Alternatives to care homes during COVID-19: live-in care

This page was last updated 3 June 2020.

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, some care homes are choosing to not accept new residents at this time.

If you are looking for care around the clock, choosing one-to-one live-in care can provide a cost-effective alternative to a care home.

What is live-in care?

Live-in care is when a trained carer lives in the home of the person needing care. This is a good solution for someone who typically sleeps well through the night, as the carer will also be asleep. However, the carer can be woken for a short period if necessary.

What if I need overnight care?

If you wake up more than twice a night, 24-hour care is a better option than live-in care.  A live-in carer will sleep when you sleep, while 24-hour care involves a carer staying awake in your home while you sleep to assist you when you wake.

What are the benefits of live-in care?

Benefits of live-in care include:

  • Help with a variety of tasks around the home such as cleaning, cooking, laundry and grocery shopping
  • reduced loneliness as there is always someone for companionship and outings
  • For a couple it can be significantly cheaper than two beds or a double room within a care home
  • The care can be provided as needed and without rushing as there is no time limit, unlike with care at home visits

What do I need to be able to accommodate a live-in carer?

A live-in carer will need:

  • An environment where they will be safe and secure
  • A separate bedroom within the home with a lock on the door
  • A daily break off at least two consecutive hours, so extra care cover may be needed for this time. Often the care provider can provide cover for this period.
  • Access to a TV/viewing device and wifi for break periods is preferred, but agencies can provide this if needed

Are live-in care agencies taking on clients with COVID-19?

We are being told that most live-in care agencies are accepting clients with COVID-19, but as with all clients this is managed on a case-by-case basis.

Whether the client has COVID-19 or not, all carers will use the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and go through rigorous training before they begin work as a live-in carer.

How do I find a live-in care agency that is right for me?

It can be difficult to decide whether a particular care agency is the right one for you. Here is some advice to help you decide:

  • Ask the care agency for any testimonials and reviews about their service. You can also search Google for reviews about the agency.
  • Review their CQC or Care Inspectorate rating: all care providers will have an official care rating issued by the Care Quality Commission in England or the Care Inspectorate in Scotland.
  • Speak with each agency about what’s most important to you. It’s important you are getting the kind of care you want. If you discuss your priorities with each agency, you can get a clearer idea of how exactly they can support you.
  • Ask about the recruitment process for live-in carers, including:
    • The process for getting references
    • Whether the carer has previous live-in experience
    • What training has been undertaken
    • How the care is reviewed and how often
    • How cover will be provided if the usual live-in carer has time off or is unwell

How much does live-in care cost and who will pay for it?

Depending on the complexity of care needed and where you live within the UK, live-in care can cost between £650 and £1600 a week.

You may be eligible for support with the cost of care. The amount of funding you receive for care and the specific cost for the care will change significantly depending on the country you live in and your specific circumstances.

Please note that at the present time, the Government has agreed the NHS will fully fund the cost of new or extended out-of-hospital health and social care support packages. This applies to people being discharged from hospital or who would otherwise be admitted into it, for a limited time, to enable quick and safe discharge and more generally reduce pressure on acute services.

Read more about the cost of care:

Looking for a live-in care agency?

There are a number of live-in care agencies across the UK. The following agencies have let us know that they have sufficient PPE (Protective Personal Equipment) and are at the time of writing are currently accepting new clients:

KarePlus: View on Care Sourcer | Call: 0152 230 8235

Kare Plus delivers consistent high-quality care and support services across a number of residential establishments including large private hospitals, local councils and also to private clients, predominantly providing home care services to customers in their own homes.

Good Care Group: View on Care Sourcer | Call: 0808 164 7936

With the highest possible rating from the CQC and more award wins than any other dedicated live-in home care provider, The Good Care Group offers one simple thing. Care without compromise.

Promedica24: View on Care Sourcer | Call: 0192 394 4025

For more than a decade, Promedica24 have been providing live-in care to vulnerable adults as a genuine alternative to residential care homes. They opened their first offices in Warsaw, Poland, in 2002 and since then, have expanded through Germany and the UK to become Europe’s largest provider of specialist live-in care.

If you need care urgently, our team of care experts are also available by telephone to guide you through the process on 0800 048 8618.