Home Care > What is Domiciliary Care? (Definition, Types, Advantages & Disadvantages)

What is Domiciliary Care? (Definition, Types, Advantages & Disadvantages)

Domiciliary care service in Leeds

Estimated Reading Time: 13 minutes

Through domiciliary care, you or your loved one can receive care whilst remaining in the place where you likely feel most comfortable - at home. The purpose of domiciliary care is to provide support and treatment for those who wish to stay at home.

In this article, we’ve explained exactly what domiciliary care is, who it’s aimed at, what a domiciliary care worker does and how much it costs.

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In this article on domiciliary care:

  1. What is domiciliary care?
  2. Find domiciliary care near you
  3. Is domiciliary care right for you or your loved one?
  4. Different types of domiciliary care services
  5. The role of a domiciliary care worker
  6. What to expect when receiving domiciliary care
  7. Domiciliary care vs live in care
  8. Domiciliary care vs a care home
  9. How much does domiciliary care cost?
  10. Deciding the best option for you

What is Domiciliary Care?

Domiciliary care is a type of care that allows you or a loved one to receive care within the comfort of your own home. This includes support with household tasks like washing up, doing the laundry and hoovering, and personal care such as help with bathing, using the toilet, getting in and out of bed and taking certain medications.

Domiciliary care also provides a valuable source of support and companionship, with a friendly face going a long way to give comfort and a feeling of safety.

Through domiciliary care, you’ll receive regular visits from a professional carer. The length and frequency of these visits is customised to suit your needs. Some people will receive daily support, while others will require it less frequently, perhaps once or twice a week for a couple of hours.

This type of care is a popular option amongst people who’d rather not permanently move out of their homes.

Find Domiciliary Care Near You

Helping Hands

One of the UK’s largest providers of domiciliary care, Helping Hands provide visiting support throughout the UK. Their ongoing support is tailored to your lifestyle and routines, so the duration and frequency of visits are highly flexible. Visits start from just 30 minutes a day, and you can be visited several times a day if needed.

A Helping Hands domiciliary carer will support you with a range of care types and household tasks, including housekeeping, helping you get from one place to another, personal care (such as assistance with things like washing and bathing) and providing transport. Helping Hands carers are fully trained, so can also provide certain types of medical support if needed.

Other domiciliary care agencies

To ease your search, here are domiciliary care agencies who provide care across the UK:

We’re partnered with the best domiciliary care agencies across the UK, including in the following locations:

Depending on whereabouts in the UK you live, you can use the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for England, Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) for Wales, Care Inspectorate for Scotland and the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) for Northern Ireland. These bodies regulate health and social care, so can provide invaluable feedback on the quality of a given care service.

Is Domiciliary Care Right For You or Your Loved One?

Domiciliary care can be beneficial to people of all ages and can include care services like recuperation, convalescence and rehabilitation. This type of support is best suited to people who wish to stay in their own homes but also like the idea of receiving regular visits from a qualified carer.

The exact care services you or your loved one can receive will depend on the care provider you pick, but many fully trained carers provide medical support like:

  • Catheterisation and convene
  • PEG feeding
  • Suppositories

A personalised care plan will determine exactly what personal, medical and other forms of care are needed. This plan will take into account any existing routines, schedules or hobbies. If you or your loved one’s needs change, your carer will be as flexible as possible when accommodating this.

Elderly couple and younger man looking at a clipboard

Disability care, dementia care, nursing care and even companionship care are often provided through domiciliary support.

If you’re unsure what type of domiciliary care you’re looking for, our team of care experts can help you find the right type of home for your personal care needs.

We can help you find the best domiciliary care for your or your loved one’s care needs. Request a free list of home care agencies, and our care experts will match you with suitable domiciliary carers with availability in your local area.

Different Types of Domiciliary Care Services

The type of support you or a family member needs will depend on individual requirements. That’s why there are several different forms of domiciliary care services:

Companionship care

This type of care can support you in many ways. It could begin as something informal like a carer popping in for a cup of tea and a chat. Typically, companionship care involves a social visit, help with shopping and other tasks like cooking and light cleaning.

