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Hourly charges for Home Care?

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by Rambling Sid, Aug 28, 2018.

  1. Rambling Sid

    Rambling Sid Registered User

    Mar 7, 2018
    My mother has alzheimers and has been assessed by the local social services as needing daily visits from a home care company. The care company was chosen by social services, not me.

    The weekly charge is £367.48 which covers 4 half hour visits each day (that is 2 hrs in total). That is approx. £25 an hour. It seems excessive to me, plus I have concerns that the carers do not stay the full 30 minutes and certainly are not feeding my mother properly. This is why I am now querying their charges as I want to look elsewhere for a care package.

    Does the charges of the current company seem reasonable to other people who are using or have arranged such a service?
  2. Rosettastone57

    Rosettastone57 Registered User

    Oct 27, 2016
    My MIL had carers in privately she's in the south east. She was paying £22 50 for half an hour at weekends. Your fees sound reasonably good to me
  3. witts1973

    witts1973 Registered User

    Jun 20, 2018
    Hi can I ask what happens at the visits and is your mother bed bound?How many carers come to each call?
  4. Ducky601

    Ducky601 Registered User

    Jul 24, 2018
    My late mum paid for carers going in (& they were also used by SS)
    4x a day (2hrs), usually 1 person who did mums breakfast, lunch & dinner & bed time calls. She paid a similar weekly amount and though at first seemed it expensive, it was much cheaper than the care home fees she eventually had to pay. I ensured that all her meals were freshly cooked and frozen so that food was able to be defrosted in advance and just heated up by the carer. I’m sure that SS will have a list of other care agencies they use and you might be able to contact one of the other agencies if you’re not happy.
  5. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    It sounds about right to me because you have to factor in travel time so a 30 minute visit and 10 minutes to get there means you're actually paying for 40 minutes.
    The rule of thumb in business in business used to be that whatever you paid someone in wages the actual cost of employing them was 50% higher, you have to allow for holiday pay and a replacement to cover while they're on holiday, sick pay, maternity/paternity pay, 13% employers National Insurance contributions and as I say you have to allow for travel time and the costs of running a vehicle: petrol, insurance and all the rest.
    Manchester Council pay care companies £15.20 per hour of which at least £8.75 goes to the carer, add 50% to the wage as the true cost of employing someone then add in travel costs and there's not much of a margin for the care companies but as usual the LA get a rate that self funders can only dream of, much like residential care home rates.
  6. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    Hi @Rambling Sid
    Yes, I think the charges sound okay. It is shocking at first but @Kevinl explains the reasons well.
    What I would be concerned about is that your mother's needs are not being met. Talk to the agency and see whether you can resolve the issues, and if not, sadly I think you may have to look for another agency.
    All the best
    Lindy xx
  7. witts1973

    witts1973 Registered User

    Jun 20, 2018
    My mum pays £15.72 ph
  8. Rambling Sid

    Rambling Sid Registered User

    Mar 7, 2018
    That has been very illuminating, so thank you everyone.

    My mother is not bed bound, but she is 'housebound' in that she never goes out by choice. She does not need help with personal care, only medications/meal times and light cleaning (washing up, laundering her smalls and floor sweeping).

    I live too far from my mother to call on her regularly, but friends who do live locally are going in twice each week to check on her. They report the short stays by the carers, the fact that she only ever seems to be given toast & marmalade. Fresh food (which I buy online and have delivered each week) is stacking up in her fridge and has to be thrown away as it has exceeded the 'use before' dates. So, I am not confident that she is being cared for as the company originally claimed to do.

    Now that I know her charges are actually reasonable by national standards, I will still look elsewhere but bear in mind that the costs will be similar. It's not the cost that bothers me, it's the poor standard of care she gets for that weekly charge.
  9. Marnie63

    Marnie63 Registered User

    Dec 26, 2015
    Wow, I thought our fees were high - £22.50 for 30 minutes?! Our agency fees went up recently and are now £20 an hour weekdays and £23 an hour at weekends. On Bank Holidays and other Public Holidays, they charge double, so I never have carers on those days and cope on my own. It doesn't sound too bad, £20 an hour, but if I go out for a full day it costs me around £200, so it is a lot!
  10. Louise7

    Louise7 Registered User

    Mar 25, 2016
    As the care agency was provided by social services please flag this up to them. If the carers are not caring for your Mum properly then they are likely to be doing it to others, who may not have any friends/family looking out for them.
  11. tss502

