Community care assessments

If you are finding it difficult to manage at home, you can have an assessment of your needs carried out by the social work department to see what help you may require.

What is a community care assessment?

A community care assessment is a review of your personal circumstances and needs, carried out by your council's social work department. Social work will look at how you cope with day-to-day living, and recommend help or equipment that might make life easier for you. For example, they might recommend:

  • getting some special equipment for your home, such as a stairlift

  • getting some help with household tasks, such as cooking and cleaning

  • moving to new accommodation where you can receive more help and support.

Who can get a community care assessment?

Anyone who needs support can get a community care assessment. You might

  • be disabled

  • have a learning disability

  • have a mental health problem

  • have a chronic illness

  • be dependant on drugs or alcohol

  • be elderly.

What if I have a carer?

If you have a carer, for example, a family member or friend who looks after you in your home, they can have their needs assessed too. The social work department will consider what can be done to support them and whether they need to have breaks from caring for you.

How do I get a community care assessment?

You can find contact details for your council's social work department on your council's website. You can also ask your GP about getting an assessment. If you are in hospital, you can ask the hospital social work team.

What happens at the assessment?

In order to carry out the assessment, someone from the social work, housing or health department will:

  • visit you and your family or carer (if appropriate) to talk about your needs and what kind of help you would like to get

  • find out what you can and cannot do for yourself

  • talk to your doctor, occupational therapist or other medical professionals, if you agree to this.

The social work department should keep in touch with you whilst the assessment is being carried out.

How long will it take to get an assessment?

There is no time limit for carrying out assessments, so depending on your situation, you may have to wait before you are seen. If you are in an emergency situation (for example, if you are severely disabled and do not have a carer) you should get an assessment straight away. If your situation gets worse while you're waiting, let social work know - they may move you up the waiting list.

Once the assessment has been carried out, you may have another wait before you get the services recommended by social work. If you have urgent needs, you should start receiving services immediately.

What happens next?

Once the social work department has assessed your situation, they will draw up a personal care plan for you. This will set out:

  • what kind of care or services you need

  • who will provide the services you need

  • when they will be provided.

You are entitled to a written copy of this assessment, so don't be afraid to ask for one if it is not offered to you.

Will I have to leave my home?

If you want to stay in your home rather than move into supported accommodation, social work will do their best to help you do so by:

  • recommending special equipment and adaptations that can be carried out to your home to make it easier for you to get around

  • arranging for you to be provided with support or care at home.

If it is not possible to adapt your home so that it is suitable for your needs or to provide you with the care you require at home, your housing options could include:

What if I'm not happy with the assessment?

If you are unhappy with the way the assessment has been carried out, or with the outcome of the assessment, there are several steps you can take:

  • First, try speaking to the social work department to sort things out.

  • If you're still not satisfied, your council should have an official complaints procedure you can use.

  • If this is unsuccessful, you could consider complaining to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

If want to make a complaint, get advice first. An adviser at Citizens Advice may be able to help or can put you in touch with a specialist adviser.

How do I pay for the services?

Help is available for paying for care and support charges. Once social work has decided on the equipment or services you need, they will either:

  • arrange to provide these for you, or

  • arrange for you to receive self-directed support (direct payments), so you can organise and pay for your own services.

Depending on your income and savings and on the charging policy of your council, you may have to pay for some or all of these services yourself.

If you need housing advice, contact us for free.

Last updated: 10 July 2018

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

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