Housing support

Here, a carer will visit you a few times a week and assist with tasks that help maintain your home, such as opening letters and paying bills. This is a particularly popular option for people with learning disabilities or similar health conditions.

Domiciliary care with two carers

If you need support with tasks like getting in and out of bed or walking, some care agencies will offer domiciliary care with two carers.

Multiple care visits per day

Many care agencies will offer care with multiple visits per day. This could be a home visit in the morning, at midday and before bed.

Live-in and 24-hour care

Live in care will see a domiciliary worker move into your home so care is always on-hand when needed. If you or your loved one often wake up during the night then 24-hour care is the smarter option, as a separate carer will remain awake while you sleep and provide any assistance if you wake up.

Nursing domiciliary care

This is useful if you or a family member require support with things like injections, changing or applying dressings, assistance with oxygen or any other tasks that fall under nursing care.

When it comes to domiciliary care, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all. Instead, you can choose the specific type of care that’s best suited.

The Role of a Domiciliary Care Worker

What do carers do? Domiciliary care workers can also be referred to as home carers or private carers. These professionals assist with allowing people to remain independent in their own homes. This role focuses on individuals and their needs, helping to maintain an excellent quality of life and plenty of independence in the process.

Here are some of the main tasks that can be performed by a domiciliary care worker:

Personal care

The exact support somebody needs will depend on their individual care requirements, with some of the most common forms of personal care being showering and bathing, shaving, changing continence pads and maintaining comfort to prevent pressure sores. Domiciliary carers always aim to carry out their care with discretion and in a way that respects the privacy of who they’re caring for.

Support with daily tasks

If you or your loved one require additional care support then household tasks like cleaning, sorting out the laundry and meal prep can soon build up. A domiciliary worker can take care of these tasks and ensure your house is kept clean and tidy.

Younger woman and older woman preparing food together

Providing companionship and facilitating hobbies

Workers will be on hand to talk and provide a friendly face - companionship is an important aspect of domiciliary care. Similarly, if you or your loved one have a beloved hobby then they’ll aid you in continuing with this.

For example, a domiciliary worker through Helping Hands will ensure you’re able to continue living life the way you want, by helping you maintain your routine, including fun activities you enjoy doing throughout the week.

Medication assistance

If there are multiple types of medication on the go then keeping track of them all will become a big task. Domiciliary workers can help manage medication and administer it.

Taking care of pets

If you or your loved one are finding it difficult to keep up with the demands of a pet then your care worker can help out by feeding them or taking them out for a walk. They might also be able to take your furry friend to any appointments at the vets.

What To Expect When Receiving Domiciliary Care

The person receiving domiciliary care will be assessed by somebody at the care agency to determine their care needs. This assessment will give the agency a better understanding of their health and the care they require. A care plan will be created based on this assessment, outlining care needs, routines and preferences.

The person receiving domiciliary care will then be matched with a suitable carer, based on their individual needs and how regularly they require care.

The home of the person receiving care will usually be visited beforehand. This allows any carers to introduce themselves. They can also familiarise themselves with the home, its layout and any specialist equipment they may need to use.

Once everything has been agreed upon, the carer will begin visiting the person’s home according to the pre-arranged schedule. The care provided will be periodically reviewed, as care needs naturally evolve over time.

Domiciliary Care vs Live In Care

Live-in care will often be 24/7 and is best suited to those who need round-the-clock support for more advanced clinical needs. Through live-in care, a fully qualified carer will live in the same home as you or your loved one. Other carers may also provide support overnight or during the day when your regular carer is taking a break from caregiving.

Whereas with domiciliary care, a carer or personal assistant will provide support through regular visits to your home. While live-in care allows you to receive regular and ongoing support, domiciliary care is better for those who prefer support at set times on a daily or weekly basis.

