What is a Care Plan? A Guide for Families and Carers

Posted on November 30, 2018
What is a Care Plan? A Guide for Families and Carers
3 min read

Are you in a situation where you know you or a loved one need care putting in place, but don’t know where to start? Find out more about the process of getting a care plan from your local council, so that you can understand exactly what is available to meet your care needs.

What is a care plan?

A care plan states what type of support is needed to meet your care needs. It is personal to you and it should take into consideration what’s important to you as well as your own preferences.

How do I get a care plan?

STEP 1 - To get a care plan, you first need to request an assessment from the social services at your local council. This could be either:

  • a needs assessment, if you need care for yourself. This assessment is free and is necessary to evaluate your needs and whether you qualify for local authority care. During your assessment, you’ll discuss: what issues you face on a daily basis, what difference it would make if these were tackled, and what services could support you better.

  • a carer’s assessment, if you need support caring for someone else. This is also free and can be requested at the same time as the needs assessment, in case you need both. During the assessment, you’ll be able to explain how caring affects your mental and physical health, as well as your relationships and work-life balance.

Both carer’s and needs assessments are followed by a financial assessment (or ‘means test’), which will state whether the council will help you to pay for your care. Read more about the financial assessment.

STEP 2 - A few weeks after your needs and/or carer’s assessment, you will receive a written care plan (also known in Wales as ‘care and support plan’).

STEP 3 - A written copy of the assessment will need to be signed by both you and the local authority.

What is included in my care plan?

A care plan is essential to help you and your family understand exactly what form of care you need, so that you can prepare and plan for the future.

It includes:

  • The type of support you need

  • The recommended solutions to help you tackle your needs. These depend on your own circumstances, and may, for example, consist of: at-home care from a professional carer, equipment or adaptations to make your home safer for you to live in, or a place in a care home.

  • Your personal budget (the amount the council will spend on your care each week)

  • What needs (if any) can be met by the local authority, and how

  • Who to contact if you have any question about your care

If you are a carer, your care plan will also include training opportunities, as well as information about support groups and respite care (to help you take a break).

When is my care plan reviewed?

Your care plan has to be reviewed regularly, as your needs will change over time, and you may have to make changes to the care you receive.

The first review happens within a few months of the start of your care and then regularly once a year.

You can request a review of your care plan anytime, should you see a sudden change in your situation, by calling the adult social services at your local council.

What if I’m not happy with my care plan?

If you wish to complain about your needs assessment or care plan, you should get in touch with the main contact that was assigned to you in your care plan.

Should you still have issues that cannot be resolved this way, you can contact the local government and social care ombudsman. This is an independent advice service which looks into complaints about councils, local public services and social care providers.


For more information about care for the elderly, download our Elderly Care Guide for free.

You can also download SuperCarers’ Funding Care Guide for useful advice on how to pay for your care.

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