Guidance on getting an Assessment of Needs

We often receive calls to our helpline from people looking for support to help them maintain their independence at home. Recently, we’ve noticed the high number of individuals who have been unsure where to start when it comes to getting that extra bit of help to make their lives easier.

It may be that you require a simple piece of equipment that will help you in your day-to-day activities. Perhaps a walking aid for moving around the house and getting out and about with. Perhaps the installation of a wet room or walk-in shower to make personal care easier for you. Or perhaps, you may require extra assistance from a support worker or carer to help you with these everyday activities.

We thought it might be useful to share some information on an ‘Assessment of Needs‘, how you can get one and what to expect during an assessment.

How can I get an Assessment of Needs?

If you, or somebody you know, are struggling to look after yourself and could benefit from extra support, then your first step is to contact your local council’s social care department to request an ‘assessment of needs’.

The assessment will look at how you cope with everyday activities and will suggest any adaptations, aids or support that might help you. Examples include:

  • Making an adaptation to your house. That might be replacing a bath with a level access shower, or making it easier to get in and out of your house by widening doors or installing a ramp.
  • Getting some support with household tasks or personal care.
  • Providing you with a long-term loan of a piece of equipment that might make maintaining your independence at home easier.

You can contact your local council’s social care department yourself or get someone else to do this on your behalf. When you contact your local social care team you will be asked a few questions to determine how urgent your needs are. It is possible to get support put in place before an assessment is arranged if your needs are urgent. The waiting time for an assessment will depend on your needs.

What happens at the assessment?

Often it will be either an Occupational Therapist (OT), social worker, district nurse or other health professional who will visit you in your home to discuss with you what your needs are. The person who is assessing you should be trained and where appropriate, an assessor with specialist knowledge should be involved.

  • The assessment is most commonly done face-to-face, in a private place such as your home. It can be done over the phone if you agree to it.
  • The assessor will ask you questions about your needs and what sort of support you would like. They will write this down in a form and ask you to sign it.
  • If you wish a family member, friend, unpaid carer, or an advocate can be present during the assessment.
  • If you get support from an unpaid carer then they can also be involved with the assessment. In addition, Carers are entitled to their own carer’s assessment that is separate from your own ‘assessment of needs’.

What happens after an assessment?

Following your assessment, you should be given a copy of the decision and a review date which is commonly after 6 months. You are entitled to a copy of your assessment, so if you are not given one then you can ask for one. If you disagree with the outcome there are steps that you can take to try and resolve this. Whether or not you are entitled to financial support will depend on your circumstances.

For further information on ‘An assessment of Needs’ contact us or check out our information guides on:

An Assessment of Needs

Disabled Home Adaptations

Disability Aids and Equipment

Helpline: 0300 323 9961
Text: 0778 620 0707

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