Something that comes up time and again is how to get help with long term illness/disability. I want to try and answer the following questions. What to do after:
- You are taken ill that leads to long term limitations.
- You have an accident that leads to long term illness.
- You have a relative who is limited long term to their house.
- Gradually a condition you or a family member has deteriorates. Leaving you or them more limited long-term.
In all these situations where do you turn for help?
We tend to think that the medical profession are the answer to medical questions. In theory, they should direct you to the right place. In my experience, that doesn’t always happen. This blog is not perfect, I cannot accept responsibility for your care needs. This is only a rough pointer. But I hope it may help direct you to help. It only applies to England and is only for over 18-year-olds (adults)
Who you gonna call?
In England and that is all I know about. You contact your local Adult Social Services. Look online or in the directory, it may be listed as: ‘Child and Adult Services.’ If so, look for the section dealing with adults. There will be a hub or central number of some sort. Get through to the main number and say something like this:
I would like a care assessment for (name of person needing care)
If someone is providing care long term (i.e. family member) then request it for them too.
Explain basic details of why the assessment is needed. This phone call is not where you give every detail.
What happens next?
They should send out, at the very least, a social worker. I know, we all think of social workers as the people sent out in socially deprived areas or to kids being abused. But, they also have a role supporting adults needing care. They are your first point of contact in this situation.
Let me just make a quick aside here: If you have a medical emergency phone 999. If you have a medical need contact your GP. This blog is only talking about ongoing care needs after a medical professional has dealt with your acute needs.
Depending on your level of need. You should also get other people sent out. I would think at the least an OT (occupational therapist) nothing to do with work. They look at moving and handling. It is the OT who looks at things like specialist equipment to help you manage around the home. In some areas that includes profiling beds. They will be the one to check your home is safe and suitable. So, if you are living somewhere that is no longer suitable. The OT is the person who can assess that for you. Unfortunately moving somewhere more suitable is not so easy.
If your needs are mainly medical, highly complex and variable. Then the social worker should look at a CHC (continuing healthcare) assessment. You can request this if you feel your needs are complex, variable and mainly medical. The local authority is really set-up to deal with less complex health care needs. You can always seek advice or request an advocate if you think that you are not getting the correct level of help.
Different areas have varying approaches in the way they deal with district nurses and physiotherapists in the community. So I cannot give you any hard and fast answers on that. Ultimately it will depend on your needs. But your start point will still be adult social care.
A note about Wheelchairs
A specialist team of OT’s and other health professionals deal with wheelchairs and that normally needs a GP referral. In most areas you would need to have virtually no mobility to get an NHS wheelchair. But if you are struggling to mobilise, ask your GP about it.
After your various assessments, a care package (if needed and agreed) will be arranged. How costs on this work, are a whole other area. I suggest googling that specifically. Or seeking advice on that. But in essence, if you have no savings and are on benefits, you won’t pay for care. There is a sliding scale after that.
Care provision in the UK at the moment is limited. Too many people needing care and too few carers. Hopefully that will improve. Some of that is due to Covid and some post-Brexit.