Paying for home care and managing expenses

Paying for home care and private home carers, as well as managing expenses

When people employ private carers, one of the issues that often comes up is money. Working with a private carer requires a great deal of trust, and paying for home care is probably new to you. By making sure you pay your home carer fairly you build that trust and in return get a fantastic, hard-working carer that genuinely cares about your loved ones.

First, it is important to understand that the carer you employ might have a degree of anxiety about money. Some of this anxiety is justified. Many of our carers come to us with horror stories about not getting paid on time or in full for care work they’ve done in the past. This can sour a working relationship very quickly, so it’s worth keeping this in mind from the beginning.

Paying for home care

When it comes to paying your private carers, you should aim to pay them frequently and regularly. We advise that you pay them on at least a weekly basis. This means that neither you nor they, have to worry about whether someone is going to get paid in full at the end of the month. 

Paying your home carer regularly also prevents you from having to transfer potentially thousands of pounds monthly, which helps you manage your budget a little better. This is particularly true if your carer works varied hours or days, which may be hard to keep track of over a long period, causing payment disputes.

Platforms like PrimeCarers can track visits and handle payments automatically to take the stress out of payments for you and your carer. PrimeCarers does this 24-48 hours after your carer’s visit has finished, giving you time to stop the transaction if you need to for any reason, This way, you and your carer know they’ll get paid on-time and in full.

Eliminating any perceived risk around payments will go a long way to maintaining a healthy relationship with the people you work with. This will set you up for long-term success, ensuring your loved ones have the best chance of maintaining a happy life.

Changes in rates

Over time, your carer’s rate will change to keep up with inflation and better reflect the level of work they are doing. 

We find it helpful to think of it like this: You are paying your carer an hourly rate to work at a certain level of intensity. When the amount they need to do rises, they can either do more in the same amount of time for a higher price or work longer. 

Both will cost more money, so will either lead to an increased rate or increased hours. This is always worth bearing in mind when you take someone on board, as needs may rise over time. This may mean more care is needed, and your carer’s workload increases. 

The key is to be open to having these conversations with your carer and to listen to their reasons for raising or lowering their rate. It’s your decision to make; however, it is worth considering that being fair to your carer can often lead to a stronger relationship and a better level of service. 

Expenses

Another issue which frequently occurs in carer/client relationships is handling expenses. One of the benefits of private carers is that they will almost always do what they can to make your life easier. If you need something from the shop, or medicine picked up, they’ll often do that for you to make sure you’re given the best service.

This does mean they need reimbursing for the cost of what they buy on your behalf. 

We wouldn’t recommend giving your carer cash, might lead to issues of mistrust. There are a few safer ways to make buying things on your behalf easier:

  • Set up an account with your bank for expenses with a spending limit. You can then allow your carers to use a debit card
  • Load a prepaid card with money, which they can then use to make purchases
  • Use a Carer Shopping Card service, which allows your carer to access small amounts of money for any required expenses

These help you keep an eye on transactions for your peace of mind and theirs. You should also ask the carer to share a photo of receipts with you, and log it in an expenses form, so you have a formal record of what was spent, when it was spent and on what.

You can find more information on how to safely handle expenses and make sure you and your carer are protected at The Money Carer Foundation website.

Paying for home care doesn’t have to be stressful. Doing it right will lead to a good working relationship with your carer, and will help lessen their worries, which gives them the freedom to deliver great care every day.