There isn’t always a need to cater for advanced care requirements either, with domiciliary care often being more focused on personal care tasks like preparing meals or getting around the home. Meanwhile, 24/7 live-in care is often aimed at people with advanced dementia, severe physical needs or those receiving support in a palliative care home.

Domiciliary Care vs a Care Home

It’s a big misconception that some residents find it difficult to move into a care home and may choose domiciliary care instead. Many families rightly see a care home as a place that provides everything needed for excellent care within a safe and supportive environment.

What care homes and domiciliary care have in common is that both options offer fully qualified carers.

Rest assured all care home staff will ensure your loved one feels safe, secure and at ease in their new, lovely environment.

Burcot Grange care home in Bromsgrove

How Much Does Domiciliary Care Cost?

The price of domiciliary care services will vary from provider to provider and also depends on your individual care needs. We're partnered with some of the country's best domiciliary care providers to make your search easier.

We’re partnered with some of the UK’s largest home care providers. Our internal data shows that the average hourly cost of domiciliary care in the UK is £28.00.

The table below shows how much domiciliary care costs when receiving it seven hours a week (an average of one hour per day):

How much does domiciliary care cost? (Seven hours a week)
Per day £28
Per week £196
Per month £849
Per year £10,192

As a point of comparison, live-in care across the UK starts from around £228 a day or £1,596 a week.

For further information, we also have a guide explaining the cost of home care, including domiciliary care

Paying for domiciliary care

Your local authority may be able to pay some or all of the costs associated with domiciliary care. With that being said, you might have to pay for this service yourself. Be sure to claim any benefits you’re entitled to, with Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Disability Living Allowance being the most common.

Whether you're eligible for local authority funding will be determined through a financial assessment. This works out the total value of your income and savings. Depending on this total, you'll either be eligible for local authority funding, or you'll be classed as a self-funder. A financial assessment immediately follows a care needs assessment, and you can apply for a care needs assessment by social services here.

There are also a range of services available from the NHS to pay for your care, though these services will be dependent on your age, health and general situation.

If you or your loved one aren’t eligible for any kind of financial assistance then you’ll need to self-fund this care. The care seeker or their family and friends can contribute to the cost.

Deciding the Best Option For You

To summarise, domiciliary care will allow you or your loved one to remain home and continue to function as an independent individual. You can discuss your care needs with a care provider who will then assess your requirements before producing a care plan that’ll include a care package, a specific carer who specialises in your needs, and a list of fees.

People opt for domiciliary care over living in a care home when they’d like to remain in the comfort of their own home. Meanwhile, people choose it over live-in care when they don’t require constant support, but would benefit from regular visits and assistance.

If you or your loved one fit into these categories then domiciliary care is probably the best choice. With that being said, a care home is also a great choice for somebody looking to transition into care.

Learn About Other Types of Home Care

We’re here to help you and your family choose the right type of home care, whether this is domiciliary (hourly) care or something else. Click the links below to learn more about the different types of home care offered by the agencies we’re partnered with:

Lottie matches care seekers with the best home carers for their care needs. You can request a free home care shortlist, where we’ll find you home care providers with availability in your local area.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is domiciliary care free?

Care at home services such as domiciliary care aren’t usually free. Whether you need to pay for domiciliary care will depend on the total value of your savings and income, as determined through a financial assessment.

Who qualifies for domiciliary care?

Domiciliary care is available to anybody who needs it, regardless of age or background. This type of home care is suitable for people who need a little extra support on a regular basis to continue living independently at home, but don’t want a carer to move in with them.

What’s the difference between a care home and domiciliary care?

The main difference between a care home and domiciliary care is where the care is provided. A care home is a purpose-built environment for looking after people with increased care needs, while domiciliary care is provided in the comfort of somebody’s own home. Here, a carer will visit you at home.

Care homes also offer care 24/7, while domiciliary carers will visit you at regular intervals throughout the week to provide care.

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