Have you been advised to book a care needs assessment?
Perhaps you’re hoping to be discharged from hospital soon, and need to begin making arrangements to return home or transfer to a care home. Or, maybe you’ve noticed signs that a relative’s health is starting to deteriorate, and you want to plan how to best support that person’s needs.
A care needs assessment marks one of the first steps you should take on the road to securing the right type of care package. Sometimes called a health care needs assessment, it will also take into account your personal and social care needs.
What is a care needs assessment?
A care needs assessment is an evaluation of your care needs. It is provided free of charge by a social worker or occupational therapist, who will meet with you to gain an understanding of your needs and preferences related to care.
If there’s no urgent medical condition necessitating your assessment, be prepared to potentially wait a few weeks before receiving your a needs assessment. But if your situation is urgent in nature, the assessment may be fast-tracked to take place within days.
So, what does a care needs assessment entail? In addition to the physical environment, the assessment will take into account social, emotional, religious and cultural elements. Your carer, if you have one, will also be consulted. (See note 1.)
At its core, the assessment will review the full scope of your care needs and identifies ‘how these affect your wellbeing’, according to NHS Choices. (See note 2.)
The assessment will evaluate your day-to-day support requirements, and determine whether your needs can be supported within your own home, or whether a 24/7 care home environment is required.
The care needs assessment will explore whether preventative measures could be put in place to help you live a better quality of life. (See note 2.) Your assessor will consider the following types of preventative services, including:
- simple aids, such as devices to more easily open jars and tins
- handrails or other home adaptations
- community support information
The needs assessment will also be able to make recommendations related to care services. (See note 3.) The assessment can provide care service advice related to:
- care homes
- home care help for cleaning and shopping
- disability equipment and home adaptations
- child day care if either you or your child is disabled
- day centres to give you or your carer a respite break
Why should I book a care needs assessment?
One of the biggest reasons you should prioritise booking a care needs assessment is rather simple: if you don’t, you could miss out on local authority funding towards your care costs.
This is particularly important if you are applying for funding to pay for care at home and home help services in England, or if you are looking for help paying for care home fees in England. If you contract with a care provider but haven’t yet completed a care needs assessment, you may be denied local authority funding.
How do I book a care needs assessment?
To arrange a care needs assessment, you typically need to contact your local authority.
In England or Wales: You can book a care needs assessment in England or Wales using gov.uk. You can also use NHS Choices to book a care needs assessment in England by using NHS Choices. Your social care team will advise you further.
In Scotland: You can book a care needs assessment in Scotland by contacting your local authority. You’ll need to contact the social care team at your local council.
In Northern Ireland: You can book a care needs assessment in Northern Ireland via your Health and Social Care Trust.
Regardless of which part of the UK you’re based, the adult social services department of your local authority will conduct the assessment.
So, what next? Once you’ve booked a care needs assessment and discussed the results with a health practitioner, you’ll be in a good position to compare care homes and evaluate domiciliary care providers.
Last updated 13 June 2018