Care agencies are the bedrock of the care sector. They tend to be companies, which employ a large number of carers. They then have clients (disabled people) who contract to buy care from the agency. Sometimes this is done by the client themselves, and sometimes the contracting is done via a “brokerage firm” or your local social services. The agency then takes responsibility for all the employment management, and simply sends you a carer at the agreed time and place (in theory).

If you do not use direct payments or a personal health budget, your care may be being organised for you, without you having any say in it. This is often done through agencies, and means that you only have to receive your care – you’re not responsible for making it happen.

I’ve used agency care on and off for years, usually in the same situations:

The advantages of agency care are that:

The disadvantages are that:

I have very mixed feelings about care agencies, and have had excellent experiences, dreadful experiences, and a lot of pretty miserable experiences. They fill a vital role in the care sector but often lack consistency of support. They did not seem reliable enough to be the core options for me, especially as I have complex tasks like my bowel program, (peristeen), which many carers haven’t encountered.

I don’t currently use agencies, and while I miss the lack of responsibility, I prefer the amount of autonomy I have now.

In my next blog in this series, I will discuss how to choose an agency, navigate the relationship between you, the carers, and the agency, and what to do if things go wrong.

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