Care or needs assessments are used to identify your needs as a person with dementia or carer and define how these should be met, either though information, support or by the provision of services to you.
Your GP, clinician or other support worker can arrange an assessment of the care and support you need to live as independently as possible. You may want to get help with the assessment process or financial assessments from a friend of through your local Alzheimer’s Society office or Carers UK. If you are arranging a care assessment on behalf of someone else you will need their authorisation.
Arranging an assessment of care needs for yourself or on behalf of a person with dementia
To arrange a care needs assessment for yourself or someone you care for, please contact your local authority Adult Social Services Team where the person with care needs lives. You can usually do this in person at the council offices or by email or telephone. You can search for your local council’s details by using the Council search tool.
Under the Care Act 2014, the council has a duty to provide information and assessments (sometimes referred to as community assessments or needs assessments) to find out what an individual’s care needs are and how best to meet those needs through information, home adaptions or equipment, help with day to day tasks and other eligible services. They may talk to you about your needs or send you an information pack and ask you to complete a self assessment questionnaire to understand your circumstances and identify eligibility.
They will usually then contact you to discuss the questionnaire and then for a financial assessment or to arrange for a face to face assessment. A full assessment is used for more complex needs and can’t be refused on the basis of the answers provided on the questionnaires or if it appears that you may have to contribute to or pay for your own care.
Once you have been assessed as having eligible needs, the local authority (with your involvement) will create a care plan detailing the services required, how they are to be provided and how they will be funded. You may receive a direct payment to cover some or all of the costs of care or they could manage the budget and allocate services to you.
It’s important to review the plan to ensure you are receiving the care required as symptoms change over time. You may be eligible for certain benefits or other financial support such as entitlement to a personal budget provided by the local authority to pay for care.
Assessing how services are to be paid for can be a complex process and we always recommend getting help. The Alzheimer’s Society has a useful fact sheet about Personal Budgets and for information about care assessments.
You may also be eligible for other help such as benefits, council tax reduction and blue badge parking.
What if I disagree with my care assessment outcomes or my carers assessment?
You may want to consider getting help from a friend, carer or support worker, such as the Alzheimer’s Society, to help resolve any issues with the assessment process, the services provided or the amount of personal payments received. If the local authority can’t resolve the issue, you can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman, PO Box 4771, Coventry CV4 0EH. You can contact them through their website at www.lgo.org.uk or call them on 0300 061 0614.
Caring for a person with young onset dementia or supporting a family member or friend can be very rewarding but difficult. It’s important that you get the support needed to stay healthy and enable you to continue with day to day life, especially as symptoms progress. Support from organisations like Alzheimer’s Society, Care UK, local and peer support groups and forums can be invaluable.
Requesting a carers assessment
If you are caring for someone with young onset dementia, you may also be eligible for support. Local authorities now have a legal duty to carers to assess your needs and identify any support you may need. A carer’s assessment reviews the ways caring affects your life and what support you may need to continue to care for someone.
The local authority where the person you care for lives is responsible for your care assessment.
They will consider your other commitments such as work and all aspects of your health, safety and well being and what support or training could help you in your role. They should be able to discuss the support they can offer and identify if you are eligible for certain benefits. Carers UK offers detailed information about Carer’s Assessments and support for anyone who cares for someone else.