How does HomeTouch work?

HomeTouch provides a safe place for families and people looking for care to find individual carers, contract with them securely and receive real time feedback on care. HomeTouch helps you to identify carers in your area who you think would be a good match and then contact them directly. You can do this by searching for carers using your postcode.

Once you have registered on the site, HomeTouch provides a free suite of tools that enables you to monitor care easily. For instance you can ensure the carer is performing their care duties by monitoring the care dashboard to track task logging, punctuality, geoverification and time spent at the care visit.

How do I search for carers that suit my needs?

Enter your postcode on the "find a carer" page and this will generate a list of carers in your area. If you would like to use a more detailed search function which can find carers by language, skills, interests, experience, you will need to register an account and continue once logged in. For instance, if you wish to search for a specific language that a carer speaks, you will need to register and use the advanced search page once logged in.

I cannot find a carer in my area. Why is this?

We currently serve Greater London and Brighton for hourly care and nationwide for live in care. If you are having problems, just contact us on the live chat and we'll be happy to guide you.

How do I pay for care?

HomeTouch provides a secure online payment facility that holds the payment "in escrow" ( a secure third party account), so that the payment is only delivered to the carer on the following Friday after a weekly period ends (Monday to Sunday). Payment is required before any contract commences and payment is via credit/debit card only. For ongoing contracts payment is taken in advance very Monday and is held in the escrow account.

What will the carer be paid?

The carer will be paid the stated rate on their profile minus 20% (inc VAT) commission on an ongoing basis for the duration of the contract and any further contract with the carer. HomeTouch defines this as an "introductory fee" which is spread out over the length of the contract and any other subsequent contracts with that individual carer. We are committed to supporting a minimum £10/hr income for all carers.

Who sets the rates for carer pay?

Carers set their hourly rates according to their experience level, areas of expertise and the trust ratings they have built up on HomeTouch. The minimum hourly rate chargeable on HomeTouch is £10/hr. Please be aware that carers are working on a self-employed basis and therefore have to cover their travel costs and other reasonable expenses. We are committed to ensuring that carers can earn a living way via offering their services on HomeTouch.

Is there a minimum contract length?

No. You can book a carer for a one off job for a few hours or days or arrange an ongoing contract. An ongoing contract can be cancelled at any time.

How long can the visits be?

HomeTouch is committed to supporting minimum one hour visits. Otherwise it is as long as is required by you and your family.

Why can’t I see all the carer profile details without logging in?

To message a carer or arrange a visit, you need to create a free HomeTouch account and continue your discussion with the carer once you are logged in.

Should I meet a carer before arranging a contract?

It depends on the circumstances. If you need a carer urgently to cover another carer, we can recommend carers who are suitable and who have been able to help in this area before. This is best setup as an immediate contract and payment.

If you are looking for a longer term contract, we advise you meet the carer, decide they are the right person for you or your loved one and then agree the contract terms. If this is the case with you - please get in touch as we will offer you the first hour of care free so there is no cost to you. Many clients like to meet with their carer before confirming an ongoing or longer term contract to ensure there is a good match.

Are carers insured?

There is no statutory requirement for a self employed carer to have carer's personal liability insurance. However, we recommend all carers purchase their own personal care insurance. Ultimately this at the client's discretion. HomeTouch will ensure all carers commencing a contract will have a policy in place if this is requested by a client.

Once I have met a carer, can I arrange to pay them in cash?

No, it is against our terms and conditions to pay for carer services outside of HomeTouch. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the HomeTouch system has been designed so that payment can be held securely which gives reassurance to both carer and customer in case of any problems. The payment system is designed to be cashless which is more convenient, safer and means that payment can be made by relatives who live far away and have limited contact with the carer.

Secondly, please be aware that offering a carer payment outside of HomeTouch terms or accepting a request for payment outside of HomeTouch will affect the carer’s ability to both secure ongoing work through HomeTouch. Carers invest significant time improving their profiles so that they are able to gain credibility and trust for their work - offering them payment outside of this jeopardises the efforts they have made and breaches our terms and conditions.

What happens if I am not happy with my carer?

