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Does a home carer need business insurance

Working in Care: Domiciliary Care or Care Homes —Which Is Right for You?

If you’re thinking of embarking on a new career in care, or perhaps you’ve been working in the industry for some time but you’re looking for a change, you may find yourself comparing the options of domiciliary care with working in a care home.

While both types of care involve supporting people day-to-day, there are significant differences to consider as an employee. In this article, we’ll explore the various aspects of each to help you to decide which is right for you.

Firstly, let’s look at the differences between residential and home care.

Residential care is long-term care provided in a care home. It’s for people who need substantial help with their personal care. There are two main types of care homes 1:

  • Residential—offering personal care, such as help with washing, dressing, going to the toilet and taking medication.
  • Nursing—providing personal care and always having qualified nurses on duty. They can be suitable for people who require frequent medical attention.

Residents in a care home generally have their own private room and share communal living spaces such as dining rooms, lounges, and gardens.

Domiciliary care, also known as home care, is where people are cared for in their homes. 

At the basic level, a carer provides companionship and helps with everyday tasks, such as cleaning the house and buying food shopping. They may only visit once daily or on a weekly basis, twice a week.

More intensive domiciliary care may involve a district nurse or healthcare assistant visiting for several hours daily. During these visits, as well as helping with personal care, dressing and household tasks, jobs would include administering medications, changing dressings, taking blood tests, and making other medical observations.

Working hours

Residential care homes offer 24-hour support. You’ll likely be required to work day and night shifts, but you may be able to work various shifts to suit your commitments. For many care home workers, shift working suits their lifestyle and enables them to manage personal responsibilities more effectively. Working shifts also may mean you can work paid overtime or night shifts, boosting your wages.

While domiciliary care workers can benefit from flexible working hours, they may be required to commit to early starts helping people get dressed in the morning and late evenings getting them ready for bed. There are also domiciliary care workers that work nights helping clients who require around-the-clock care.

Team support

Unlike domiciliary care—where you’ll work in isolation in someone’s home, in a care home environment, other staff are generally accessible to support should you encounter difficulties with a resident.

If an agency employs you as a home care worker, you’ll need to contact the office if you need assistance.


Home care workers are given a roster of visits each day and are responsible for travelling to each client’s home, so access to transport is essential. Most agencies use technology to enable carers to check in on arrival at the home and again as they leave. Visits are usually allocated specific time allowances. This can make the job challenging if your client needs you to stay longer and you have a distance to travel to your next visit.

Building relationships

Being a carer in any setting can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling.

Working in a care home can allow you to form strong bonds with residents, which often extend to their families.

To be a domiciliary care worker, you need to have a genuine interest in helping people to maintain their quality of life and independence regardless of the potential barriers they face.
You must be patient, kind and sympathetic to an individual's difficulties. One of the most critical aspects of domiciliary care is providing companionship. This can include anything from hearing someone’s stories over a cup of tea, offering emotional support when times are tough or helping them continue to enjoy their hobbies or interests.

Skills development opportunities

Employers expect health and social care professionals working in care homes to observe the residents and be able to identify people who are becoming sick. Care work involves carefully monitoring residents, escalating any developing problems to managers or the local healthcare team. Clinical skills you may use as a care home worker include: 2

  • Taking a pulse.
  • Taking a blood pressure reading.
  • Counting respiratory rate.
  • Measuring urine output.
  • Assessing hydration level.
  • Assessing mental state.

We have years of experience working with many businesses throughout the care sector, so we know the daily risks you face.

If you're a carer or you employ a carer in your home—buy or renew your insurance online. Alternatively, if you run a care home or domiciliary care business, contact us to find out more and get a no-obligation quote.

Download our UK Business Risk Report

We surveyed 2,000+ business leaders just like you to identify the key risks you're facing and created the UK Business Risk Report - full of practical insights to help you tackle them.