When considering a career in care, it’s worth knowing about the different types of care and support roles that exist. One particular area where you might find vacancies in your area that are a good fit for your skills is domiciliary care. It’s not a term that you’ll typically encounter outside of the sector, but that doesn’t mean that it involves something complicated.
In this guide, we take the mystery out of the term and answer the question: What is domiciliary care? We look at who benefits from this type of care as well as looking at what it involves. We’ll also look at the skills required to be a domiciliary care worker and see what tasks and working environments you can expect.
Domiciliary care is another name for homecare, which is provided by a domiciliary care and support worker, also known as a home carer. It refers to carers who visit people in their homes to provide support. By caring for someone in their house, domiciliary care enables them to remain where they live instead of having to move to a residential care home.
The main purpose of the role is to enable people to live independently and improve their quality of life. It’s a one-on-one care role that varies in its duties. The daily tasks depend on the person's needs and activities. It often involves personal care, household chores and food preparation.
Domiciliary care can provide support for people with a range of needs. It can be a short-term arrangement for someone with an acute medical condition, after an operation or for someone convalescing. Alternatively, it can be a long-term arrangement for people with ongoing needs.
The types of people that could benefit from visits from a domiciliary carer include elderly people, people with disabilities and those with medical conditions. Young people, adults and the elderly can require support at home. Anyone who needs help with daily tasks, including domestic chores and personal hygiene, help managing medication or assistance getting up and out of the house could benefit.
Domiciliary care involves providing someone with support in their home. In this way, it differs from residential care. When working in an assisted living facility, care and support workers will work in teams to care for and support several residents at once. Domiciliary care workers focus on one-to-one support, although they might provide care for several people across their day or week.
Visits to provide support in someone’s home can last 30 minutes or a few hours depending on the needs of the client. However, this role doesn’t involve providing significant levels of support and companionship. People who need that level of care will have a live-in carer to enable them to stay in their own homes.
That being said, some domiciliary care roles involve only visiting at night to provide support to someone who wakes and needs to get up frequently.
A domiciliary care worker's job description will depend on the person they’re supporting. Each visit might involve different tasks. The role is tailored to provide help where it’s needed. That could mean food shopping and preparing meals for one person, while another could need help with mobility and attending medical appointments.
An independent life means people can continue to live according to their preferences. As a care and support worker offering home visits, you could help someone visit friends and family, continue with their hobbies and support them with personal care. You also offer a level of companionship and might liaise between the person you’re caring for and their family to keep them up to date.
Some of the duties involved in domiciliary care could include:
The length of a home visit depends on the needs of the person you’re supporting. Typically, domiciliary care workers might visit multiple people in one day. This working pattern means you’ll usually work set shifts each week, with some flexibility depending on what the people you’re supporting need.
Some homecare visits are in place to provide respite for family members who care for someone, which means your working pattern might be agreed upon beforehand with them. The role requires flexibility, due to time-specific tasks, such as appointments. Although you might provide support at night, most roles involve shorter visits during the day.
As well as training in care support, there are several other skills and attributes that will make you suitable for a domiciliary care role. Having a driving licence and a car are assets, as they help you get to the homes you visit. Some employers support with providing transport whereas others will require you to use your own transport means.
As with other care and support worker roles, communication, compassion, flexibility, respect, being willing to learn and organisation are useful skills. While the role will require you to be practical and level-headed, being personable and open will also help you connect with the person you’re supporting.
When working for an organisation, make sure that you understand the hours, including travel time. It’s also worth considering transport and costs for covering fuel. Be sure to ask these questions in your application process. Besides the practical elements, it’s essential to think about whether you enjoy working in different environments with some flexibility involved.
A domiciliary care worker can make a big difference in the quality of people’s lives and help them live independently in their own homes. This rewarding role is suited to people who have a passion for helping others, who are patient, good at communicating and good at working independently.