If you or a loved one need extra specialist support or home adaptations to continue living independently at home, a community care needs assessment from your local authority is the first step.
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 your financial circumstances, you may be deemed eligible either for full or partial social care funding.
Here we explore what the care needs assessment is, the factors that are taken into consideration during the assessment and how you can access funding for yourself or a loved one.
What is a care needs assessment?
If you or someone you know feels as if they could benefit from extra help at home, you may be entitled to support from your local authority.
Local authorities have a legal duty to carry out community care assessments on anyone that needs extra support with the day-to-day tasks of living due to physical disability, frailty, serious illness, learning disabilities or mental health concerns.
An assessment can be arranged in a number of ways. You can contact your local authority directly and ask for an assessment or speak to your GP who can then refer you for an assessment. The care needs assessment is free and anyone can ask for one.
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.
What does the assessment involve?
An assessment will look at the individual’s needs and how well they manage day-to-day in order to recommend services that are appropriate for them.
Someone from the council such as a social worker or occupational therapist will ask you how you’re managing everyday tasks like bathing, dressing and cooking.
This is your chance to have your say about your care needs. Give as much detail as you can about your daily challenges no matter how big or small. It can be beneficial to make a list of your care needs before your assessment so that you know what to bring up when the time comes. You may also have a friend or relative help you during the assessment if you are not feeling confident about explaining your situation.
The assessor will also speak with other professionals who care for you such as your GP, nurse or family carer if you’re happy for the council to do so.
What factors are taken into consideration?
Under the Care Act, the local authority must always consider the person’s well-being when making care decisions and arrangements.
Some of the factors that may be considered during your assessment include:
Any physical difficulties or health concerns you experience
Your skills and abilities
Any health or housing requirements
Your emotional well-being
Your needs and wishes
Your religious and cultural background and views
Your support network
Information about your needs from your carer, when appropriate
Which? Later Life Care has a useful checklist of typical questions you might get asked during your assessment.
Where does the assessment take place?
You may be offered a telephone or online assessment. If you feel these options aren’t right for you, you can ask for an in-person assessment.
Ideally, the assessment will be carried out in your loved one’s home so that the assessor can have a better indication of how they are managing and the type of support they need to continue living independently.
If the assessment is carried out elsewhere, your local social services department should ensure that the location of the assessment is convenient for you and your loved one.
After the assessment
Following your assessment, the local authority will decide whether you need help and may give recommendations on the care, services or adaptations you need. These can include practical solutions such as assistance with running errands or shopping, or they may recommend that you need a home carer.
If the assessment identifies you need additional support, you will have a financial assessment (means test) to see if the council will pay towards it. This will be arranged for you. Depending on the results of the financial assessment, you may be required to fund some or all of your own care. This is known as self-funding care.
If it is determined that you could benefit from alterations around your home such as handrails or non-slip mats, you may be referred for an assessment of your home.
If you disagree with the results of your needs assessment or how it was done, you have a right to lodge a complaint with your local authority. Your council should have a formal complaints procedure on its website.
If you or your loved ones have decided that you could benefit from care at home, our award-winning live-in care can provide the support you need to live independently in the comfort of your own home.
For over 10 years, the Good Care Group has been providing industry-leading, live-in care. Hiring a professional live-in carer and entrusting them with your home and vulnerable loved ones can be overwhelming. By choosing The Good Care Group, you never have to worry about the safety of your loved ones or the quality of care being provided.
We are the only live-in care provider in England to achieve an ‘Outstanding’ rating by the CQC. Our professional carers are trained beyond industry standards and managed by an expert and local care manager. If you have complex medical needs, we can provide expert care for medical and specialist conditions like dementia, Parkinson’s, or multiple sclerosis.
Our approach to care recruitment makes the process of choosing a live-in carer for you or your loved one as simple as possible. Our team of live-in care experts and clinical specialists will work with you to create a no-obligation assessment of your needs that takes into consideration not only the care and support you need, but your lifestyle choices, routines, and preferences as well.
If you believe your loved one could use extra support at home, do not hesitate to contact our friendly team to learn how we can help you and your family.
Talk to us about your care needs
To talk about your care needs, contact one of our friendly advisors. Calls from landlines are free.