Your care needs assessment
Do you need care? You may not be sure whether you do or not. If you’re starting to struggle with managing everyday tasks yourself, then some form of care might be helpful. You may even qualify for state-funded care from your local authority. To find out if you do, you can have a care needs assessment.
What is a care needs assessment?
This is often the first step in getting extra help.
It’s a free assessment arranged by your local authority. A social worker or occupational therapist will come and visit you in your home and discuss your needs with you. They may ask you how you feel in yourself, what you enjoy, what you find difficult, how you would like your lifestyle to change and any physical pain you feel. These questions will help them to understand your needs, so they can find the right care for you.
To arrange a care needs assessment, you can contact your local authority via the NHS website.
In what ways can care help me?
Care can mean a wide range of different things. It could be anything from round-the-clock support from a live-in carer, to just a little extra help with things like housekeeping. Here’s a list of some of the things that care might cover if necessary:
- Cooking and housework
- Getting out and about
- Administrative tasks (like paying the bills)
- Getting washed and dressed
- Remembering to take medication
- Using the toilet
- Eating and drinking
- Feelings of loneliness
A care worker may also help with other everyday tasks that are not on this list. Your care assessment will aim to find out exactly where and how you need help, so you can receive the right level of care.
Will my care be paid for?
You may get some or all of your care provided or paid for by the local authority. This can depend on a few factors, such as whether care is considered essential for your health and wellbeing, and/or whether or not you could pay for it yourself.
Your care assessment will decide whether you need care and how much you need. You will also be asked to take a ‘means test’ to see if you are eligible for help with paying for care. This will look at your assets such as your income (e.g. from pensions) and any savings or investments you have. The means test will not include the value of your home if you, your partner or a dependent are going to continue living there, but may do so if you move into residential care.
If your total eligible assets are below a certain level (which varies between UK countries) then you will be eligible for financial help with your care costs. Find out more about how the means test works.
What is a care plan?
If your care assessment finds that you have needs that can be met by care, the local authority will set these out in a care plan. This will include a description of the kind of care you need and how this will be paid for. You will be involved in the creation of the care plan to ensure you fully understand what it means for your lifestyle and finances, and you get to keep a copy.
The local authority will review your care plan regularly to ensure it remains up to date. The first review will be after three months, and then yearly after that. You can also have it reviewed if your circumstances, health or wellbeing change. At each review your local authority will check that the plan is supporting your lifestyle and find ways to improve it if necessary.
While you are considering your options, it’s useful to learn more about the different types of care that could help you. Here you can read more about the pros and cons of homecare and residential care.
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