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In South Gloucestershire we aim to provide you with a wide range of care and support options to help meet your social care needs and support you to stay independent and active for as long as possible.

If you (or someone you know) have a health condition or disability that is making it difficult to manage everyday activities, you can ask the council to carry out an assessment of your needs to see if you are eligible for our help.

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Getting help and support in your community

‘Care and support’ is the general term used to describe a wide range of help that some adults need to live as well as possible with any long-term illness, condition or disability they may have.

Our ‘Find information for adults, children and families’ website contains a wide range information, advice and guidance to help meet your needs and stay independent and active. It provides details on local organisations, services and support as well as community groups, events and activities available in your area.

Assessing your eligible needs

To receive social care support from the council, your care and support needs have to be assessed. This will help us to understand how your health condition or disability affects your day to day life. It will also help to work out whether you are eligible for care and support from us.

When your needs are assessed this will be done using the same criteria that other councils in England use. This makes sure that everyone is treated fairly and equally, wherever they live, or in the event that they move between areas. These national eligibility criteria are set out in The Care Act 2014. You can read more about The Care Act 2014 in this article.

To be assessed as eligible for support, you need to show that:

  1. Your needs arise from (or are related to) a physical or mental impairment or illness, and
  2. The issues you face have a significant impact on your wellbeing, and
  3. You are unable to achieve two or more of the following activities:
  • eating and drinking
  • maintaining personal hygiene
  • managing toilet needs
  • being appropriately clothed
  • being able to make use of your home safely
  • maintaining a habitable home environment
  • developing or maintaining family or other personal relationships
  • accessing and engaging in work, training, education or volunteering
  • making use of necessary facilities or services in the local community including public transport and recreational facilities or services
  • carrying out caring responsibilities the adult has for a child

Request support

If you would like to request help for your care and support needs you can contact us to put this in place, visit the your care and support needs pages for further information.

You will need to complete an online request form where we will ask for some details about you, and your current needs and situation. Once you have submitted your request it will be reviewed and we will contact you to let you know the next step.

If you would like advice before starting your request you can discuss your needs with us by:

Alternatively, we may arrange for a member of our team to visit you to carry out a full assessment of your needs.

Your assessment will be completed by someone with experience and understanding, usually either a social worker, a social work assistant, or an occupational therapist. You will be asked some questions which will help  identify with you how best we can help.

You may wish to have someone act on your behalf or with you, for example a relative, a friend or someone who cares for you. If you need help communicating your views, we will make sure that you have the right support to enable you to communicate your views and wishes. This is called advocacy. You can find out more about the advocacy services available to you here.

For care arranged by the council you can use our care cost calculator to get an idea of what the costs could be. The calculator will give you an estimate of how much you may need to pay towards your care. It is a free, confidential and easy-to-use tool. Get an estimate of how much you may need to contribute towards care costs

Capacity to make decisions

You may decide that you do not want to have a needs assessment, for example because you do not feel that you need care and support, or you do not want any help from us. If you have the capacity to make this decision and are not at risk of abuse or neglect, we will not carry out the assessment. If at any time, you change your mind, you can ask for an assessment to be carried out.

If you do not have the mental capacity to make this decision, and if an assessment would be in your best interest, then we are required to carry out a needs assessment for you. We must also assess your needs if you are experiencing, or at risk of experiencing abuse or neglect. You can find out more about the rules around capacity in our article on the Mental Capacity Act.

If your needs are eligible

If your needs are assessed as eligible for a service, we will help you to choose the care and support that will meet those needs.

After your assessment you will receive a letter which will tell you whether we can offer support. This letter will include a brief description of your aims, needs and outcomes, and an approximate cost of the care if we can offer support.

Care and support plan

If it is agreed that you would benefit from some help, you will need a care and support plan. We can help you with this if you want. You can have help from the person who has completed your assessment, or they may be able to arrange for you to have help from an independent professional organisation, who may be able to suggest a variety of alternative ways to help you achieve your aims. You can, of course, ask a member of your family or a friend to help you with your care and support plan if you prefer.

Your care and support plan will tell us about your daily routine, about the things and people that are important to you, about your aims and what you would like to happen to help you achieve those aims.

A wide range of ideas may be suggested which could help you meet your aims. If there are any risk factors involved we will talk about these as well.

Once your care and support plan is complete and fully agreed, we may revise the costs involved. This amount is called your personal budget.

Care and support plans should be reviewed on a yearly basis, in case your care and support needs change.

If your needs are not eligible

If you are not eligible for social care because your needs to not meet the national criteria, we will offer you information and advice that will help you to make choices about alternative care and support that is available within your community. Some of this support may be free to access.

Meeting the cost of care and support

If you are assessed as eligible for care and support services, we will complete a financial assessment that will work out how much you will have to pay towards the services that you receive. You can also use our care cost calculator to get an idea of what the costs could be. The calculator will give you an estimate of how much you may need to pay towards your care. It is a confidential and easy-to-use tool.

Everyone can have free advice and information from the council, and all assessments are free. However, most adult care has to be paid for and you will be expected to contribute towards the cost of services you may receive, if this is possible. We may be able to help with these costs, but to do this we need to take your financial circumstances into account.

You do not have to tell us about your financial situation if you do not want to, but if this is the case, we will assume that you are able to afford to pay for your care yourself.

Our Find information for adults, children and families website has lots of information, advice and guidance on the cost of care and support and options for paying, whether you are in need of care and support now, or are planning for the future.

If you are unhappy

If you are unhappy about the service you have received or the decisions that have been made you have the right to complain or make a formal appeal to the council.

There is a statutory complaints procedure for adult social care. You can find out more about this and how to submit a complaint on our adult social care and public health complaints page.

The Care Act 2014 says councils must involve people in decisions about their care and support. An advocate can help you be heard, understand your choices and make your own decisions about your care needs. You can find out more about the advocacy services available to you here.

Further information

You can read more information about getting a social care needs assessment on the following websites:

If you look after a loved one, friend or neighbour and provide unpaid support and care to them, this makes you a carer. You can find out more about the help and support available to you, including how to get a carers assessment, on our support and advice for carers page.

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