So what's it all about? Here is some general information on topics raised in the Care in the UK season. For the latest advice and announcements on the care system, consult the specialist organisations listed on the Contacts page.
Care homes There are two main types of care home:
1. Care homes without nursing care which are residential, which means people live in them either short or long term. They provide accommodation, meals and personal care (such as help with washing and eating).
2. Care homes with nursing care - which additionally provide registered nurses who can provide care for more complex health needs.
Care in your own home
Local councils send care workers into people’s homes either directly, or through agencies.
You can arrange home care for yourself - help preparing meals, bathing, dressing (also known as personal care) as well as support or a break for carers.
The care could just be anything from a few hours to round-the-clock care. Grants are available to make homes more comfortable and user-friendly.
Direct payment support schemes
These are cash payments from the council so that people can choose which care services they want.
You can use direct payments to hire help from an agency, or you can employ someone directly or you can use them to pay for equipment, to buy a service for your disabled relative or to take a short break. You will have to keep records to show what you've spent the money on. The one thing you cannot use a direct payment for is long-term residential care.
Am I eligible for direct payments? Yes – if you are eligible for care services from your local council.
Eligible groups include:
disabled adults (this includes people with a learning disability and people who use mental health services)
a carer who is assessed as eligible for services in her or his own right.
someone already receiving social care services.
There are some restrictions, which your council can explain to you.
How do I get direct payments?
Your council should tell you about direct payments when you have your care assessment and your care plan is being drawn up. If necessary, someone in your family or someone to speak on your behalf, can help you.
You will need to set up a separate bank account so the council can pay your direct payments into it.
Support and advice on direct payments
All councils should have a support scheme or service that can give you help and advice on direct payments. Many support schemes were set up by disabled people who use direct payments themselves. They will know the sorts of help you may need.
There may be other organisations in your area that can provide advice and support on this. The National Centre for Independent Living offer information about direct payments plus a list of direct payment contacts and direct payment support organisations for each council.
Adult placement schemes
Adult placement schemes (APS) are similar to fostering schemes but for adults rather than children.
These locally run schemes place between one to three adults with an adult placement carer. They ensure that these adults are able to enjoy an ordinary and independent life in the community and share in the family life of a carer.
Around 70% of adults placed into adult placement schemes have learning difficulties but some may have physical disabilities, mental health issues, or drug/alcohol problems.
Older people may also be placed with APS carers. For example, they may stay with a family for a short period when leaving hospital before returning home. All APS carers are approved and checked regularly by their local APS.
The schemes are varied and may provide a range of different services such as:
Long-term accommodation with care or support in the family home of an adult placement carer
Short term breaks for the family carer (the unpaid family member or friend who usually cares for the person using the AP services) based in or outside of the home of the adult placement carer. This is also known as sitting services.
Day care in the home of the adult placement carer
Befriending and support to someone living in the community
These are specialist care homes and day centres that cater specifically for particular ethnic groups, such as residential homes for Asian people or day centres for Afro-Caribbean people.
How do I get a care assessment? Step 1: Contact your council - look in your Phone Book, Yellow Pages or Thomson Directory or go to the DirectGov website for council contact details.
Step 2: Get a care assessment
This will involve talking to you and your partner, relatives or friends to find out exactly what care you need. It should take your personal wishes into account - for example, if you want to stay in your own home or prefer or need to be in a care home, the council should make every effort to make that happen.
You are entitled to a care needs assessment no matter what your ability is to pay for any care that you may get in future. You have a right to decide where y ou want to live and who you want to live with.
For the latest advice and announcements on the care system, consult the specialist organisations listed on the Contacts page.