How do I know what care I or my loved one need?

Posted on October 21, 2019

​ If you believe that you or your loved one have a need for care, you can request a needs assessment from your local health authority’s Adult Social Services department.

These assessments can also be requested by your GP, or prompted by another event such as a hospital visit. Each local authority has its own care assessment procedure and you can find more information on their website. You can often submit an enquiry via an online form as an alternative to calling in.

Usually a care specialist (often a social worker) from the local authority will visit the person’s home to carry out the assessment and discuss options. This will consider not just physical and mental needs, but also how the person wants to live their life. It can be very helpful for a relative or advocate to be present too, to ask questions and provide additional information the person being assessed may not think of.

​ Once an assessment has been completed, the assessor will write a report, which will include their recommendations, the most appropriate care services and other actions (such as home adaptations).

​ The local authority will decide if the person meets a set of eligibility criteria for community care services and if this threshold is met, what level of care assistance might be provided. While some of those criteria are the same across the country, others vary greatly between the different authorities. More information can be found on the relevant local health authority’s website.

​ Note that whether these services will be paid for by your local authority will depend on a second assessment, called a financial assessment. This will determine whether the required services will be paid for by the local authority or if the user does not meet the financial conditions to receive this assistance, it may be paid (in part or in full) by themselves.

​ For more information about needs and financial assessments and how to pay for your care, download our free Funding Care Guide.

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