Care and support needs assessments are for adults (18 years of age or over) who may need help because of a disability, ill health or old age. If you have care and support needs and find it difficult to look after yourself, your local authority may be able to advise you and provide you with some help.
The best way to get help from your local authority is to ask for a care and support needs assessment. You can do this by contacting the local authority adult social services department, more information here or call 02392 680810.
What happens during the assessment?
The assessment will be carried out by a care specialist on behalf of the local authority or trust. This could be an occupational therapist or a social worker, for example. The care specialist will involve you throughout the assessment to identify what your needs are and how these impact on your wellbeing. They will also discuss with you how you wish to live your life and whether there are certain aims you would like to achieve but you are unable to do so because of your care and support needs. These are known as care outcomes and could be such things as whether you need help to prepare and consume food and drink, or to get washed and dressed. The assessment will start to consider how your care outcomes can be achieved.
What happens after the assessment?
Once your care needs assessment has been completed, your local authority or trust will decide what care services it can provide or arrange for you. This decision is made by comparing your care needs with a set of nationally agreed criteria which all local authorities must use. The assessor must also take into account how these needs affect your general well-being when they decide if you need support. No matter what the decision is the local authority must give you a copy of your needs assessment. You will qualify for care and support if you all meet the following criteria:
- You have a mental or physical need or you are suffering from an illness.
- You are unable to achieve two or more of the care outcomes.
- There is a significant impact on your well-being because you’re not getting the help you need.
Once the local authority has established that a person has needs that meet the national eligibility criteria, it has to make sure that these needs are met. The first step will be to draw up and care and support plan.
If you're not assessed as having an eligible need, the Local Authority will still provide information, advice and agree any preventative actions to help you remain independent. This might include putting you in touch with other services, organisations and support groups.
If you disagree with your needs assessment or the care and support plan, there are ways that decisions can be challenged or you can make a complaint. You can find out more information about making a complaint here.
If you want to know more, Carers UK have produced a useful factsheet which you can download here.