Think about what you need help with. Find out what’s available locally. This might include: If you’re in contact with health and social care professionals, they should be discussing your care needs with you. If you’re in hospital, this should happen before you leave.

Social care is practical and emotional support to enable you to live independently. It can include help with:

What if I need a carer?

Ask for a ‘care needs assessment’ from your local authority social services team.

They will assess your needs and decide if they can provide some support with:
  • managing nutrition
  • maintaining personal hygiene
  • managing toilet needs
  • being appropriately clothed
  • being able to use your home safely
  • maintaining a habitable home environment
  • maintaining family or other personal relationships
  • accessing work, training, education or volunteering
  • using local facilities including public transport and recreation
  • carrying out any caring responsibilities for a child
If your wellbeing in these areas is severely affected, you will then have what’s called an ‘eligible need’ and the council has a duty to help you.

If your local authority thinks that you don’t qualify for support because your care needs aren’t great enough, they must still give you advice about where else you can get help.

This might be information about local services, for example a community transport service. Or it might be a few hours per week with a support worker so you can meet friends or go shopping. The council can also give you a direct payment to arrange your own support (for example by employing a personal assistant).

If there are things that you need help with, you can decide how you’d like your needs to be met. There are usually three options:
  • If you’d prefer, the local authority can arrange your care themselves in the way they think works best. 
  • The council can give you a personal budget, which you use to select the services you need.
  • You can ask for a direct payment. This is when the local authority gives you an amount of money, and you spend it yourself on meeting your needs. For example, many people use this to employ their own personal assistant.
The local authority must give you enough information to help you sort out your care. The money must be enough to cover the extra things involved in making the arrangements yourself. This will include covering things that may go wrong or only happen occasionally.

Do I have to pay for carers?

Social care isn’t free. Your local authority will assess your finances to decide how much you have to contribute. Assessing your finances must include taking account of your ‘disability-related expenditure’. This is the extra cost of living because of your condition or impairment.

What is Continuing Healthcare?

NHS Continuing Healthcare is the name given to a package of care that is arranged and funded solely by the NHS for individuals who are not in hospital and have been assessed as having a "primary health need". It’s free but has strict eligibility criteria. It’s for people with a complex medical condition and substantial ongoing health needs.

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