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Frequently asked questions

What is Somerset Care’s ‘Out of Hours’ contact number?

0800 988 4333

What types of care are there?

Trying to find the type of care and support that is right for you and your family members can be a potential minefield.
There are many different types of care, and many different terms to refer to the various forms of care and support. We are always happy to sit down and talk through your options with you, if you would like to give us a call on 0800 988 4337.
Generally care and support will be provided, either in your own home or in a care home.

The main terms that you may come across are:

What is short-term care?

Short-term care covers a range of short-term services that may help you and your family to sustain independent living at home for as long as possible, usually as part of a package of care and support.
It can include:

  • Occasional days in a care home
  • Short stays in a care home or nursing home
  • Support in your own home for short periods to enable you and your family or carer to have some time to themselves
What is respite care?

Respite care is a specific type of short-term care which is mainly for the benefit of your carer, to give them a chance to take a short break or holiday. It is important that carers are able to have regular breaks and can make time for themselves. Respite care can either take place in your own home, or may take the form of a short stay in a care home.

Respite care can include:

  • Short stays in residential care homes or care homes with nursing
  • Replacement care at home, including companion and sitting services
  • Supported short breaks and holidays either for you, or for your regular carer
  • Day centres or other places that offer activities away from home

Respite care is a temporary care arrangement which:

  • Is primarily for your carer’s benefit, and so is allocated by social services on the basis of their needs in supporting you, rather than your own needs directly
  • Allows your regular carer to take a break from their caring responsibilities, or have the time they need to do other important things
  • Benefits you by allowing you a change from your usual routine, by spending time in a different place and with different people
Where can I receive short-term care?

Short-term care is often provided in a care home or nursing home. This may be a useful option for a few days or weeks, if you are coming out of hospital after an illness or injury, but are not quite ready to manage independently at home.

Short-term care can also be arranged as an alternative to hospital admission, if you do not need hospital treatment, but are too unwell to care for yourself at home. Or it could be offered as an opportunity to see whether a care home might be the right solution for you on a permanent basis.

Respite care will also include packages of care within your own home, as a break for your current carer – although the arrangements will be dependent on your needs and your carers.

Do I need to organise short-term care in advance?

Short-term care may be available through social services if you have an eligible need, it may already be included in a care package provided by your local social services. If you have not had a community care assessment of your needs, you can request one from your council’s social services department. If a relative or friend usually provides care, they can request a carer’s assessment of their own need for breaks from caring.

If you want a short-term place in a particular care home, you should contact the home to ask if they have a vacancy when you want it. Some care homes set aside a number of places for people who need short-term care.

Is there a cost involved for short-term and respite care?

Short-term and respite care may be available through social services if you have an eligible need; but you or your carers can also choose to pay for it yourselves. Some charities offer grants for respite breaks. The charges for respite care in a residential setting are usually calculated on the same basis as long-term residential care.

If I’m staying in a care home for respite, can I choose to stay longer?

Short-term and respite care can often lead into longer term arrangements, if you feel you want to stay longer within a care home you will need to talk to the Manager. If you are funded by social services then you will need to discuss it with your Social Worker, however if you are funded privately then the decision is yours depending on the rooms available in the home.

What is dementia care?

Somerset Care has received national awards and recognition for our specialist dementia care support services. We call this the Petals service as this reflects the following values and actions; person-centred, empowerment, trust, activities, life history and stimulation. We are involved in award-winning research work, recognised nationally, which we use to inform and develop our services to improve the lives of people living with dementia.
We also use a tool known as dementia care mapping to check the quality of the support and care being provided. Our specialist dementia care support services have been created through our expertise and from listening and responding to our customers and residents' needs, and the needs of their family and friends.

For more information on our dementia services, either in your own home or in one of our highly-regarded care homes, you can download our dementia care brochure.
For further details about the range of dementia care support services we provide, or for a confidential discussion, please call us on 0800 988 4337


What is the Dementia Active Centre?

In addition to providing our specialist dementia care services in our care homes and to people living in their own homes, we have a number of Centres offering day care. Our Centres enable customers to spend the day with us, and allow family carers some 'me-time', secure in the knowledge that their loved ones are enjoying a day of socialising and joining in with activities.

The Centres focus on short to medium care and support for people with dementia and their families and provide a variety of stimulating activities including:

  • Support with cooking, gardening and other daily tasks.
  • Reminiscence, life stories, sing-alongs and music therapy.
  • Light exercise, bowling, walking and outings.
  • Games, quizzes, flower arranging, arts and crafts and other creative activities.

