The Care Act for the person you care for
If you're trying to access support for the person you care for, or even if they are already getting support, understanding the Care Act and how social care works is difficult and can be daunting.
Don't be afraid to ask social care staff involved in your loved one's care to explain things to you. This is especially important if you don't think the person you look after is getting the care they need - it's okay to ask staff to justify decisions and explain them in more detail so you undertand them better.
If you or the person you look after struggle to have your voice heard you may want to find out about advocacy.
Overview of the Care Act
The Care The Care Act 2014 covers many different areas of Adult Social Care including:
- A duty for local authorities to consider the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of the person needing care
- Entitlement to an assessment of care needs if the person appears to have needs for care and support
- A national eligibility criteria for care and support
- Authorities also have a new duty to provide preventative services, information and advice to help maintain people’s health.
- Charging and financial assessments
- Protecting adults from abuse - safeguarding
- The care system being personalised and built around each person – through Personal Budgets
- Carers to be entitled to an assessment in their own right
- Transition from children’s services to adults
- Rules of how authorities should support people if they move between authorities
- Advocacy support for people who may struggle to have their say
There are other factors of the Care Act not mentioned above, this is just an overview. The full Care Act legislation can be found online but it's not written for the general public and is not very easy to read.
There is more accessible information on these websites:
- Gov.uk Care Act factsheet
- Age UK – the Care Act
- Disability Rights – Care Act Resource page
- The Care Act – easy read
A few of the basics….
Under the Care Act the person you care for is entitled to a ‘needs assessment’ if they appear to have needs for care and support.
- must be provided to all people who appear to need care and support, regardless of their finances or whether the local authority thinks their needs will be eligible
- must be of the adult’s needs and how they impact on their wellbeing, and the outcomes they want to achieve
- must be carried out with involvement from the adult and, if they wish, their carer or someone else they nominate. The adult may need an independent advocate provided by the local authority to help them with the assessment process
The person will be assessed using the national eligibility criteria to see if they are eligible for support. This criteria is set nationally and local authorities must follow it.
A person will have eligible needs if they meet all of the following:
- they have care and support needs as a result of a physical or a mental condition
- because of those needs, they cannot achieve two or more of the outcomes specified
- as a result, there is a significant impact on their wellbeing
Eligibility is established on whether the person can acheive 'outcomes' independently and what they need help with. The outcomes include people’s day-to-day living such as dressing, maintaining hygiene, managing nutrition, personal relationships, being safe at home and working or learning.
After the assessment any support given to the person by you as their carer, will be taken into consideration when the local authority (Derbyshire County Council) plan what support they need.
You can find out more about the eligibility criteria on the Derbyshire County Council's website.
Where the person has eligible needs, and they want the local authority’s help to meet them, then the authority will discuss the person’s care and support plan with them. In all cases, the local authority must give people advice and information about what support is available in the community to help them - regardless of whether they have to fund or their own care or not.
The local authority must provide the adult with a copy of their assessment and their eligibility determination.
Local authorities must involve people in decisions made about them and their care and support. No matter how complex a person’s needs, local authorities are required to help people express their wishes and feelings, support them in weighing up their options, and assist them in making their own decisions.
If a person is classed as a self funder (i.e they have to pay the cost of all their own care), they are still entitled to a needs assessment by their local authority. They are also entitled to information and advice.
Derbyshire County Council have a brokerage service that all residents, including self-funders can use for free to help them find care service providers in their area.
What if I disagree with a decision social services have made?
If the person you care for is not happy with the way they’ve been treated, or with the outcome of any of the assessments, they/you can complain to social services. Our pages on having your say and making complaints give further guidance.
If you are not happy with the outcome of the complaint, you may be able to take a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman. Your social services department should be able to give you more information about this.