Frequently Asked Questions

We cover the whole of the UK. As the carers live with you for weeks at a time, most are happy to travel long distances to go to a client. We will only introduce you to carers who are happy to go where you are.

Our mission is to help people live happily and independently at home with a great live in care service, and give peace of mind to the families concerned. Most people would choose to stay at home instead of going to a care home and we exist to make that possible in a way that offers exceptional value.
So why Careleaf instead of other live in care agencies?

We’ve been carers ourselves – Careleaf was founded and is run by experienced live in carers. So we’ve been in your shoes, caring for your loved ones and understand from personal experience what it’s like and what you need. We are in a unique position to really empathise and advise when things get difficult and offer our combined decades of expertise working in care.

Value – When we worked as live in carers ourselves we were horrified by some of the fees that agencies charged. Managed agencies typically charge upwards of £1000 a week, pay the carer about half and keep half for themselves. We never understood what service they were offering to justify agency fees of several hundred pounds a week. Most introduction agencies were also very expensive. (see our article for the difference between a managed agency and an introduction agency) And many of these agencies were uncaring and unsupportive. So we set up Careleaf with the intention of offering a better service at a fair price.

Personal bespoke service – We believe that we are the right size to offer the best service. Large enough to have a healthy pool of carers with years of experience. Small enough that we know all of our clients and carers and can offer a friendly, personal service. So you won’t be navigating a switchboard each time you call, speaking to different agency staff each time who are reading from case notes.

Exceptional, experienced carers – We are very selective about the carers we choose and only have experienced carers registered with us. Our carers seem to really like and appreciate the fact that we have worked as carers ourselves, and this helps us to attract the people we like to work with. Many are referred to us by existing carers who are happy working with us.

Foundation of mindfulness and ethics – The Careleaf founders have a deep interest in mindfulness, meditation and its broader context. The broader context being that you can’t be happy with a settled mind unless you are living with integrity in a way that is not harming others. That with a commitment to serving others, we are lighter, at ease, calmer and happier. So working with honesty and a caring nature is central to what we do. Between us we have attended many mindfulness and meditation retreats.

We offer a friendly, attentive and personal service while keeping our fee lower than other agencies.

The service fee pays for the following:

Top quality experienced carers – Carers don’t just appear… For each carer we put you in touch with we’ve spent dozens of hours reviewing applications and interviewing potential candidates, then spending time with all the paperwork and speaking to references. With our expertise, we are skilled at picking the right people.

Continuity – If a carer needs to leave suddenly we’ll find a replacement, if a carer isn’t gelling with your loved one then we’ll find a replacement. When a carer takes a break we’ll find a replacement. Having carers available when needed and ensuring continuity of care is what we work tirelessly to ensure.

Expertise, advice and mediation – Many things can happen while a carer is with you. For example, your loved one’s mobility can dramatically decrease or they can become more confused. Care needs change so we are here to help advise during this process. Sometimes disagreements can arise between the client and the carer. We’re here to help by listening to both sides and offer our combined decades of experience to help resolve any problems.

Support for the carer – It can sometimes be lonely work being away from friends and family. We speak to the carers regularly to offer support and a listening ear as a happy carer means a happy client.

The highly competitive fee we offer pays for us to work full time to make this happen.

The cost of live-in care is made up of the rate the carer gets paid and the agency fee. Our fee is fixed at £15 a day regardless of the level of care. (*Please note, the daily service fee of £15 is for ongoing placements. For shorter or respite placements please refer to the next FAQ question on the cost of short term and respite care.).

The rate for the carer varies depending on the level of care required. Our minimum rate for the carer is £95 a day. If there are light care needs then the rate is usually £95 or £100 a day for the carer. For example, if there is a higher level of care with hoisting involved the rate is usually £110-£115. If there is a couple who both require care then the rate is usually £120-£125. This is just a rough guide so please do call us on 01273 900262 to discuss your needs for a more accurate quote.

For the total cost you will need to consider the daily rate for the carer, the careleaf daily service fee, food for the carer and travel expenses for the carer to travel to you from their UK location (up to £25 for each way).

Often care is required on a short term basis. This could be after a hip operation for example, or to cover for holiday for a partner who is the main carer. The minimum placement is usually a week. The daily rate for the carer is the same as with longer placements. See our pricing page for an indication. The careleaf service fee is on a sliding scale as follows:

Up to 2 weeks: £170 per week

2- 3 weeks: £140 per week

3-4 weeks: £120 per week

Over 4 weeks: £105 per week

This very much depends on the needs of each person. The way it is calculated is by considering the needs and daily rate of the person with the higher care needs then the additional work that is required for the second person. So for example, the rate might be £95 or £100 a day for the first person. Then the amount of extra work that is needed for the second person is taken into account. If it’s just cooking and laundry, usually it’s an additional £5 – £10 a day.

