Choosing someone to live in your parent’s home around-the clock is a big decision. You want to be sure that you have got the best person for the job and the best match for your parents’ personality. This is why one of the questions that many people have when they are considering live-in care is: how do agencies and providers recruit and select live-in carers?
The process by which agencies and providers recruit private live-in carers is rigorous. This is to ensure that only live-in care workers who are extremely competent, caring and knowledgable will end up looking after your relative.
The information on this page will answer all of your questions about how care companies recruit, select, train, and manage live-in carers.
Care providers directly employ their own carers, and manage and guide the carers in their work. Care agencies act as an introductory service between carers and clients. You, the client, will be the carer's employer, and you will guide their work.
Recruitment process for live-in carers
The major advantage of organising live-in care through a provider or agency is that they carry out a thorough recruitment, training and selection process on your behalf.
Care agencies and providers will each have their own recruitment process. However, there are some similar steps that all providers and agencies take:
1. References and police checks
Care companies ensure that their live-in carers have multiple professional references. They also carry out police checks – normally demanding an enhanced DBS check.
2. Language assessment
Most providers and agencies will require that their live-in carers speak fluent English. This is because they understand the importance of communication between clients and live-in carers. Proficiency in English is checked through face-to-face interviews. If your relative wants a carer that speaks another language then you should inform the agency of this, as many live-in carers are bilingual.
3. Situational assessments
The central way in which care companies assess potential carers is through situation-based assessments. This involves seeing what a carer would do in a hypothetical situation. For example, asking what they would do if a care recipient is deteriorating or has developed a new symptom of a condition. This helps to ensure that all carers can think on their feet and be pro-active.
Training process for live-in carers
Once a live-in carer has passed the initial rounds of recruitment, they still need to be trained before they start working in peoples’ homes. The training process for live-in carers varies from company to company, but all ensure that their carers know everything necessary about personal care, communication, first aid, and moving and handling. Each provider and agency trains their carers to their in-house caring style for consistency. This helps with the transitions between carers when one carer is taking a break.
Live-in care companies are also conscious of the initial resistance that some older people have to the presence of a carer. This is why care companies train their carers in how to be a comforting and supportive presence – while not feeling intrusive. If your parents are reluctant to receive help, you may be interested in our blog on parents refusing help.
Specialist live-in care training for people with conditions such as Dementia, Parkinson’s, MS is also provided to live-in carers. This type of specialist training is normally only provided to experienced live-in carers who have an exceptional track record.
Live-in care providers regulated by the CQC have to meet the ‘fundamentals standards’ of care. Beyond this, the CQC provides regular evaluations of how well different providers are meeting these standards. You can learn more about how live-in care is regulated from our guide to How Carers are Regulated.
Selection process for live-in carers
Finding a good live-in carer for your relative is not just about their training and experience. It is equally important that you find a carer who is a good fit for your relative. This can include having shared interests, finding it easy to communicate, and whether or not they get along well!
Live-in care agencies and providers all use their own processes for matching clients to carers. Some companies ask clients to carry out questionnaires regarding their interests, hobbies, food preferences etc, in order to match them with a carer. Some live-in care agencies have ‘Digital CVs’, so you can find out more about their carers online.
These processes help agencies and providers to short list potential live-in carers for you to select from. However, the most important way of knowing if a live-in care assistant is a good fit for your relative is for them to meet and get to know one another in person. This is why most agencies and companies ensure that you and your relative have met a potential carer before they are confirmed for the placement. There is also often a 1-week trial or ‘bedding in’ period to help assess the relationship.
How are live-in care workers managed?
How live-in care workers are managed depends on if they are from a provider or an agency. Carers from providers are managed by the company that provides them. This means that the company is responsible for employing and guiding the carer in their work. Carers from introductory agencies are not managed by the agency and are directly employed by the clients (family) and therefore managed and guided by the client.
If you are thinking of become an employer to a private live-in carer, there are some things that you should consider. Read our guide to Hiring a Carer read about the advantages and disadvantages of being a direct employer.
Providers often use bespoke technology and apps that help to facilitate and manage care between themselves, the carer and the family. If you decide to employ a carer through an agency, it’s worth looking at how technology helps care to be managed on our page – Home Care Apps and Technology.
We know that some older people might be resistant to carers from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. This might be because they've not had much interaction with people from diverse backgrounds or because their condition means that they are now living in the past. One reader described their father-in-law as having lost his inner monologue and PC filter. Almost childlike in fashion, he would simply say what he saw (normally rather loudly and rudely to everyone's horror.) Care companies also know that this behaviour can happen and therefore do not be afraid to discuss such issues with them.