Top 10 tips for finding the right care provider

Sharon Bonfield examines the challenge of finding the right balance for your loved ones’ care needs.
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Finding the right care provider is a crucial, yet difficult process in addressing a loved one’s particular long-term care needs. In this article, I will take you through 10 important tips and considerations to help you in this endeavour and to ensure you’re making the best decision possible for your loved one.  

1. Does the provider address your immediate needs? 

Whether in-home care or residential home care, the first step is to ensure that a provider can meet those immediate care needs. To help you identify those needs, your local authority can carry out a care-needs assessment, following which, you’ll be issued with a care plan that will list your requirements. You can then use this plan to find a provider that will match your needs. 

2. Take time and care in the research process 

It can be a challenge to navigate the complex care system in the UK and find the right provider. It can also be a time when you feel worried and vulnerable. Therefore, it’s worth taking the time to do plenty of research so that you only have to go through this process once. Ensure that you have a really good understanding of what’s on offer before you make a final decision. If you rush it and make the wrong choices, you may risk having to start again. 

3. Next think about your changing needs 

The unfortunate truth is that a loved one’s needs are likely to increase over time. An important consideration to make is that a care provider might be able to meet your needs now, but will they be able to meet any future needs you think you may have?  

For example, it may be that their current need is relatively simple in-home care – such as some help with cooking or cleaning. Even in this case, it’s worth asking whether that care provider will be able to offer professional nursing care, should your loved one’s situation deteriorate. Alternatively, if you only need a basic level of care from a residential nursing home, do they have the facilities to offer more substantial nursing care, should the need arise? 

It’s worth bearing in mind the disruption and upheaval at having to move to a new residential home – or possibly even a new area – at a time when you will need it least. It’s worth considering those changing needs at the beginning of the process.  

4. Consult more than one care provider before making your decision 

When it comes to in-home care, you may have already found your favourite, but it’s still worth looking at others and bringing them into the interview process. After all, this will set a benchmark and help you to find the best one. It may potentially solidify your decision for choosing that initial provider, but it may also throw up other alternatives.  

With residential care the same applies; be sure to visit as many places as you have the time for. Again, this will give you a good idea of what’s out there and how they compare – and it will also give you a good feel for each place. 

Whether in-house or residential care, don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions. As the care provider, it’s their role to make sure your loved ones are looked after in the way you want. 

5. Asking the difficult questions  

Whatever care the provider is offering, it’s almost inevitable that, at some point, things will not be quite right. In order to work out if the provider is the right one, it’s vital to ask about the provider’s procedure if there is a problem. Try to find out how they would resolve any problems and if you’re not satisfied with the answers, the chances are this won’t be the best provider for you. 

6. How does the care home makes you feel? 

If it’s a care home that you’re considering that initial visit can be very revealing. COVID-19 permitting, the care home should be very happy for you to look round as a visitor and speak to the residents. If they’re not, it should immediately set some alarm bells ringing. 

Whilst you’re there, find out about what activities are on offer – for example, days out, coffee mornings or quizzes. This will give you a sense of what the community there is like. It’s also worth finding out what level of independence can be maintained so that you can build up an overall picture of how ‘at home’ your loved one will feel there.  

7. Is the care home stable, from a business point of view? 

Consider the long-term viability of the business. If you have concerns that it is likely to go out of business at some point soon, be wary – as this, of course, would mean you having to go through the upheaval of finding new in-home care or a residential care home. 

8. Consider future fee increases 

As with any business that you engage with long-term, it’s inevitable that, at some point, the care provider will need to increase its fees, if only to keep up with inflation. If you’re paying for care home or in-home care costs, be prepared for this eventuality and ask the provider how they handle these rises. For example, it’s wise to ask how often fees are likely to go up, what the increases are likely to be, how you are informed and how much notice you will be given, and so on. 

9. Can you meet the costs now – and in the future?  

Not only are the provider’s costs likely to increase over time –care needs are also likely to increase, which, of course, will increase the amount you need to pay. You must be certain that you can pay the fees for your chosen care home or in-home care, both now and for the future.  

Consulting a financial adviser from the start will help you to work out the best ways of ensuring you won’t run out of money. 

10. Use a care concierge service 

A care concierge service, such as Care Sourcer can help you to identify care providers that are right for you, have availability and are within budget. They do this by developing a clear understanding of your loved one’s needs. 

With the shortlist of providers that they will deliver, you can then take a closer look using some of the advice above.   A service with a care concierge service such as Care Sourcer can be made available through a SJP Partner.  Care Sourcer’s services are separate and distinct to those offered by St James’s Place.

For more care advice visit our Care and Carers channel.

Last modified: October 30, 2021

Written by 11:12 am Care and carers, News & Views