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Thursday, 6 January 2011

Health and social care assessments

A health and social care assessment with the social services department of your local council is often the first step towards getting the help and support you need. The assessment is also known as an 'assessment of need'.

The assessment and your care plan

At the assessment, a specialist - often an occupational therapist - looks at your individual needs and discusses them with you. This is so that the right support can be provided. Services you may need can include healthcare, equipment, help in your home or residential care.

The assessment should show which needs are most important. It should also show the risks to you if you were not given any help.

If necessary, local health and social services teams will put together a package of support for you. They will discuss this with you and write a care plan. This may include services from both private and voluntary organisations.

If you need other services such as housing or benefits advice, you will be put in touch with the relevant local services.

Services and support you may be entitled to

Services can include:

  • home care help with things like cleaning and shopping
  • disability equipment and adaptations to your home
  • day centres to give you or the person who cares for you a break
  • day care for your child if either you or they are disabled
  • care homes

Some local councils provide a 'Single Assessment Process for Older People'.  With your agreement, health and social workers, community nurses and other groups share information. This means you do not have to give each of them the same information separately.

Direct payments

If you have been assessed as needing help from social services, you may be able to get direct payments to choose and buy those services yourself. Otherwise you can get the services directly from your council.

Being reassessed

Most people's health needs change over time. Your care plan should be reviewed regularly.

As a minimum, reviews are carried out three months after services are first provided or significantly changed, and then once every year. Reviews should be carried out more frequently if necessary.

If you would like to be reassessed because your needs have changed, contact your local social services or community health team within your local council.

Health and social care needs assessments where you live

Use the link below to search for your local council website where you can find out more or apply online. Please note that this service is only available for English councils.

Registering as a disabled person

If your disability is 'substantial and permanent', you can register as a disabled person with your local council.

It is not necessary to register to get local council services, but it may help in getting concessions such as reduced fares for public transport. It should also help your local council plan their services.

Your local social services department should be able to help you complete the registration form if necessary.

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