    tss502 Registered User

    Oct 20, 2014

    it could be that the carers are asking her what she wants to eat and she is saying she just wants toast and marmalade so they are just listening to her rather than trying to encourage her to have something a bit more substantial. Perhaps you could draw up a weekly meal plan utilising the ingredients that are being delivered. But with a 30 minute visit they are not going to have time to cook much from scratch so it's really going to be a case of heating up a ready meal, and the carer not having to spend too long trying to figure out what to choose. I tend to leave a note every day for our carers so that they know what to give my OH for lunch and I don't have to rely on guesswork.
  12. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    hi @Rambling Sid
    I agree with tss502, having a fridge full of fresh food sounds good but if your mother isn't up to preparing meals, the carers have not enough time to prepare and cook from scratch so maybe consider planning each day's worth of meals and buying ready prepared to be simply served or microwaved by the carers
    for my dad, he had porridge with fruit, juice and coffee each morning, then for lunch a boxed sandwich, maybe with soup, plus a cake bar, ready cut up fruit, a yogurt or trifle type desert, squash and coffee, finally evening meal, which was an M&S ready meal, there are plenty to choose from eg meat, potato and veg, curries, pastas, plus a single portion desert, squash and coffee ... I also made sure there were tins in the cupboards of soups, beans etc and meals in the freezer that could be microwaved from frozen, with portions of bread, ice lollies and icecream etc so carers could use those too ... and I left a bowl of wrapped individual small cakes, biscuits etc on the dining table in the kitchen so dad could snack, with a covered jug of squash and a plastic tumbler
    I left a 'crib' sheet on the kitchen counter outlining what I wanted dad to have at each meal (ie bullet points of what I wrote above) and a sheet of what had been agreed would be done each carer visit, in the order I wanted it done, with directions as to where things were ..... sounds controlling but the carers were pleased to know exactly what needed doing and be given an idea of where bits and pieces were
  13. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    Couldn’t agree more with @Shedrech - this is pretty much exactly what I did for Mum - small quantities of everything, though, as she didn’t have s big appetite.

    I also left post- it notes in the Carers notes occasionally eg ‘cheese close to sell by date / please offer to Mum with crackers’

    Crackers was the word for it :D but it worked !!

    All the best

    Lindy xx
  14. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    I don't know what area your mother is in, but the charges sound a bit high to me. My mother was in London (self funding) and was paying £22 p.h. weekdays, £24 p.h. weekends.

    I agree with the others about the 'fresh food'. The visits are only half an hour, and you need the carer to be able to prepare the food and supervise your mother eating it - that may sound odd but otherwise she may not eat it. The carer can meanwhile get on with other tasks in the background. So you need ready meals which can be microwaved and other quickly prepared foods, depending what she likes. It's also true that they may ask what she wants and be told 'toast'. I used to send supermarket orders to my mother but they contained basics like loo roll, ready meals, food for the cat - and treats like cake.

    Is she self-funding, or is the care paid for by the local authority? I assume the latter, given the half-hour visits, which are are barely adequate to accomplish anything. But if it is self-funded, my advice would be to have longer visits (if you don't want to increase the costs, have 2 x 1 hour). Then the carer can provide a better service rather than rushing in and flinging a sandwich at your mum. My mother needed more than 2 hours a day so I initially arranged 4 hours from 9-1 (they could give her breakfast and lunch, take her shopping, or for a walk or to medical appointments) and then added an evening visit to provide dinner.
  15. Rambling Sid

    Rambling Sid Registered User

    Mar 7, 2018
    my mother doesn't have a freezer (or room for a freezer) so ready meals are not possible.

    I am sure you are right about the carers asking her what she wants - she loves toast and marmalade and several cuppas - so I can well imagine her asking them to prepare this. However, surely their commonsense should kick in and realise that toast & marmalade for every meal is not good (she is getting through 3 jars a week).

    Leaving post-its is a great idea but that only works if you are near enough to leave these notes. I am a 400 mile round trip away, with a serious illness of my own, so cannot visit much more than every 8-10 weeks.

    I have bought cheese, eggs, ham slices, beef slices, tomatoes, branston pickle so that sandwiches can be made, and also lots of tinned soups to go with the sandwich. However, it's these fresh items which are being thrown away after the use by date has expired, plus the carers never leave any record in a journal as to what she has been fed on each visit. Their system is electronic and I am not allowed to view it.
  16. Selinacroft

    Selinacroft Registered User

    Oct 10, 2015
    Ah but most agency staff don't get paid for travel time.
    I work for a good agency and we get paid £6.00 for half an hour visit and it often takes an hour and a half of time with half hour travel each way. This is why staff leave in such huge numbers disillusioned. If you factor in that SS don't tend to pick the higher charging companies their staff are probably paid around £5.50 for a half hour visit. I would say it was typical for an agency to charge twice what it pays it's carers so the figures you have been charged do seem way too high and certsanly worth challenging.
  17. Rosettastone57

    Rosettastone57 Registered User

    Oct 27, 2016
    What is the reason you're not allowed to see the logs ? My MIL had carers with electronic logs and both my husband and I had access to the carers notes. When they were first using a book system we had access so it was simply transferred to an app.
  18. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    hi @Rambling Sid
    pre-prepared meals don't have to be frozen - the ones from the chiller cabinets in supermarkets can have use by dates 5 days or so on from the date of purchase - my dad lived off these for quite some time as they are quick to microwave, tasty and pretty good on nutrition
  19. Lemondrizzle

    Lemondrizzle New member

    Aug 26, 2018
    Gosh Shedrech. We have just been accused of taking away MIL's "choices" by stating that she is to be given a hot meal every day rather than the choice of a sandwich or hot meal, despite the fact that she has a sandwich at lunchtime and has always been given a hot meal at dinner time. How I would love to feel I could leave a list of suggestions of meal planning. I agree that the electronic logs should be viewable by the family and second the use of chiller meals.
  20. Bunpoots

    Bunpoots Registered User

    Apr 1, 2016
    My dad's carers were brilliant. For £16ph they would make him a sandwich for lunch, breakfast inc a full English if he fancied it, and heat up a ready meal at dinnertime. Once one of the carers went out and bought him fish and chips from the local chippy. I couldn't fault them.

    They would also phone or text to let me know if he was out of sorts.

    I think I'd be checking out other agencies.

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