Care at home may cost nothing if you need care
When you’re searching for domiciliary care providers in Northern Ireland, cost may be one of the first things you consider. But in this part of the UK, domiciliary care is often provided free of charge to the recipient.
This guide aims to help you understand how the domiciliary care system works in Northern Ireland, and how it could help you to continue living independently at home.
If your care needs can’t be managed at home, or if you otherwise prefer a residential care setting, you may want to instead review the cost of care homes in Northern Ireland.
Domiciliary care in Northern Ireland: how it works
Let’s explore how domiciliary care works.
Domiciliary care comes as a support package delivered at home. A domiciliary care package helps the recipient with personal care, routine household tasks and some domestic services.
In Northern Ireland, domiciliary care aims to achieve a ‘mutually agreed measure of health, hygiene, dignity, safety, and ease’, according to the Department of Health. (See note 1.)
Domiciliary care can help you with tasks such as:
Domiciliary care providers: Northern Ireland has a system designed to ensure support for care seekers
In Northern Ireland, Health and Social Care spends more than £200 million per year on domiciliary care. This funds more than 250,000 hours of domiciliary care across Northern Ireland each week. (See note 2.)
More than 80 providers deliver domiciliary care in Northern Ireland, including the five Health and Social Care Trusts. Some domiciliary care providers operate independently, while others provide statutory services.
The trusts determine whether you must make a financial contribution towards your domiciliary care. (See note 3.)
Trusts tend not to charge for domiciliary care services provided in home in Northern Ireland. Home help is sometimes charged on a means-tested basis. However, no one over the age of 75 is required to pay for home help. A standard charge is applied for meals on wheels. The meals on wheels charge is not means-tested. (See note 4.)
To determine if you qualify for funding, you should first arrange a community care assessment, which reviews the extent of your care needs and explores whether they can be managed at home. A trust must provide care if you’ve been assessed as having substantial or critical risk. If you’re considered to have a moderate or low risk, the trust is not legally required to provide care or support but should refer you to voluntary sector organisations for further support. Your trust will have a set of criteria it uses in assessing your care needs and deciding whether you qualify for funding.
A financial needs assessment may be arranged after your community care assessment.
What next? Deciding on domiciliary care providers in Northern Ireland
How do you feel about the prospect of a carer visiting you at home? Whatever the case, try not to worry. Being supported by a carer can be an adjustment at first, but there’s peace of mind in knowing that your safety and wellbeing are looked after. Plus, you’re certainly not alone. More than 25,000 people in Northern Ireland receive domiciliary care. (See note 5.)
Regardless of how you’re feeling at this stage, there are different ways to help ease into a care experience. Discover how to broach the subject of care, even when it’s uncomfortable or downright challenging. We can also help you recognise seven signs than an older person may require assisted living.
- For more information, see page 25 here: https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/health/dcs-adults-ni-17_0.pdf
- For more information, see page 4: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/sites/default/files/migrate/downloads/northern_ireland_factsheet_paying_for_care_and_support_in_northern_ireland.pdf
- For more information, see page 14 here: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/sites/default/files/migrate/downloads/northern_ireland_factsheet_paying_for_care_and_support_in_northern_ireland.pdf
Last updated 10th of July 2018