Information on community care

Services to enable you to stay at home (‘Community care’)

It is generally thought that people should be helped to remain in their own homes for as long as possible if that is their wish. However the amount of community care services provided by local health authorities and social serviced differs in different areas.

The extent to which people are expected to pay for community care services also varies from place to place. It is common for charges to be made for some services, depending on the recipient’s income and savings. There can also be waiting lists for some services.

Services provided at home- i.e. under ‘community care’ are:

  • home helps
  • continence advice and special laundry services
  • meals at home [also called meals on wheels]
  • advice on aids to increase safety in the home and appropriate equipment
  • home care
  • different types of nursing care
  • physiotherapy to help with mobility
  • podiatry
  • speech and language therapy
  • day centres
  • respite care

What is ‘Social services’?

‘Social services’ is a local government department responsible for the non-medical welfare of people in need. Social services departments can arrange needs assessments for people with terminal illness and should provide services under community care provisions.

What is a ‘Community care assessment/ Care and support needs assessment?

A community care assessment (also known as a care and support needs assessment) is the process by which Social Services and health professionals assess the services that a person should be provided with under local community care provisions.

What is a ‘Carer’s assessment’?

When Social Services have arranged to make an assessment of your needs as a carer it means that you will be visited at home by a health or social care professional (or a care manager). You should think in advance of how being a carer has affected you and your life.

It may be helpful to make a list of the things in your life that have changed before the visit so that you are well prepared. You might think in advance about whether or not you can still go out and do chores; are you getting enough sleep at night or are you disturbed (if so how often and for how long); do you have any time to yourself; are you worried that you may have to give up work at some stage; whether your health been affected; how easy is it for you to get away and have a break?

The results of this assessment will be recorded in a care plan and you can ask to have your own copy of this. It is a written copy of your needs as a carer and will detail what support is necessary to help you continue to cope as a carer.

For more information on Carer’s Assessments see AGE UK’s website.

How can I get Home Care?

If you need practical care to help you continue to live at home the first place to start is social services who can tell you what you are eligible for under ‘community care’. This may result in a visit to your home by a health or social care professional or you may have your case referred to your primary health care team for further investigation.

Alternatively if you are willing to pay for some care, some social service departments keep a list of private carers you can contact yourself. The United Kingdom Home Care Association (UKHCA) can also give advice about private agencies that supply home care.

If you do qualify for home care through social services it will be arranged for part of a day and paid for on an hourly basis. Home care can be provided by social services, voluntary organisations and private agencies and will often be a mixture of all three.

What other services provide help with daily tasks?

Charities such as Age UK and Carers Trust can provide home help and domestic assistance services. The Carers Trust supports carers by giving them a break from their caring responsibilities through homecare services. Other voluntary groups may be able to help with shopping etc., your local CAB or local library should have lists. Some voluntary groups may also be able to help with chores such as shopping, fetching prescriptions. They may also have people willing to visit on a regular basis and just sit with you. If you need special equipment, such as a wheelchair or a commode, you should ask your district nurse or GP about what is available. Often voluntary organisations like the British Red Cross can lend equipment to people at little or no charge.

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