needs support with daily life, but wishes to stay in their home instead of going into a group home, hospice or hospital.

The term covers a lot of day-to-day assistance, such as:

  • Help with washing and dressing
  • Day-to-day household tasks, such as cooking, shopping, light housework
  • Personal care
  • Help with going to bed
  • Medication/clinical care
  • Support with mobility
  • Companionship

It could cover all of the above, or one or two elements. A care professional might visit a care recipient once during the day for an hour, stay most of the day, arrange several weekly visits or they may even live with the care recipient.

Many families prefer Domiciliary Care to a care home or other facility because it can be an emotional struggle for their loved one to leave familiar surroundings. Evidence has shown that remaining at home generally leads to remaining mentally and physically independent for longer, and can alleviate with diagnosis' like Alzheimers. The care recipient may also not need care 24 hours a day, so Domiciliary Care is often a better choice financially too!

Who is Domiciliary Care for?

Domiciliary Care is not just for elderly people. It can be for adults of any age, who perhaps may have a special need that requires more care - or who’ve been through a major illness or operation, and require recuperation and rehabilitation. 

While care professionals are the right people to carry out Domiciliary Care, they often work alongside other professionals, such as OT's (occupational therapists), GP's (General Practitioners) and nurses to deliver the best care possible. In some cases, family members themselves provide the care - and organisations such as Age UK, Mind and Marie Curie can often provide additional resources to help navigate this tricky relationship.

Why is Domiciliary Care important?

Apart from allowing an individual to remain in the comfort of their own surroundings (with all the memories, belongings and routines that make them feel safe) Domiciliary Care has many other well-documented benefits.

Possibly the most important aspect of Domiciliary Care is that the care recipient is able to remain as independent as possible. Even when there is more need for specialist care, the recipient can choose when they want to eat, when they want to go to bed, bathe, go out and more. 

The benefits of Domiciliary Care

We have touched on why Domiciliary Care is important - but here are some more benefits in choosing Domiciliary Care:

  • It gives the care recipient plenty of support without removing their independence
  • Choosing Domiciliary Care means there’s no need to change existing routines, such as a morning walk or afternoon gardening
  • It acts as a layer of added support for concerned loved ones who cannot be there every day
  • Domiciliary Care provides many more flexible options than choosing a care home
  • It allows for friends and family to pop in at any time rather than adhering to designated time slots
  • With the right homecare agency, care is customised to the recipient, tailored exactly to their needs
  • Domiciliary Care helps to reduce feelings of loneliness for those who don’t have regular visitors - while not overwhelming them with forced group socilisation

Domiciliary Care allows people to remain at home, in charge of their routine and surrounded by the things they treasure

Examples of Domiciliary Care

Domiciliary Care covers a range of support, and some people may need more help than others. 

Some people may just want companionship, someone to talk to, perhaps play a game of cards with or to take them out for a walk.

Other types of Domiciliary Care include light household tasks, assistance with shopping, meal preparation perhaps administering medication or special medical care. 

There’s also specialist support which includes a care professional liaising with other services, such as nurses and doctors or occupational therapists. 

Some care professionals just drop in for half an hour a day whereas others are there round-the-clock. 

As you can tell, the biggest advantage of Domiciliary Care is that it is tailored to the recipient’s exact needs!

Who pays for Domiciliary Care and how much is it?

For some individuals there’s financial assistance available for Domiciliary Care, which is accessible through the local authority.  However, it is means tested, and requires quite a few conditions.

Often loved ones or the care recipient pay for some or all of their Domiciliary Care. It’s a good idea to look at Attendance Allowance to help towards this cost - but it is difficult to assess how much Domiciliary Care will be as everyone has different needs, and it depends on where you live in England as well as what local authority support you’re entitled to. In London, for example, it is more expensive than in smaller towns.

If you’re considering domiciliary care for a loved one, it’s worth speaking to a couple of homecare providers to get an idea as to the cost attached. If you are planning on starting a homecare agency or business then do the same - assess what the local rates are in your area, and plan your own accordingly.

What are the differences between Domiciliary Care and Residential Care?

The biggest difference between Domiciliary Care and residential care is that the care recipient can stay at home without the upheaval of leaving their familiar surroundings. The other key differences include having truly personalised care, usually with the same care professional (although sometimes this isn’t an option). 

Independence is retained, because it’s up to the care recipient when they want to do things such as get up, eat, go out, bathe, dress etc. In a residential care home, there are more rigid schedules in place - and because there are specified visiting hours, a care recipient will not have the flexibility of being able to see friends or family whenever they wish.

Choosing Domiciliary Care over residential care is usually a better option for families and care recipients, as it means more independent living and less upheaval which can be stressful, especially for elderly people.

Find out how Michael, a care recipient of Alina Homecare, is thriving thanks to domiciliary care:

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