If you live in Somerset, are at least 18 years old and have a care need that significantly affects your wellbeing, for example, with your personal care, staying independent, keeping safe, staying physically and mentally well, or maintaining relationships that are important to you, we can ask someone from Social Care to talk to you, and the people who matter to you, to see what you would like to achieve and then explore different ways to help you.
This is called an assessment. It includes finding out:
What difficulties you have
What you think you need or would like to achieve
The best ways of achieving these things
Who helps you now
What you can do for yourself
What things you can’t manage now, but with some support may be able to do in the future
What things you can’t manage at all
If you are eligible for financial support from us
If you would like to start thinking about the things you want to say in your assessment, this document will guide you through the topics we will cover and you can use it to make notes in preparation.
As part of your assessment, with your permission, we may ask other professionals, such as an occupational therapist, physiotherapist or district nurse, to talk to you as well. This will give a full picture of your needs and will help you make the most informed choices. If you would like us to, we will also take into account the views of your family, carers and family doctor.
At the end of your assessment, if you meet the national eligibility criteria, we:
Can help you to write your care and support plan. This will list the things you want to achieve and who will help you achieve them.
Can provide information about organisations available locally that could help you. You can then make choices and arrange the support you need.
Can consider what equipment could help you. Some we may lend you or we can tell you how to find equipment that is available for you to buy (please see our information sheet B4: How to get good advice about equipment and adaptations)
May be able to provide some short-term help to enable you to regain your independence.
Will tell you approximately how much we think it will cost to meet any longer-term care and support needs. This is called an indicative budget.
If you are asking for us to help you pay for any longer-term care and support that would help you, we will be able to tell you if your level of care needs meet the national eligibility criteria. Please see our information about Help paying for care and support.
If your care needs are eligible, we will also need to talk to you about your finances. If you have more than £23,250 in savings and income we won’t be able to help you. If you have less than this we will usually be able to help you pay. Using national rules, we will work out what you can afford to pay; we will then make up the difference. Please see our financial assessment information.
Sometimes you may need help that we don’t provide, we will give you information about how you can arrange these services for yourself.
For things that we agree to support you with we will work out your personal budget, you can then choose how to spend your personal budget to achieve the things we’ve agreed in your support plan.
When you contact us we will prioritise how quickly someone gets in touch with you, depending on your circumstances.
Advocacy is when a person helps another person to be heard. An advocate can help you to tell other people what your needs or wishes are, or speak for you if you want them to. An advocate will support you to speak for yourself whenever possible.
If we feel, during your assessment, that you would benefit from an advocate we will arrange this.
What if I don’t agree with my assessment?
If you don’t agree with your assessment, please let us know by writing or talking to the person who carried it out. You should contact them within two weeks of the date of your assessment. You should tell them why you think the assessment is wrong and what you would like us to do. They will discuss it with a team manager who will then contact you to speak to you about it. After talking with you they may ask someone else to carry out a new assessment.
If you are still not satisfied after a discussion with a team manager, or if you do not agree with the result of the second assessment, you can ask for it to be reviewed by the Social Care Panel which meets every week. If you would like this to happen you should let us know within two weeks of when your second assessment, or the discussion with the manager, took place. The person who chairs the panel, a senior manager, will write to you within three working days after the panel meeting to explain its decision.
If you are not satisfied with the service we provide you can make a complaint at any time. Please see the Somerset County Council complaints procedure information sheet A11: ‘Compliments, Comments and Complaints in Adult Social Care’.
Care and support plan
Your care and support plan will list the things you want to achieve (often called 'outcomes'). It will show the things you will arrange yourself, or ask someone to do for you for each outcome. It will also list any money, services or equipment we have agreed to provide for you.
We will send you a copy and, with your permission, send one to the people or organisations helping you, so they understand the help you need and what you want to achieve.
We will review your care and support plan regularly. You can ask us to review it at any time.
What is a review?
Someone will contact you to arrange a convenient date to talk with you, and anyone who helps you, to check that what we agreed in your care and support plan is working. This is called a review.
The review must include your views and may also include the views of your family or carers. The people providing your care and support may also be included.
At the review we will agree any changes to the amount of money, support or equipment you need. We expect this to reduce as you regain your independence and have support from family and friends, but this may not be possible for everyone.