What is a Care Needs Assessment? | The Good Care Group

What is a care needs assessment?

Needing extra care and support to maintain independence and quality of life can happen at any stage in life. If you find that you need extra support to live a full and independent life at home, there are care funding options available that can help cover the costs of your care. One way to access support is through a care needs assessment.

Your local authority will assess your individual care needs and recommend services that can help you manage day-to-day. Depending upon your care needs and financial circumstances, you may be deemed eligible either for full or partial social care funding.

Here we’ll explore what you can expect from a care needs assessment and how to apply for one. It’s important to note that not everyone who applies for a care assessment will eventually qualify for social care funding, as there are certain eligibility criteria that must be met.

Who qualifies for a care needs assessment?

The care needs assessment is completely free and anyone can ask for one. You can contact your local authority directly and ask for one or speak to your GP who can then refer you for an assessment.

If you’re arranging a care needs assessment on behalf of someone else, you will need to obtain their consent before the assessment takes place. If the person lacks the mental capacity to give consent or is unable to communicate their wishes, be sure to communicate this during the application stage.

If you are acting as an advocate on behalf of someone else, it is important to ensure that the assessment process respects the person’s rights, upholds their needs and preferences, and takes into account their unique circumstances.

While it is normal for the care needs assessment to be carried out before any services are provided, this can be overridden in the case of an emergency.

How do I arrange a care needs assessment?

Contact your GP or social services at your local council and ask for a needs assessment. You can call them or do it online.

Apply for a needs assessment on GOV.UK

The care needs assessment process

During the care needs assessment process, a qualified practitioner such as a social worker or occupational therapist will evaluate your care needs and assess how well you manage with day-to-day living. They will ask you a series of questions about how you get on with daily life including cooking, personal care, shopping and mobility.

The needs assessment usually lasts between 30 minutes to an hour and can happen:

  • Face-to-face
  • Over the phone
  • Online

This is your opportunity to have your say. It is important to clearly express how you need help and provide as much detail as possible about your daily challenges, regardless of how big or small they may seem. It can be helpful to prepare a list of your needs in advance of the assessment to ensure you cover everything you want to say.

If you do not feel confident or comfortable in expressing your situation, you can ask a friend or a relative to help you during the assessment.

With your permission, the assessor may also speak with other professionals involved in your care such as your GP, nurse or family carer.

How to prepare for a care needs assessment

Preparing for a care needs assessment is essential to making sure your needs, wishes and preferences are accurately heard. Taking a bit of time to gather your documents and prepare for your assessment can help ensure a positive result.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your assessment:

  • Take note of your care needs: Before the assessment, make a list of the challenges you face in your daily life, both big and small. This can include practical difficulties with personal care, household tasks, and mobility, but it can also include emotional, spiritual or social needs.
  • Gather supporting documents: Collect any relevant documents that support your care needs, such as medical reports, prescriptions, or assessments from healthcare professionals. These documents can provide valuable insights into your health conditions and the care you need.
  • Involve a trusted person: If you feel uncertain or overwhelmed about explaining your situation, consider having a friend, family member, or advocate accompany you during the process. They can provide additional support, help clarify your needs, and ensure nothing is overlooked.
  • Be open and honest: Provide as much detail as possible about your challenges and limitations. Be honest about your difficulties and how they affect your daily life. The more information you provide, the better the assessor can understand your needs and recommend the appropriate support.
  • Consider your preferences: Think about the type of care and support you prefer. Consider your lifestyle, cultural background and the type of care you would like to receive when discussing your needs. If you would like to receive live-in care at home from a provider like The Good Care Group, be sure to express this.
  • Ask questions: Don’t hesitate to ask questions during the assessment. Let the assessor know if you don’t understand something or need further information.

Care needs assessment questions

During the care needs assessment, you will be asked several questions so the assessor can better understand your specific needs and challenges. While the exact questions will vary depending on your unique circumstances, here are some common questions that are typically asked:

  • What medication do you take?
  • Do you have any physical health problems, such as difficulties with mobility or problems with incontinence?
  • Do you have any sight or hearing problems?
  • Do you have any mental health problems, such as depression?
  • Do you have problems with memory?
  • Have you had any falls?
  • Are you able to take care of yourself?
  • What is your diet like?
  • Do you eat regular meals?
  • Do you drink or smoke?
  • Do you take regular exercise?
  • Where do you want to live?
  • Do you need any guidance on finances or benefits and allowances?
  • Are you able to look after your home?
  • Is your accommodation suitable for your needs?
  • Do you have a carer or someone who looks after you?
  • Can you get to the shops and other facilities and services?
  • Are there any hobbies and interests that you wish to maintain?
  • Have you been abused, suffered from neglect or had any problems with personal safety? This can be an emotional subject and difficult to discuss, but it’s important to share this information during your assessment.

What happens after the assessment?

Once the assessment is completed, the local authority will determine whether you require assistance and recommend appropriate care, services, or adaptations. This can include practical solutions such as help with shopping, errands, or having a home carer.

If the assessment determines that you need assistance, a financial assessment or means test is conducted to determine whether the council will contribute towards your care. The council will arrange this assessment for you. Depending on the results of the financial assessment, you may be responsible for funding some or all of your care, which is referred to as self-funded care.

If your needs assessment identifies the need for alterations to your home, such as handrails or non-slip mats, you may be referred for a home assessment.

If you disagree with the results of your needs assessment or how it was carried out, you have the right to make a complaint to your local authority. You should be able to find information about the council’s formal complaints procedure on its website.

It may also be helpful to see if you are eligible for other types of care funding.

“Outstanding” Live-in care by The Good Care Group

If you or your loved ones could benefit from one-to-one care and support, our award-winning live-in care can provide the support you need to live independently in the comfort of your own home.

Unlike introduction agencies, we are fully regulated in England and Scotland. This means the care and support we provide are regularly inspected. We are the only dedicated live-in home care services provider in England to achieve an ‘Outstanding’ rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). We know this provides families with peace of mind that their loved one is receiving the best possible care.

Call our friendly and approachable team today to see how we can help you and your family.

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