If there are two people who each have care needs, whether physical or emotional, usually in this case there is a lot of extra work involved. This can be quite a complex situation if one or other of the people being cared for has dementia and the carer is mediating between the couple.

Due to the extra work involved there is usually an additional £20-£30 per day in these cases.  All clients are assessed on a case by case basis.

It’s usually better to discuss this situation on the phone, so do call us on 01273 900262.

We are live-in care specialists and only introduce live-in carers. If you require hourly care we recommend contacting local care providers in your area. It may be that hourly care is needed to provide a break for your carer. Unfortunately, we are not able to help organise this although we can offer advice on the best steps to take.

Careleaf is an introduction agency who “introduce” self-employed carers. This is a model approved by the CQC and although it falls out of the scope of their regulations, it conforms to the Health & Social Care Act 2008. Although we do not employ the carers ourselves, on a practical level we are actively involved in the welfare of the client by offering advice, mediation when problems arise, regularly communicating with the carers to make sure they are happy, and working hard in the background to make sure there are always carers there when you need them.

Careleaf is an introduction agency who “introduce” self-employed carers, as opposed to a managed agency who employ the carers. We have an article that elaborates more on the differences between a managed agency and an introduction agency.

Yes. We take this very seriously. As a minimum, all our carers have a recent DBS check or relevant criminal record check from their own country where required. We check their ID and right to work in the UK. We contact 2 references, professional references by phone if possible to get a really good sense of what they are like. Many referees are happy to talk to potential clients so often you will be able to hear about how the carers work ‘from the horse’s mouth’.

We ask that all of our carers have some previous care work experience which involves previous training. And we ask that the carers keep their training up to date. In addition, we provide a Careleaf training pack to help carers know everything they need to know.  For clients that require advanced moving and handling techniques, such as using hoists, we ensure our carers have completed specific training for this.

All of our carers seem to like the way that we work. They like being able to speak with the clients to decide if the placement is right for them. They like having a friendly voice available at the end of the phone. They receive a good rate of pay compared with the average which means they are more content with their work. As they are happy with us then they tell their friends meaning we get lots of referrals.

Yes, our carers are with you 7 days a week. This is usually how live in care works – that the carers work 7 days a week until it’s time to take a break.

We ask you to provide a 3 hour break every day if possible but 2 hours as a minimum, during daylight hours and at the same time. Usually this will be after lunch, between 1.30 and 4.30 for example. This is important as the carers need to be able to switch off from their role as a carer and to have time to do other things. Some days it might not be possible to provide a formal break so the carers need to be flexible, but you would need to give your carer extra time off on another day. If this isn’t going to be possible then please do speak to us to discuss an alternative solution.

This depends on what kind of rota you’d like and what kind of rota the carers like to work with. A typical rota would be for a carer to work 6 weeks then take a 2 week break, when another carer would come to replace them. Having two carers rotating 2 weeks on 2 weeks off is another variation.

Usually carers like to stay between 2 and 8 weeks before taking a break. Some have other commitments such as their own family and like to work 2-3 weeks at a time. Some like to stay for months if they can!  If the work is more intensive usually more frequent breaks will be required.  But as the carers work 7 days a week it is not usually possible to have the same carer 365 days a year.

Usually not. As carers work 7 days a week they will inevitably need breaks.  They will have friends and family they will need to visit and will need to take holidays.

We usually have carers who are available at short notice, but the more time there is to find a carer, the easier it is to find the right person.

Personalities don’t always gel or sometimes the carer won’t be the right fit and this happens with live in care.  If this happens then we’ll help find another carer who you think will be a better match and arrange a handover. We encourage that you speak to the carers before they come, this usually helps to know if they will be a good fit.

Typically carers work on a self employed basis as this is usually the most convenient arrangement for the client and the carer. We check that the carer has registered as self employed but they are responsible for paying their tax and national insurance.

If you need a replacement carer in a hurry we will go out of our way to find someone for you as quickly as possible.

We provide a suggested contract between the carer and the client. Amendments can be made to this contract between the carer and the client as long as both parties are happy. This contract outlines what the client and carer are to expect from each other.

Our service fee is £15 a day and this is paid as a single invoice at the end of the month, ideally via bank transfer.  Short term placements can be paid as a single invoice. The carer’s fee is paid directly to the carer, ideally via a bank transfer. Carers usually like to be paid every fortnight, and some like to be paid weekly if possible. Other methods of payment such as a cheque can also be arranged.