What does a live-in carer do? (With salary information)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 20 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Live-in carers help patients recover and rehabilitate following surgeries, injuries or illnesses. These important professionals assist patients with day-to-day tasks, such as mobility and maintaining personal hygiene. Knowing what a live-in carer does can help you decide whether this rewarding career choice is right for you and may also help you find a job. In this article, we explore what a live-in carer does, what skills they possess and the steps you can take to start a career in this field.

What does a live-in carer do?

The responsibilities of each live-in carer may be different depending on their employer and the needs of the patient they're caring for. The carer's level of training can also determine the level of responsibility their employers give them. A live-in carer with a level of medical training may administer injections, for example, whereas a less trained carer may simply help with household tasks, personal hygiene and mobility. Live-in carers can expect to have some of the following responsibilities:

  • helping patients with mobility from one location to another

  • assisting patients with grooming and dressing

  • assisting patients with cooking and cleaning

  • managing and monitoring medications

  • transporting patients to their medical appointments

  • monitoring and recording patient vitals

  • completing household errands, including grocery shopping and picking up prescriptions

  • assisting patients with exercise

  • tracking patient development and progress and collaboratively working with other medical team members

  • offering respite and companionship services to patients

It's important for live-in carers to be versatile and flexible, as they may do different tasks depending on who they're providing care to. On one day, a senior patient may require help with mobility around their home, for example, whereas on another day, a post-surgical patient may require help with cooking and cleaning.

Related: Care assistant interview questions and answers

What is a live-in carer?

Live-in carers help people who have suffered injuries or who have health issues with various daily tasks, such as grooming, mobility and administering medication. Live-in carers may visit a patient in their home or in the hospital or they may live with the patient full time if they require around-the-clock care. These professionals can work for hospitals or in-home care service providers, or they may build their own caseload.

Live-in carers usually report to a licensed medical provider who may assist them with various medical tasks. Some live-in carers may only assist patients in their homes, while others may help patients travel to do activities, complete errands or meet work responsibilities. Patients of all types benefit from the services of live-in carers, such as senior and disabled patients and those who are recovering from surgery.

Related: Healthcare assistant cover letter: with tips and examples

Salary potential for live-in carers

The national average salary for live-in carers ranges between £24,961 per year for starting positions and £29,534 per year for senior carers. Factors that determine salaries include location, the employer you work for and your level of experience. Your qualifications and certifications may also affect your level of compensation.

How to become a live-in carer

Live-in carers have enough training to provide a basic level of medical care. While they aren't medical practitioners, they may assist patients with medication and clean and redress wounds. Here is an outline of the process you can take to become a live-in carer:

1. Attend high school

GCSEs are typically the only qualifications that live-in carers need, as these provide the basic level of education required to progress. Studying subjects like science, maths and English can be useful to live-in carers, as this gives them communication skills, numeracy skills and some basic knowledge of biology. The knowledge gained from studying these fields can help with communicating with patients and doctors, counting money or tablets and helping people with bodily problems.

Related: How to write a care assistant CV

2. Complete training

It's essential for live-in carers to complete a training programme before entering employment. This equips them with the relevant skills for the day-to-day performance of their duties. You can access training courses online or through an employer, as your employer may train you for the role as part of the onboarding process. The training typically involves working with an experienced live-in carer and a medical professional for around 70 hours, with some supervised practice at the end.

3. Pass testing

The government indirectly regulates live-in carers because they often work with vulnerable people. This means that live-in carers undergo certain testing procedures to ensure that their knowledge and training is sound before they're certified. The Care Quality Commission (CQC), which regulates all health and social care services in England, awards these certificates.

4. Apply for live-in carer positions

Once you have completed all the education and training required to become a live-in carer, you can begin applying for open positions. It's essential to draft your cover letter and CV and prepare for upcoming interviews. It's useful to go over the best practices for each of these important steps to prepare yourself for the hiring process.

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The typical work environment for live-in carers

Live-in carers typically work with patients in their homes. Their patients may live in a bungalow, house, a residence for elderly people or a flat. Some patients live in an assisted living facility. The typical workday of a live-in carer varies from patient to patient. A patient who is recovering from surgery may need help with mobility and rehabilitative activities, whereas senior patients may need help with things like managing medications and transportation to and from medical appointments. The daily work expectations and responsibilities of live-in carers depend on the individual needs of the patient.

The job outlook for live-in carers

As ageing populations continue to require home care following medical procedures or chronic health conditions, the job outlook for live-in carers is positive. The demand for live-in carers is likely going to increase by 36% from 2015 to 2025, according to The Office for National Statistics. With modern medical care, individuals are living longer than before, with many choosing to live out their retirement and senior years in the comfort of their own houses.

How live-in carers can advance in their careers

live-in carers can advance their career with the following tips:

  • Additional training: Extended training might be available through online educational programmes. It can also be useful to offer your caregiving services to new populations, which can also increase your experience in the industry.

  • Specialised training: Training that provides live-in carers with specialised skills can make them a more desirable candidate and can assist with advancing their career. Specialised training might include skills with specific medical machines or experience working with dementia or Alzheimer's patients.

  • Develop important industry skills: live-in carers need skills in time management, communication, project management and problem-solving to succeed in their role. Developing these skills can assist a live-in carer with furthering their career.

  • Achieve certification: Beyond the required testing, live-in carers can take additional tests to become certified. Both the Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) and the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) are options available to live-in carers.

By taking additional training and volunteering your services to gain additional experience, you can show your dedication and commitment to the industry and develop the skills necessary to further your live-in carer career.

Related: Guide to 12 careers in caring (with duties and salaries)

Skills for live-in carers

Live-in carers are multi-skilled individuals who call on different skills as situations demand them. The exact skills they apply differ depending on the patient they're caring for and the nature of their role, but all carers typically possess the following skills and qualities:

  • A caring nature: As the name suggests, carers are kind and caring individuals, usually with high levels of empathy and a passion for helping others.

  • Flexibility: This is an important skill for carers as the job sometimes requires them to adapt to changing situations and help patients in multiple ways.

  • Interpersonal skills: It's essential for carers to be effective at interacting with people to listen, speak with and understand what patients need, sometimes using intuition.

  • Organisational: As a live-in carer, you may organise your own life and the life of the patient to a degree, so organisation skills are crucial.

  • Multitasking: Being good at multitasking is also important, as a carer may be cooking, for example, when another important task arises and the carer may then deal with the two tasks simultaneously.

  • Problem-solving: If an unexpected problem occurs, the carer would solve it, as their patient may be incapable of doing so.

  • Quick-thinking: If a serious problem arises or the carer needs a quick solution, it's important for them to think quickly, as the patient's safety may depend on fast reactions.

Some days live-in carers may only apply a few of these skills, and on other days, they may call on all of them. The exact nature of the role depends on the patient you're caring for to a large extent, as some may be more or less active than others and some may have special requirements.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌‌ experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌ Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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