Emma Sheppard Centre

The Emma Sheppard Centre in Frome is open six days a week from 11am - 3pm. 
For more information or to book, please contact our Mendip Community Services team.
Petals Active Living Centre - Lavender Court
The Centre in Taunton is open Monday to Saturday from 10am - 3pm. 
For more information or to book, please contact our Taunton Community Services team.

Petals films

If you want to learn more about the difference our Petals service can make to people's lives, then these short films of the experience of some of the people we support and their families may be useful;



What is day care?

Many of our care homes offer day care. This can be a way of providing informal carers, such as family members and friends, some time to themselves, while offering the reassurance of professional care in a safe environment for their loved ones. It may also include the opportunity to make use of facilities including the hairdressing salon, or benefit from the visits of professionals for services such as nail cutting.
It also provides a fantastic opportunity to socialise, and take part in the activities offered by the care home. 

What is included in day care?

Day care residents get a chance to participate in all activities within a care home setting such as lunch, activities, baths, as well as the company of all the other residents. Day care is different in all care homes, but usually starts after breakfast and finishes at tea-time; some care homes provide a meal to take home at the end of the day. Somerset Care’s day care service is completely flexible – so if you need to arrive earlier or stay later, then that can be arranged.

What is live-in care?

Live-in care refers to arrangements where your care and support worker lives in your home with you.
With our live-in care service, you will be supported in your own home by one of our care and support workers, who live with you and provide a flexible service which is tailored to your needs and requirements. This may be on either a temporary or long-term basis. 

All of our care and support workers are well-trained and highly professional. We have a rigorous screening process involved in our recruitment, and only employ individuals that reach our exacting standards.

To enquire about live-in care in your area, please contact us.

What is end of life care?

End of life care is about providing support for people (and their families) who are approaching death. It includes palliative care, and focuses on managing the symptoms and relieving pain, to keep the person comfortable.

Gold Standard Framework

Many of our homes excel in this type of care, and our staff are specially trained to give the best possible support. Eight of our homes have been awarded the Gold Standard Framework for their end of life care, three of which (Calway House, Popham Court and Cooksons Court) have received the highest accolade of Beacon status. The Framework is recognised as a marker of excellence by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and is only presented to care homes that can demonstrate that they meet the required high standard of quality care and support.

When you or someone you love are nearing the end of your life you deserve the best possible 'gold standard' of support and care, which means high quality, reliable and consistent support.

What are direct payments?

Direct Payments are a government initiative, designed to give you more choice and flexibility with regards to care and support.
If social services have assessed that you need care and support, you can choose to receive this money directly (as a ‘personal budget’) to pay for and organise your own care. This gives you more control over how, when and by whom your care and support is delivered. This process is referred to as 'Direct Payments'.

Am I eligible for help with funding?

Most people pay at least some of  the costs of their own care, and some have to pay for it all.  Your local authority /council may pay something towards this, but it will be ‘means tested’, depending how much care they assess you as needing, your personal circumstances and how much money you have.

There's a huge amount of discussion and information available around paying for care and what help you may be entitled to, but it can be quite difficult to get specific answers and figures that relate to you and that is unbiased.

For this reason, we advise anyone with queries about available funding and assistance to seek further advice about whether you are likely to be eligible for financial assistance.

How do I access funding for care?

In the first instance, we would recommend that you get in touch with your local authority/council.  They should carry out an assessment into your care and support needs –there is no charge for this, and everyone is entitled to an assessment.  If you are assessed as needing care, they should then carry out a financial assessment (a ‘means test’) to see if you qualify for financial assistance to help you meet the costs of your care.

What should I look for in a care home?

Think about what's important to you, make a list of things to check and questions to ask. Take notes on the way round and take someone with you to get another opinion.


  • Recent inspection reports (which can be found on the Care Quality Commission website)
  • What is the weekly fee and what does this include?
  • How much say will I have on how the home is run?
  • Is there a resident committee?
  • How big are the rooms and can you bring your own furniture?
  • How will they keep you entertained? Is it close to local amenities?
  • Can your visitors get there easily?
  • Do you have preferences or special requirements for meals, and can the home meet these? What time do they serve meals?
  • Will the home be able to support you if your care needs change?
  • Are the staff smiling and welcoming? Do other people living there look relaxed?
  • Does the home smell clean and look well-kept?
  • Is the garden important and how accessible is it?
  • Can I take a pet with me?

Click on the image below to read advice on moving into care.

Download the Guide to care homes

In association with

  • Registered Care Providers Association Ltd
  • National Care Forum
  • Quality First
  • United Kingdom Homecare Association
  • Acacia training and development