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Starting a domiciliary care business

There are just over 10,100 home care companies operating across the UK, with an estimated 950,000 people receiving domiciliary care.

It’s a growing profession ‒ as the population ages, demand for homecare is rising on a global scale. Homecare is often seen as a more comfortable and cost-effective solution to care homes, allowing people to stay in their own homes for as long as possible.

Setting up a domiciliary care business is not without its difficulties, of course: recruitment has always been a challenge for this sector, and COVID has heightened this. Over 40,000 people joined the UK homecare workforce over the last 12 months. But, a rising cost of living and the removal of thousands of potential EU workers following Brexit is resulting in a serious shortfall in the skilled and specialist caregivers needed in social and care work, leading to the government allocating over £160m to help tackle the situation.

It is, however, hugely rewarding, so if you are thinking of starting a domiciliary care business, here’s a guide to some of the key steps to consider.

CQC registration

The first thing you will need to do is register with the Care Quality Commission(CQC). This is the independent regulator of health and social care in the UK that ensures health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, high-quality care – and registering is a legal prerequisite, as part of the Health and Social Care Act 2008.

Registering your business can be done on the government’s website gov.uk. There are several policies and procedures that your care business will need to follow: the CQC will carry out inspections, and you need to set up these policies and pay the CQC registration fees upfront to organise the inspections.

You will also need to complete the Registered Manager application, as the manager who is in day-to-day charge of your business must, by law, have the relevant skills, experience, training and qualifications.

Recruiting your domiciliary care workers

Once your registration processes are complete, it is all about recruiting the rest of your staff – the caregivers – and your marketing to get the word out there to your target audience. Your recruitment strategy will need to attract the best possible caregivers as they are the lifeblood of your business, so it’s worth considering working with a specialist recruitment agency to ensure you talk to the right people.

You, and all people working for you, must have a disclosure barring service (DBS) check to ensure you are eligible to work in healthcare.

Protecting your care business

These staff members will be going into people’s homes, providing physical and emotional care and potentially administering medicines – so you must have the right insurance for your domiciliary care company. There are several policies to consider: public liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance, employers liability insurance, medical malpractice cover, treatments liability insurance and even cyber cover.

Marketing your domiciliary care services

To market your business, you need to consider who your target audience is. Working on a local level, you can approach news sites and newspapers – the people usually looking for homecare help are relatives such as daughters, sons, siblings etc., looking for assistance for their elderly relatives, so working with schools and local businesses can be an excellent way to get your messages out. Consider paid advertisements and door drops of flyers to ensure you are front of mind when people first start thinking about home care for their loved ones.

Starting a domiciliary care business will take time and patience, but these companies provide a vital service to society’s most vulnerable. With the right research and recruitment, your company will get off to the best possible start.

Sources:

1. https://www.homecare.co.uk/advice/home-care-facts-and-stats-number-of-providers-service-users-workforce
2. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/home-healthcare-industry
3. https://www.ibisworld.com/united-kingdom/market-research-reports/domiciliary-care-industry/
4. https://www.homecare.co.uk/news/article.cfm/id/1657896/demand-home-care-worker-jobs-rise-over-year-skills-for-care
5. https://www.homecare.co.uk/news/article.cfm/id/1657896/demand-home-care-worker-jobs-rise-over-year-skills-for-care
6. https://www.gov.uk/registration-of-domiciliary-care-agencies-england

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Health and safety guide

Taking control of health and safety can be tricky, time consuming and testing. If it’s all new territory for you, then don’t worry, download our guide to health and safety in the care industry.