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The Care Act: What You Need to Know about Assessments

If you’re familiar with the Care Act then you may know that regulations have been put in place to ensure local authorities around the UK provide or arrange services that help prevent people developing needs for care. With this comes a responsibility to asses an adult’s needs for care and support, and deciding whether a person is eligible for publicly funded care and support.

We’ve broken down what you need to know about assessments and what the requirements are.

What is the assessment process?

An assessment is the way a local authority depicts a full picture of an individual in order to decide whether a person needs care and support to help them live their day-to-day life and in what capacity this falls under. It must be carried out by an appropriately trained assessor, for instance a social worker, who will consider a number of factors including, but not limited to:

• the person’s needs and the impact this has on their wellbeing. • the outcomes that benefit the person – E.g. whether they are lonely and wish to involve themselves in a community. • the person’s other circumstances – e.g. whether they live alone or someone supports them.

With a twist on approach, local authorities will now focus on what the person actually needs or wants, compared to previously where responsibilities for assessments were set out in a number of law which primarily focused on what service should be provided.

Furthermore, each local authority would set its own eligibility threshold based on guidance. This meant that the amount – and type – of care that was provided by the council varied depending on where a person lived.

So, what are the requirements for assessment? The Act gives local authorities an obligation to carry out a needs assessment to determine whether an adult has specific needs for care.

The assessment: • 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 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.

Other considerations must be taken into account, including services that can contribute to the desired outcomes or whether there are other services available locally to help the person stay well for longer. And it goes without saying, the regulations also require the assessors to have the appropriate training, and only experts carry out complex assessments.

Finally, the individual, if he or she wishes, can carry out a self-assessment to propose their needs and requirements. The local authority will still be involved to help support the process, and to be satisfied that the person has identified all of their needs, but with this self-assessment option, more people can regain control.

If you have any questions, or wish to discuss care support for yourself or a member of family please do not hesitate to contact us.

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