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Community Care Glossary
Carers for disabled children and adults can request a carers assessment. This should take into account the sustainability of the caring role as well as whether the carer would like to gain employment or education. It is best that the carers assessment take place at the same time that the assessment of the service user takes place.
Adaptations to the home
We are able to assist you to obtain a means tested Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) which is a grant paid toward building works which are necessary in order to meet the needs of a disabled person.
A DFG can be used to allow the disabled person access in and out the home, to a bedroom, family room, bathroom or kitchen. It can also be used to for other building purposes which are dependant on the disabled person’s needs.
In order that social services can determine how to help a person they need to conduct an assessment. The assessment should identify whether the person has any needs which are eligible to have services provided. If services are provided then the needs should be reassessed at least on an annual basis to ensure that the needs have not changed.
A local authority may carry out an assessment to determine the mental capacity of an individual to make a certain decision.
Also, if the local authority is considering changing the support they provide a assessment needs to be conducted to find out whether the change in support would still meet the person’s eligible needs.
If someone has to make a financial contribution to the care they receive then a financial assessment should be carried out to determine how much the individual can afford to pay.
Once the local authority has decided to provide services to meet an individual’s assessed eligible needs then a plan should be produced outlining which services are to be provided. The plan should outline who is to provide the support, the objectives of the support, a review date, details of the service to be provided, contact details of the care provider, the costings of the support to be provided and any need which is not to be met by the local authority.
Provision of services
Once a community care assessment has been completed the local authority should produce a care plan showing which services it is going to provide. It should then provide the services. Sometimes local authority’s delay in providing the services, we can help you to receive the services the local authority have not provided.
Circumstances can change overnight, when may require a rapid response. The usually process to obtain community care services from a local authority can be time consuming. If there is an emergency then local authority’s can provide services before they have completed a full assessment of need. We are experienced in obtaining urgent services or respite for people.
If a local authority provides community care services to an individual then the local authority may decide to charge for the services. If they have decided to charge then they should complete a financial assessment to see how much the individual can afford to pay. The individual (or their carer, if appropriate) should be informed of the outcome of the assessment.
The assessment should take into consideration any costs which are incurred as a result of the disability such as extra heating or laundry. The local authority should have a policy which dictates how they calculate the contribution a person is to make.
We are experienced in challenging the assessments.
NHS Continuing Healthcare
For those people who cannot afford to pay for their care in the community it is usually provided by a local authority. However, if the primary needs are health related it may be possible to have the care paid for by the NHS. When a local authority provides care they can make a financial assessment and charge a person as much as the local authority have assessed that they can afford to pay. However, if the NHS are funding the care then it is possible that an individual would not have to make a financial contribution to their care because services provided by the NHS are supposed to be free.
Reduced Support Package
On occasion, a local authority may decide to reduce someone’s support package. This can only be done if an assessment has taken place which shows that the services user needs have changed and that they no longer require the same level of support. The support package should not be reduced without the assessment. If there has not been a change in need then the support package should not be reduced.
Often a local authority will directly provide services which have been assessed as being required. For example, they will organise for a care agency to provide carers to come into your home to help you get washed and dressed.
However, direct payments can be paid instead. This is where the local authority gives you the money they would have spent for you to organise your own care. This may allow you to employ a friend or relative to help you. However you will also have other obligations as an employer, such as paying the national insurance contributions and holiday pay.
All local authority’s have a complaints procedure however the procedures differ between the authorities. Usually there will be an informal investigation and if you remain dissatisfied at the end of the process then we can usually request that the complaint is dealt with at the next stage which is usually completed by a manager who has not been involved in the case.
After the local authority’s complaints procedure has been fully utilised if you are still unhappy with the outcome of the complaint then we may be able to request the Local Government Ombudsman13 to investigate your complaint.
Most local authorities operate a 3 stage system. The first stage will be fairly informal and will usually have the complaint answered within 10 workings days.
If your complaint is regarding a ‘looked after’ child, (which is a child accommodated by the local authority) then there is a 3 stage process and stage 2 should consist of an investigation by an investigating officer and an independent person.
Local Government Ombudsman (LGO)
The LGO is an independent organisation which investigates complaints about local authorities. In order to access the LGO you will usually have to go through the local authority’s complaint procedure first.
The LGO will investigate whether the local authority has committed maladministration and if this has caused you an injustice. If they uphold your complaint they can make recommendations to the local authority on how to rectify the situation.
Usually the local authority will follow the LGO’s recommendations. If they do not follow the LGO are able to publish a report regarding the local authority.
Court of Protection
The Court of Protection is a specialist court dealing with issues regarding people who do not have the mental capacity to make decisions. The court can made decisions in relation to their welfare and finances. It can also appoint deputies who can then make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person. The community care team is able to assist in matters concerning the welfare of someone who is thought not able to make decisions regarding their care, where they live and the contact they have with their family.
The Private Client Team are able to assist in matters involving the financial side of the Court of Protection work such as powers of attorneys, deputyships and financial management.
Dependent on you means we may be able to offer you free initial advice under the Legal Help scheme. If your case becomes more complex we may be able to apply for public funding which will allow a barrister’s opinion to be obtained and representation at Court, however you may have to make a financial contribution. We will keep you fully informed of any costs that you may have to pay.
For more detail please visit the Legal Services Commission webpage.