Domiciliary Care vs. Care Home’s

I mentioned in my mental health update and my absence post that I have started a new job, it is still in the same area – care work – but this time I am stationed in just one place. A care home.

Both of these are rewarding jobs to hold, but they are both slightly different. Today I want to discuss the differences and similarities, positives and negatives, of each from my observations.

Original image not my own, edit done by myself.

Domiciliary Care
I loved working in this area, I met some fascinating people and I saw different ways people live. Being able to care for people in their own homes was a privilege that I will never regret doing.

However I found that working in domiciliary care was hard. The hours were long and the pay didn’t begin to cover it, I found myself going out at 7/8 in the morning, getting home at 11 at night, and only being paid for 3-5 hours of that. It was awful in that respect. It was antisocial hours and my social life, mental health and relationships suffered. Not to mention my wallet. The downside was I had no guaranteed hours according to my contract (despite the original job offer stating they could guarantee).

Care Home’s
Working in a care home is a different kettle of fish. I am up a lot earlier for work and I am sometimes working just as long, say 14 hour shifts. However, minus an hour for lunch, I am paid for the whole time. I am working long hours, doing a lot more care, and actually receiving the pay for it.

The downside is that there is a lot less time to be myself. In the domiciliary setting, between call’s, I was able to listen to music/audio books, I could chat to friends, call my mum, anything like that. In a care home our phones are banned on shift. We are constantly on call and the moment a bell rings we have to get up and answer it (it is a timed bell that can only be turned off in the room the resident is in).

Comparison points

It is longer hours with the care home, but there is also shorter shifts (7.30-2.30 and 2.30-9.30) which are more common than long days, giving me half a day to myself. In my care home too I have the benefit of  35 hours guaranteed each week (or an average of at least). This is 35 hours paid, not 35 hours out and 12 hours or less paid.

With domiciliary care I didn’t have this pleasure and so I think the winner for hours, is my care home.

I was on a higher hourly rate with the domiciliary agency I worked for. I had £8.05 an hour, with an increase due around April, and a higher rate at weekends and in the evenings.

However, despite the slight pay cut per hour, in the care home I am paid for all of the hours I do. At £7.55 an hour (until I get my Diploma in Health & Social Care) I am paid more for what time I spend away from home and that all makes it worth it in the end. Again, the care home wins here.

This one is a little harder to do, the clients are very different in a domiciliary setting to the residents in a care home. For one, a lot of the residents have a higher dependency level. They are more reliant on 24/7 care, magic eye’s (sensors that tell you if someone/something moves in the room), and general support.

In a domiciliary setting clients are often more ‘with it’. They just require small things such as medication assistance, a cleaner, help with some personal care elements. I don’t feel this makes them better in any way, it is more of an observation.

I feel it is unfair to make a decision on this one, as I enjoy all elements of both jobs in this way.

I had a lot of support and a very good initial round of training in my domiciliary work. The office was quick to train is in many areas, and it was a lot of practical training, somebody there delivering it. They even had a resuscitation doll they showed us CPR and catheter care with. However when it came to further training, there was a lot of talk but not a lot of action.

I found myself asking for training in specific areas, and in the five months I was there I didn’t receive anything additional.

In the care home by contrast, I found the initial training to drag somewhat. It was mostly video based and there was a bit of crossover and confusion on what we had and hadn’t done already between two homes (my training was split across their two locations). I found this a little odd, and there is still things I am unsure if we may have missed.

I think in the most part, the domiciliary care covered more in initial training which is good – you have less chance to learn from someone with experience in a domiciliary care setting than a care home.

However when it comes to further training the care home wins hands down. I was with my old company for five months and I asked for additional training multiple times, including being entered onto my NVQ/Diploma in Health and Social Care. I didn’t even meet the assessor.

In contrast, the 18th February marked 1 month with the care home and already I have done Part A of my Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care, and I’ve been entered in for some additional dementia care training coming up soon. I think we can see the clear winner here.

Obviously this is just my experience, none of this has to carry over to other companies, and it is all based on personal take and what you want out of a job. I personally need the money, so I needed something guaranteed, and I wanted to progress my career in the future so doing training is something important to me.

As a result, I think the winner is clear. Working in a care home suits me best.

I will be doing more job related posts soon, so keep an eye out for them, I hope you enjoyed this one, let me know what you think about the comparison. Do you have any experiences in the healthcare industry?


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