Firstly, you are not being assessed. The agency is assessing if they are able to carry out the care and you are assessing if the agency is suitable for you and your loved one. Use this as an opportunity to get to know the agency and their experience – feel free to ask as many questions as you need. To help you choose the right care agency for you, we’ve listed five questions to get you started.

Note: Haven’t booked an assessment yet? Read 6 questions you should ask home care agencies about their service.

1) How will you document visits?

If something needs to be reported to you, it is important that you know where to find that information. Some carers will take notes after a visit. Make sure you are aware of how health or welfare concerns will be communicated to you and/or the agency.

2) How is money managed for essentials?

If the carer will be required to collect shopping, or take your loved one shopping, ask how this money will be managed. You can minimise financial risk by understanding who will pay for the shopping, how the carer will get the money and how purchases will be documented.

3) How do I report any concerns?

You should feel comfortable raising any concerns you may have, and you should know the correct process for this. Learn who you should report any issues to and how often the care will be reviewed to ensure they are consistently receiving the care they need. This question should also help you understand the agency’s policy for responding to and actioning complaints.

4) When is your agency closed?

There are a few things you want to learn here; 

  • How early (or late) the carer’s visits can be.
  • Office hours if you need to contact someone and who you should contact out of hours.
  • Which days during the year the agency closes. 
  • Whether they have a minimum visit length (some agencies don’t offer visits shorter than one hour).

5) How do I pay for the care?

Before you agree to a care contract, ask if the agency accepts your preferred payment method (invoice, bank transfer, standing order). Most agencies will accept direct debit. It’s also good to know the payment schedule – if you will be expected to pay weekly or monthly. Make sure payments are set up in a way that suits your financial position.

To learn more about the cost of home care in your area, read our guide to home care package costs in the UK.

What happens next?

If you haven’t already, you will need to confirm (preferably in writing) that you want to start a care package with the chosen agency. You will receive a copy of your care plan and have the opportunity to change any details. You should get a contract to sign detailing the cancellation terms and conditions as well as payment details. A tentative start date should be agreed with the care provider at this point.

If you’re still looking to start your care search,Care Sourcer offers a searchable directory of local care agencies. If you need care urgently, our team of care experts are also available by telephone to guide you through the process.

Printable care assessment questions

Click the button below to view and print your own list of Five questions you should ask during your care assessment, Six questions you should ask home care agencies about their services and your free decision form to help you choose the right care agency for you.