Adult - Unified Assessment
Community care is support for people who need help to live their lives as independently as possible. People may need community care for many different reasons - perhaps to remain in their home with support, or to get to their day service. The support may be provided short term or on a more permanent basis. Community care can also help carers who look after someone at home.
Under the 1990 National Health Service and Community Care Act any adult aged 18 or over who is eligible for and requires services from the Local Authority has the RIGHT to a full assessment of their needs and the services provided should be individually tailored to meet those assessed needs. (For services for children see the approriate Section).
Assessment and care planning are very complex matters. An assessment will be a key factor in any decision to allocate funding and support for your relative so it is important to prepare for it and a number of specialist organisations can assist and advise you during this process. This guide contains only an overview.
Unified Assessment is the name given to the assessment process which involves health and social care professionals working together to assess and manage care and share information.
There are three main stages in the process:
Stage 1 Assessment
This is the process of collecting information from the individual, the carers and others about the individual's needs and wishes.
Stage 2 Making the Service Provision Decision
The service provision decision for social services makes clear which needs are eligible for support. The needs identified as a result of the assessment will be considered with the service user/carer and agreement sought on the most appropriate way of meeting them.
Stage 3 Care Planning
This is the process of arranging provision of services.
There is no charge for an assessment or for giving advice and information. A person may have to pay for community care services depending on how much service they get and how much money they have. If eligible, they will receive free nursing care in their home or in a care home, although there may have to be a contribution towards other aspects of care such as personal care, food and accommodation costs.
Person Centred Approaches to Assessments and Care Planning
The Service Principles and Unified Assessment Guidance state clearly that social services and health should always take a person centred approach to assessment and care planning. (It should be noted that a person centred approach is not the same as person centred planning.)
More information on the assessment process-see below and Assessment
There is a range of information leaflets available from your local council that explain the assessment process, eligibility and information sharing.
More information on available leaflets- see below and Information for Service Users
Appeals, complaints and comments
You can appeal against a decision if you disagree with it or if you think the processes have not been followed properly or because the quality of your service is poor.
More information on appeals -see below and Appeals
Direct Payments are cash payments to an individual from a local authority that are an alternative to directly arranged community care services. Rather than the local authority social services department providing or arranging the community care services it has assessed you as needing, you receive money to enable you to arrange your own services, allowing you more choice and control over the way your care and support needs are met.
More information on who is eligible and how to access this service- see below and Direct Payments