What’s the Difference Between a Carer and a Domiciliary Carer?

When it comes to providing care, the terms ‘carer’ and ‘domiciliary carer’ are often used interchangeably in the UK. However, there are significant differences in their roles, responsibilities, and the nature of care they provide. 

Understanding these distinctions is crucial for anyone looking to pursue a career in caregiving or for families considering what type of care is best for their loved ones. Here, we’ll cover the main difference between a domiciliary care worker and a care worker.

What Are a Carer’s Main Responsibilities?

Carers, also known as care assistants or care workers, primarily support individuals with their daily activities, ensuring their well-being and comfort. Their responsibilities can vary widely depending on the needs of the person they are caring for but typically include:

  • Assisting with personal care tasks such as bathing, dressing, and toileting.
  • Helping with mobility, including transfers and using aids.
  • Providing companionship and emotional support.
  • Administering medication and monitoring health conditions.
  • Assisting with household tasks like cleaning, laundry, and meal preparation.
  • Facilitating social activities and appointments.

Carers can work in various settings, including residential care homes, nursing homes, and day centres.

What Are a Domiciliary Carer’s Main Responsibilities?

Domiciliary carers, or home care workers, offer similar support to carers but within the client’s own home. 

This type of care is tailored to meet the individual needs of people who prefer to stay in their own environment. Key responsibilities include:

  • Conducting personal care tasks in a familiar setting.
  • Providing tailored support that promotes independence.
  • Offering companionship and support with social engagements.
  • Performing household duties that the individual may struggle with.
  • Ensuring the safety and comfort of the individual in their own home.

Cover for Carers, Domiciliary Carers, and their employers

Domiciliary Care & Carers Insurance

Cover available for:

  • Self Employed Carers & PA’s
  • Carer’s Employers
  • Direct Payments
  • Domiciliary Carers
  • Home Employment Cover (for those that employ carers in their home)

Key Differences Between Carers vs Domiciliary Carers

While both roles aim to support individuals in their daily lives, the main differences lie in their work environment and the nature of care provided. Here are some bullet points highlighting these distinctions:


  • Carers will often work in care homes or communal living environments
  • Carers’ responsibilities may extend to healthcare tasks such as administering medication
  • A carers scope of work can be varied, from accompanying clients to appointments to personal care assistance and helping with medical tasks

Domiciliary Carers

  • Domiciliary carers will often work in the private home of the person(s) they care for
  • Domiciliary care often places a stronger emphasis on companionship, as clients may be more isolated or independent than those in residential care
  • A domiciliary carer’s responsibilities do not include any hands-on care, such as lifting and personal care.
  • Domiciliary carers are also not ensured to administer medication or provide healthcare-related tasks.

Things To Consider When Deciding Between Being A Carer vs Domiciliary Carer

Training & Qualifications

For both care workers and domiciliary carer roles, there usually aren’t any requirements to have academic qualifications such as degrees, A-Levels or GCSEs. 

However, having an NVQ in Health and Social Care (levels 2 and 3) as well as first aid training are seen as preferable qualifications to have for both roles – but particularly care workers who may need additional training in manual handling and personal care.

In addition, any care worker who may want to take on duties such as administering medication, providing medical care etc, will need to have that training to do so.


While domiciliary care insurance is typically cheaper, it covers fewer aspects than the comprehensive policies required in residential care settings. For example, as a domiciliary care worker, you would not be covered for any healthcare tasks nor would you be covered for any hands-on care.

If you do either of these things in your role as a carer, then you may need a more comprehensive carers insurance policy to ensure you are fully covered.

Earning Potential

Earning potential can vary based on several factors including experience, qualifications, and the specific needs of your clients. 

Domiciliary carers may have the opportunity to earn more due to the personalised nature of the services they offer and the potential for private employment arrangements. However, care workers will have the ability to offer more specialised services and care to clients who need a higher level of care, and therefore may be able to earn more by niching down.

In conclusion, while both carers and domiciliary carers share the common goal of supporting individuals with their daily lives, the key differences in their roles, responsibilities, and work environments are significant – and it’s important to know what category you fall into for insurance and training purposes.