Defining Night Roles

It’s important to accurately define the role of a night carer; there are many variations in duties required, and slightly different titles are used which can lead to confusion.

Below are the night positions we recruit for, the titles we use and some examples of why the roles may change. Positions may be to support babies, children, young people or adults, for ease of reading, they are referred to as the ‘client’.

Waking Nights 

Carers provide constant support. This may be monitoring and/or to carry out required tasks throughout the night such as turning, managing seizures or medication administration. Carers work either in the same room or work in a nearby room with video / auditory monitors, making regular checks. It’s vital the carer is actively engaged to ensure they stay awake and alert. Where client engagement is minimal, carers should have tasks to carry out or be able to study.

On-Call Nights

(Sometimes referred to as Sleep-in Nights. Not to be confused with 'Sleepover or Sleeping Nights’) Carers can expect to have some sleep but will be on call to attend to the client as and when needed. Should anticipate being woken once or twice a night for periods of less than 30 minutes. Carers work close by and/or use visual/audio monitors to know when they are required.


Sleeping Nights

(Sometimes referred to as ‘Sleepover Nights’). Carers should anticipate being able to sleep through the night and are present as a responsible adult who may be called on for very occasional, unpredictable needs or emergencies, for example, if a client has infrequent seizures. A nightly Sleeping Allowance can be agreed, but if the carer is required at any time during the shift, those hours must be meet National Minimum Wage requirements. 

See also

Why the Roles May Change – even within a shift.

The client may initially require a Waking night carer, but as their condition stabilises or improves, an On-Call night care may be adequate. For example, a client has severe nocturnal seizures & requires a Waking Night Carer. He is put on new medication and after 6 months his seizures reduce so significantly he only has occasional night seizures. Or a young client constantly wakes during the night. It is thought this is due to her physical disability causing constant discomfort. With a good night time routine, it is evident her needs are behavioural, and she now sleeps through the night only needing to be turned once or twice.

If a client’s condition or health deteriorates this may require the role to be changed from an On-Call to a Waking Night role. This may be a temporary change e.g. the client is recovering from surgery or is unwell. Carers hourly rate should reflect the work they are required to do. If they are required to attend to the client 3 or more times, for periods of 30 minutes or more, or if they are awake for an extended period of time it is accepted they will get little or no sleep and so rates should revert to Waking Night rates for the total period. It's about what's fair to both parties. 


What you may need to supply for your carer

Access to comfortable seating, monitors if appropriate, a bathroom, tea/coffee making facilities, a sink and ideally a microwave and fridge. On-Call / Sleeping Nights, own bed in a carer’s room and clean linen. (Occasionally carers are requested to bring own linen, or choose to).


If you require any further information about night roles,
please don’t hesitate to ask! | 020 7729 2200 

Option 1 Bespoke Recruitment