Care and support services

Care + support1

When it comes to care and support services, Councils, the NHS and the private sector work together to provide health and care across the UK.

Age UK (formerly Age Concern and Help the Aged) produces a range of factsheets including Finding help at home covering information on finding a care worker, local authority social services departments, and community health services.

The United Kingdom Homecare Association Limited (UKHCA) is the professional association of home care providers from the independent, voluntary, not-for-profit and statutory sectors.

For general information on Government home help and support services, contact your local council to find out more about the services provided in your area.

National Care Forum tel 024 7624 3619
National Council for Palliative Care tel 020 7697 1520

We love the work of the Social Care Ideas Factory who really flap fresh air into ideas around care.

Independent living

Your local Council’s Social Services can provide a range of care services in your own home, in sheltered housing and in care homes. The ‘Re-ablement’ model is one that supports people living independently at home as long as possible. There can be an element of fitting-in required if you use Council services. For example, a home help or care worker may be visiting 3 or 4 people in your area and will have to be able to get round them all for washing, dressing, making meals. This can mean you’re on an early or late lunch. If you want to specify the service more, you might prefer to hire help. The going rate is around £12 an hour for Scotland and £17 an hour in the rest of the UK. For this someone will come to your home, prepare meals, do the housework and help with washing and dressing. Once the local authority assesses you for a care package, it is possible to take this funding and buy direct – for example employing a neighbour.

Care homes

If you or someone you care for can no longer manage at home then you may wish to move into residential care. It is important to choose a care home you are comfortable with. In Scotland costs range from around £500 a week to double that. The Scottish Government offers free personal care for all that covers the first few hundred pounds costs each week. Across the rest of the UK it can be more expensive. If your assets are valued above £22,500, which can include your home, you will have to use these assets to pay for your care. You may feel that after years of saving it seems unfair to then have to sell what is often your main asset to fund your care and have nothing left to leave your family. See our advice on Financial Planning.


Each UK country has an independent regulator of health and social care:

England: Care Quality Commission
Wales: Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales
Scotland: The Care Inspectorate (also known formally as Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland)
Northern Ireland: The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority

They offer help with the following services:

* Care directory – searchable by location, service or specialism
* Care service inspection reports for care homes in your area
* Complaints procedure for service users
* Standards of quality and safety in health and social care
* Publications providing advice and support

Care at the end of life

Hear a GP, nurse, care worker and social worker talk about their role in supporting patients facing death and dying, one of a series of films we commissioned about the importance of thinking ahead and talking openly.

Art therapy

A very different take on medical intervention, a charity called Hearts & Minds brightens a dull day in hospitals and hospices through performance. Clown doctors use creative play and make human connections that tackle boredom, powerlessness and distress for children. Elderflowers are performers who connect with people with dementia and other conditions to ease depression, isolation, sensory decline. This moving and inspiring film by Rosetta Life shows how dance helps bring Patrick to life.


If you live up north and your old mum is down south, there are now tele-monitoring kits available. This is a technical solution that uses sensors to detect movement and alert you to any unusual activity – or rather lack of activity. Many local councils can provide this sort of support.


Sometimes it’s just a bit of company and comfort that’s needed and there are voluntary sector organisations that can help through befriending services.


Launched in 2012, a new website, Carewell: for carers, developed by carers.

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