Private Carers – The Definitive Guide (Updated for 2024)

James Bowdler

31 March, 2023

2 min read

When it comes to care, you’ve got a lot of options available to you. It can be confusing and complicated to wrap your head around them all. One particularly confusing sector of the care industry is private carers. In this guide, we will help you understand what a private carer is, what they do and why they may or may not be a great choice for you.

PrimeCarers is an introductory agency that helps clients find the perfect private carer for them. While we would love for you to consider allowing PrimeCarers to help you find a private carer, this guide has been written to apply to private carers in general and isn’t PrimeCarers specific.

View all the locations we provide private carers in.

What is a Private Carer?

A private carer is a self-employed or directly employed individual who provides care services to you or a family member. This makes a private carer different to the majority of carers who work via another organisation, e.g. a care agency, local council or the NHS.

The rise of direct payments from local councils has put control of care into the hands of individuals. With this change, Private Carers have become an increasingly popular choice for families desiring greater control over their care.

So let’s get into the details: how can someone become a private carer, and do they need to be registered?

What Qualifies Someone to Be a Private Carer?

The only requirement that the government has put in place on private carers is that they should have an enhanced DBS certificate in order to work with vulnerable patients. All other requirements are up to the patient and any insurance policy requirements.

As a family looking for care, it is prudent to consider the following factors when hiring someone as a private carer:

  • Do they have experience working in the industry?
  • Have they got a care certificate or other qualification?
  • Do they have references from previous employers and patients?
  • When did they last complete training in the relevant skills they need?
  • Do they carry suitable carer insurance?

Typically, how much weight you place on any of these factors is up to you. If you’re just looking for someone for companionship care and some light housework, then having 100% up-to-date training in moving and handling shouldn’t be a priority.

You can read our article, What makes a good carer to find out more.

At PrimeCarers, we run an in-depth carer vetting process for every carer who applies to be on the site. Our process includes checking their enhanced DBS certificate, ID Documents, Certificates and an interview with an experienced carer to ensure the candidates are knowledgeable and compassionate. Once registered, we also seek out references from previous employers and patients. You can read more about our vetting process here.

Guide to Private Care 2023

Does a Private Carer Need to Be CQC Registered?

In short no. The CQC (Care Quality Commission) is responsible for registering and inspecting all “regulated activities”. A. regulated activity includes most types of hospital care and personal care where the employment is not under the control of the care seeker. This means that most traditional care agencies that employ carers need to be registered with CQC.

When an organisation is registered with CQC, they are subject to regular inspections by them to ensure they are meeting their regulatory requirements on carer training, carer numbers and records keeping.

When you employ a private carer, the requirements for training and sick cover will be your responsibility if you deem them necessary. This freeing of the system really puts the control over who you want to care for you in your hands, which in turn can provide great benefits in terms of cost reduction and consistency of care.

What Insurance Do You Need to Be a Private Carer?

None is required by law but you should never employ an un-insured carer. Private Carers should carry a specialised type of “Care Insurance” that covers properly trained carers should there be damage to the home or an accident.

Asking to see your carers insurance documents is an essential part of any carer vetting process. At PrimeCarers we take this one step further and automatically insure every carer on the platform. This way you know that any carer you hire through the PrimeCarers platform is already insured and safe to work with.

Carer insurance will require that carers follow their training and use equipment as directed by the operating instructions. Examples of these practices include:

  • Applying creams and lotions while wearing gloves for infection control purposes
  • Not operating a portable lift on their own
  • Not taking the full weight of a patient when helping them to move about.

What Services Can a Private Carer Provide?

A private carer can help you in a variety of ways:

  • Companionship Care – Having a carer stop in once a day to have a cup of tea and check on your loved one can ease your mind and help to ease loneliness.
  • Cleaning & Laundry Services – Keeping a home clean and tidy is important if someone is becoming unsteady on their feet. Trip hazards and unsafe surfaces can be very serious and most private carers are happy to have a quick clean. Read about improving safety in the home.
  • Cooking and Shopping – It’s very common for a carer to help by picking up some food shopping and cooking your loved one a healthy meal. See our nutrition guide.
  • Driving & Trips – A carer can help your loved one to get out and about, including doctors appointments or to the shops.
  • Personal Care – Extra help with getting dressed, using the toilet and bathing. Personal Care can also include the application of creams and medication reminders.
  • Moving and Handling – If your loved one needs extra help moving about beyond a steadying hand then a carer can help to move them using lifts and wheelchairs.
  • Specialised Care – Some carers have specific training with advanced care techniques such as colostomy, stoma, ventilator and tracheotomy care.

How Much Does a Private Carer Cost?

We maintain a constantly updated view of all the prices on the PrimeCarers platform on our pricing page but in general, private carer prices are around:

  • £15-18/hr for a single hour
  • £13-15/hr for few hours in a row
  • £110-150/day for live-in care

Prices will vary depending on the complexity of the work and your geographical area.

How Can I Find a Private Carer?

There are a variety of places you can go to find a private carer depending on how much of the vetting process you want to run yourself and how specific your requirements are. One of the easiest ways is to enter your postcode or location in the search box above to see what options PrimeCarers has in your local area.

We’ve written a full article on all the different ways to find a private carer which covers, introductory services, classified ads, carer job boards and even local newspapers.

Can a Private Carer Sleepover?

Sleeping over and 24/7 care are usually referred to under the term of live-in care. Live-in care is an increasingly popular way to care for people who need constant supervision. A private live-in carer moves into a spare room in your loved one’s house so that they can be on hand should they need assistance in the night. Generally, this is only sustainable if your loved one only wakes up in the night once or twice. If they need care throughout the night then a relief carer may be required overnight.

We’ve written a full guide to live-in care already that answers all your live-in care specific questions.

What if My Private Carer Falls Ill?

When you hire a private carer you take on the responsibility to cover sick days. This can be challenging if you have run your own process to find a carer and don’t have anybody on standby. In this scenario, your carer can usually suggest a friend or buddy that can help for the day.

At PrimeCarers, we’ve built up a database of hundreds of qualified private carers and have an excellent track record of finding replacement carers with just a few hours notice. It’s another way that an introductory agency can provide you with extra protection and ease your workload.

How Can I Fund a Private Carer?

Your first step when answering this question should be to contact your local council and request a needs assessment. This is the first step they will take in determining if you qualify for help with the cost of care.

If they decide that you are eligible for support with your care costs then you can request to receive that support through direct payments. While you can spend the money on whatever care you like, you’ll need to keep track of invoices you receive in relation to your care and be able to show these to the council when they ask to see them.

We do have a full guide on how to go about finding care funding here.

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James Bowdler


I founded and manage PrimeCarers, a Platform that connects Private Clients with Private Carers near them.

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