A Guide to Domiciliary Care

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Domiciliary care is a type of care that is given to people living in their own homes whether It be personal care, support with household tasks or companionship which allows the person to maintain their independence and quality of life.

In this guide, we will cover the following:


What is domiciliary care?
What is domiciliary care in the UK?
What does domiciliary care mean?
What services do domiciliary carers provide?
Who needs Domiciliary Care?
What is a domiciliary care agency?
What is a domiciliary care allowance?
Is domiciliary care for me?

What is domiciliary care?

The terminology within care can sometimes be confusing. The word domiciliary comes from the Latin word ‘Domus’ meaning ‘home’ and, therefore, domiciliary care is another term to describe care that is provided within the person’s home. The other care option would be to have the person move out of their home and into a residential care home where they live and receive their care from a team of workers in the care home.

By having care at home, the frequency and list of duties during the visits can be tailored to suit individual needs. Some people may need a carer to come in at various times during the day to help with specific activities, others may require a 24-hour carer and support with the majority of their daily lives. Domiciliary care services try to eliminate the disruption of moving the person out of their home. It allows them to stay in the comfort of their own home and remain close to any family and friends who live locally.  

What is domiciliary care in the UK?

Essentially domiciliary services are when carers visit a person in their own homes and the definition of domiciliary care is the same across the UK. However, the level of funding that you can access from your local authority will differ depending on your location. The Money Advice Service is a reliable resource of advice1 and you can also find out more in our Guide to Funding.

What does domiciliary care mean?

Domiciliary care simply means assisting somebody with care duties within their own home. There are various options when receiving domiciliary care, dependent on the person’s specific needs. This could relate to the prompting of medicines or personal care such as dressing, bathing, and toileting. The idea is to help someone to remain in their own home so that there is minimal disruption to their usual routine. Many individuals who need care still want to retain their quality of life and independence, which is made more possible if they remain in their own home rather than move to a residential home.

What services do domiciliary carers provide?

Domiciliary carers can help with numerous different tasks and care duties. Since the care will be dependent on the person’s individual needs, these duties will look different in every case. At the heart of a domiciliary carer’s service is the focus on trying to ensure that the person requiring care is assisted with their day-to-day living needs, in such a way that they can continue to live as independently as possible in their own home. Some of the duties that a domiciliary carer may help with are as follows:

  • Personal care
  • Help with mobility
  • Dressing
  • Cooking and feeding
  • Keeping the home clean and tidy
  • Laundry and other household tasks
  • Medication management
  • Applying lotions and creams
  • Toileting, including catheter care
  • Grooming, including hair care and shaving
  • Bathing and showering
  • Shopping

Several different factors need to be considered when a domiciliary carer is opted for. These include:

  • The skills of the care worker, which should be appropriate for the level of care required
  • The budget available to the client
  • In the case of private care agencies or self-employed care workers – a fee will need to be agreed
  • The time agreed (in the case of private care agencies)

In some cases, the domiciliary care worker (with agreement from the person requiring care / their family) may let themselves into the home via a secure key system. The dates and times of visits should be agreed in advance and recorded. They may also take notes and share these with relevant family members and/or agencies.

Who needs Domiciliary Care?

Normally domiciliary care is most appropriate for those whose care is able to be managed at home. This could incuse those with dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or anyone who requires post-operative care. You can ask your local council to provide a care assessment at no cost to you to determine exactly what types of care support are required.  For instance, it might be that specific equipment is required to enable a more safe and comfortable life at home.

What is the Code of Conduct for domiciliary care workers?

Each domiciliary care worker is bound by a Code of Conduct that ensures protection for individuals being cared for. According to Skills for Care, funded by the Department of Health, Healthcare Support Workers and Adult Social Care Workers in England must abide by the following Code of Conduct:

  1. Be accountable by making sure you can answer for your actions or omissions.
  2. Promote and uphold the privacy, dignity, rights, health, and wellbeing of people who use health and care services and their carers at all times.
  3. Work in collaboration with your colleagues to ensure the delivery of high quality, safe and compassionate healthcare, care, and support.
  4. Communicate in an open, and effective way to promote the health, safety, and wellbeing of people who use health and care services and their carers.
  5. Respect a person’s right to confidentiality.
  6. Strive to improve the quality of healthcare, care, and support through continuing professional development.
  7. Uphold and promote equality, diversity, and inclusion.

You can read the full Code of Conduct here.

For agency workers or self-employed domiciliary carers, ask to see their relevant Code of Conduct or guidelines contained within their contract before appointing them.

What is a domiciliary care agency?

A Domiciliary Care Agency is an organisation that supplies carers to people who require in-home care. The organisation will usually try to provide bespoke carers who are most appropriate to support the needs of the person requiring the care. Agencies can arrange the dates and times of their visits, taking the responsibility for such duties away from you.

In the private sector, Domiciliary Care Agencies may directly employ the carers. Within Local Authorities, they may either directly employ the carers or contract the work to agency staff. In the case of Helpd, our carers are self-employed, which means that they can set their own working hours appropriate to their client’s needs.

What is a domiciliary care allowance?

In the UK, there are different types of allowances relating to people that require domiciliary care.

Which.co.uk provides a helpful guide to home-care fees. There is a calculator on the website where you can find out how much you are likely to pay a home-care agency per hour. They also tell you if your local authority is likely to contribute to the cost of your care or if you will be a self-funder.

Below are some links to websites that can help you understand more about the different types of allowances relating to domiciliary care:

NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) funding: For people with long-term complex health needs

Attendance Allowance: Helps with extra costs if you have a severe disability that you require care

Carer’s Allowance: You might meet the criteria for Carer’s Allowance if you are providing over 35 hours a week of care to someone with a disability

For elderly care, there are 12 financial options available to you:

  1. Local Authority Funding
  2. Self-Funding
  3. Care Annuity
  4. Long Term Care Insurance
  5. Rental Income
  6. Equity Release
  7. Deferred Payment Scheme with your local council
  8. Income from Investments
  9. Savings
  10. Pension
  11. NHS Continued Healthcare Funding
  12. Third-Party Top-Ups

Is domiciliary care for me?

Domiciliary care works especially well for people who wish to remain in their own home and for families that want to support their loved one to remain in their own home – whether they are living with ill-health, a degenerative illness, or an age-related illness. For most people requiring care, their preference is to remain in their own home and within the community, they are familiar with, as it helps them to keep links with friends and family that are vital for their wellbeing. To find out more about the benefits of live-in care, visit our live in care blog.

How can we help?

At Helpd, we want to make the process of finding and choosing a carer straightforward – and that includes removing unnecessary jargon.

Our expert back office will be happy to speak to you and will take the time to understand your situation and your needs and will match you with a wonderful full-time live-in carer. You can speak to us by: