The number of people - especially elderly individuals - being helped and supported to live independently at home is increasing.
With so many organisations offering home care services, it can be difficult to decide which one to use and what you should expect.
The NHS offers several guides to help people with support needs, and their carers, make decisions.
In addition, home care providers who are members of the UK Homecare Association (UKHCA) agree to abide by its Code of Practice.
Five things to expect from a good home care service
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has published a guide for older people who arrange their own home care. The guide includes things you should expect from a good home care service.
You should expect to:
1. Have care workers who are able to meet your needs
Care workers should have the right skills needed to support you, for example if you have dementia or are deaf or blind. They should also respect your cultural and religious values and make sure that your needs are met.
2. Feel comfortable with your care workers
You should expect to see the same care workers regularly, so they can get to know you and be familiar with your needs including how you like to communicate and your likes and dislikes.
3. Be made aware of changes in advance
If for any reason, your regular care worker is unable to visit you, you should be told in advance that a different care worker is coming.
4. Be given a care diary that’s regularly updated
Home care workers and others who help you at home such as physiotherapists or community nurses should update your care diary each time they visit.
5. Be given a home care plan that meets your needs
You could be given a plan that describes the care the agency will be providing that is focused on what is important to you and includes any specific health problems or disabilities you may have.
To make sure that the plan is meeting your needs you should have a review within the first six weeks of your first care visit. After that, the plan should be reviewed at least once a year.
Need more help to decide the care support that is right for you?
The NHS website offers further help on deciding the care that is right for you, the different types of care that are available, as well as advice about funding your care and your rights.
Cambridgeshire County Council's website also has information on arranging care at home.