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eleafletWhat is an assessment?

To get help, you must have an assessment of your needs. This will look at what you are able to do and what help you need

What is an assessment?

Your local council must assess your community care (sometimes called social care) needs if you ask them or they become aware that you may need this care. The assessment aims to:

  • find out what sort of support you need, and
  • decide which services you are eligible for.

As part of the assessment you may be asked about:

  • the tasks you can and can't do
  • the tasks you find difficult some of the time
  • whether you have to follow a special diet, and
  • whether you have special needs (because of your religious or ethnic group, for example).

You (and anyone who cares for you) should be fully involved in the assessment, and you should get the chance to say what you feel you need. If you need an interpreter or advocate to help you, the council should provide one.

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Can anyone have an assessment?

You have a right to be assessed by your local council's social services department if:

  • you are disabled, frail, elderly or ill, or
  • your local council thinks you may need community care services.

If you care for someone regularly, you have a right to a 'carer's assessment'.

You have a right to these assessments no matter how much money you have.

If you are older, social services should complete your assessment within 28 days of you asking for it, although complicated cases often take longer.

You can complain if social services refuse to assess you and you think they should, or if they are taking a long time to complete your assessment.

If you are coming out of hospital, you must be assessed before you leave to decide what help you may need on leaving hospital.

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How is the assessment done?

Each local council has its own way of working out what help you may be able to get. It should explain how it works in its long-term care charter, 'Better Care, Higher Standards'. You should be able to get copies from the social services department. You may also find them in your GP's surgery, or local citizens advice bureau or library.

The assessment should take place in an environment that is convenient and comfortable for you. It will normally take place in your home, but it could be at a social services centre, a day centre or your GP's surgery.

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Who does the assessment?

The person assessing you will normally be from your local council's social services department, though you may also be assessed by someone from the NHS. Other relevant professionals may also be involved. For example, an occupational therapist may give advice on making your home easier for you to live in (such as by fitting stair or grab rails).

The local council may also ask their housing department to consider, for example, whether you need to move to sheltered housing.

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What you can do now:

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