First of all, please let HomeTouch know straight away if you are having problems. We are here to help and want to resolve any problems you have. We take any allegations of poor care, dishonesty, poor punctuality, incompetence or poor communication very seriously and will take action immediately if you have concerns. If you have reason to be dissatisfied with your carer, you need to decide whether they have breached the contract with you (eg have not turned up, been non-punctual), or whether you no longer wish to employ them for your own personal reasons. If you believe they have breached the contract, you can dispute the contract and HomeTouch will then look at the evidence to decide whether you should be reimbursed. If you have an ongoing contract with the carer, you can cancel this at any time without explanation. However, if you have booked a fixed length contract, you will be bound into complying with the terms of the contract for the contract length. The only exception to this is when exceptional personal circumstances have occurred that mean you are unable to comply with the contract (eg being admitted to hospital, bereavement etc).

How are your carers vetted?

We check all of our carers ID, Qualifications and CRB/DBS certificates. We also face to face interview every carer that joins HomeTouch and assess them against 5 criteria - punctuality, communication skills, compassion/empathy, ability to take initiative and personal presentation/honesty. We conduct detailed scenario testing and reference check all carers. We pride ourselves on the high quality bar we set and only accept a small fraction of the carer applicants we receive.

Is HomeTouch registered with the Care Quality Commission?

No. According to regulatory guidelines published by the Care Quality Commission, "introductory agencies" who impose no control over ongoing care provision, but introduce carers and provide other ancillary services to facilitate a carer/care seeker relationship, have no statutory requirement to register with the CQC. HomeTouch is therefore unable to offer services such as changes to a care plan, increased frequency or intensity of care visits, back up rotas or otherwise effect control over the delivery of the care by the care worker. Care workers who provide personal care on a self-employed basis also have no requirement to be registered with the CQC providing the services offered do not extend beyond personal care. HomeTouch does however provide a suite of complimentary services as part of the care contract that enable a customer to monitor the carer’s performance. HomeTouch does not and is unable to monitor individual care performance.

Can I employ more than one carer at the same time?

Yes, If you need a carer for different times of the day or week, you may need to find additional carers who are able to work at different times. Equally, you may have a carer who is taking leave and you can arrange a short term contract with another carer to cover this period. HomeTouch allows you to have multiple carer contracts simultaneously which can all be managed from the contracts page on the main HomeTouch dashboard.

Do I pick my own carer or do you assign one to me?

You should pick your own carer according to the criteria you looking for. However, if you need some assistance, we can help you with recommendations. The ultimate choice though is you and your family’s. Please email us at hello@myhometouch.com or contact us via the live chat facility.

When do I need to pay?

The payment needs to be made before the contract starts. This is held in a third party (escrow) account before being transferred to the carer at the end of the following week. Weekly recurring payments are then made for contracts longer than a week.

Why do carers need to use a smartphone?

The carers use a smartphone to accept contracts, message/reply to clients, log visits and view their billing status. Because carers are typically based at and between client homes during their working day, this technology helps them to communicate on the move and allows the HomeTouch platform to geoverify their location. (Please not some of this functionality is currently undergoing an update and will be re-released in early 2017.)

Do I need to pay employers National Insurance?

No, carers work on a self employed basis and there is no statutory requirement to pay Employers NI.

How are you different from a care agency?

All our carers are self employed and are permitted to set their own rates and decide hours that they’re available to work. We impose no control over the care delivery and this is up to you and the carer. This means carers can be remunerated at a level that offers them a living wage but can also keep care affordable for you.

Can I cancel a contract?

You can cancel at any time for an ongoing contract. If you are booking for defined time period of less than a month, you are committed to paying that amount unless exceptional circumstances have occurred. We will look at each request on a case by case basis. Please note, you are party to a contract with the carer and if there is no reasonable reason is given for ending the contract prematurely, you would be in breach of that contract and the care would be entitled to full payment.

What if there is a dispute?

If there is reason to believe the carer has not fulfilled their duties or there are any other concerns, you can dispute the contract in the contract section. HomeTouch will look at each disputed contract on a case by case basis and try to resolve the matter fairly. A carer also has the ability to dispute a contract in case they believe they have reason to.