Your support provider should confirm a price that will not change, unless by mutual agreement, after the contract has been signed.

If the person you care for wants to employ a personal assistant they would need to become their employer. Find out more about personal assistants.

What should I look for?

  • Check how the price is put together.
  • If it is an hourly rate for support, is this for 1:1 support for the person with care needs, a break for you, the provision of personal care for example. Does the rate change at evenings and weekends, and what happens on a bank holiday or when you are away, or someone is in hospital for example?
  • Check what the rate includes and what is ‘free’. Eg if the care worker takes your family member out, who pays for fuel/transport and entry to activities such as swimming.
  • Check if there are any extra charges that you need to know about.
  • Will you need to ensure access to the house, eg a keysafe? Does your provider have electronic call monitoring set up?
  • Check what you will get for your money – bear in mind that specialist provider agencies may cost a bit more but they may have more skills and a wider range of services to support you and the person with care needs and so be a better choice – make sure you consider this when making a decision. Check what extra specialist support you would be getting and how this would differ from a ‘standard’ agency. Does your provider of choice think care, think carer, think family?
  • Check what will happen if you or the person with care needs require more support during the contract – how will this be charged?
  • Check who pays for the support worker if you or the person with care needs is in hospital and still needs support to be provided.
  • Your support provider might want to put in an annual review of prices to allow for staff pay uplifts in line with inflation or to agree an annual percentage increase up front. Make sure you know what this is and that you are happy with this before you sign the contract.
  • There may be circumstances when prices need to be reviewed – make sure that there is a clear process for how you will be consulted on this.

During the winter, mum was in and out of hospital several times with pneumonia. The office made it really easy to cancel calls and then reinstate them with the same care team as soon as she was home again.

— Joan, who cares for her elderly, but very independent, mum