When you or your representative realised you needed care, you may have approached Community Care Team; alternatively, you may have been referred to us by the Social Services Department from which you initially sought help and which has accepted at least some financial responsibility.
In either case, information about you, which is passed to us, will be dealt with sensitively and in confidence. Before providing any services we will need to talk with you as the person who is going to be receiving the service, perhaps with your Carer/Representative if there is one, and with the social services department which contacted us. At the very outset we need to be sure that the services we provide are going to be suitable for you.
Assessing the need
If someone comes to us from a Social Services Department, the local authority care managers will have carried out an assessment of what you need before deciding that domiciliary care is going to meet your needs.
A summary of this information, usually called a needs assessment, will have been passed to Community Care Team. Once we are in receipt of this information we will then need to make an assessment ourselves. If you approach us direct, we will still need to make an initial assessment ourselves. To do this we will need to ask you for quite a lot of questions, and probably to seek information from your Carer/Representative, your doctor, and other specialists who know about your health and needs. Specially trained staff will carry out the assessment. We hope that you do not find the process by which we get to know your needs too intrusive. We want to build up a full picture and we will do this as quickly and tactfully as possible. Remember, all the information will be treated confidentially. Our aim is to make sure that we understand what you need and what your preferences are about services, so that we can respond in ways, which really suit you.
Assessing the Risks
If you have selected to have care provided in your own home, you will know of course that it carries some risk.
The Support Worker is unlikely to be with you all the time so there will not be the same level of support as you would receive in , for example, a residential home. On the other hand, you may retain your independence and many people find that, on balance, a measure of risk is worthwhile. Nether the less, we want to be sure that everybody concerned understands the risks and has thought about them responsibly and that the risks to be taken are not unreasonable or unnecessary. So with you, we carry out a risk assessment, weighing up the risks to be taken with some advantages, and if it seems appropriate we might make suggestions as to how unnecessary risks can be minimised.
Having assessed your needs and the risks in the situation, we then – again with help from you and your Carer/Representative – prepare a plan for the care we expect to deliver.
This is called the Support Plan because you as the Service User really are the central to it. It will specify the services we will provide, with details like timings of care worker visits and the special tasks to be performed.
Reassessing the Need and Reviewing the Care
Of course, over time your needs may change. You may need more or less care, the type pattern of service may have to be varied, and new risks may become apparent.
So again with your help, we will keep your needs under review and take decisions about the care accordingly. If at any time, there are aspects about the care which you would like to change, let us know.
All our services are tailored to each Service User’s individual needs and are available on a flexible basis for example half hour visits, hour visits, longer sit in services, waking watches, 365 days a year.
We encourage those in our care to do as much for themselves as possible. Our role is to assist them with those things they are unable to or find difficult to do for themselves.
There is always the likelihood that the Service User may come to rely on being cared for more than is necessary and, therefore, becomes more dependent than they need which reduces their independence unnecessarily.
This is important as we seek to promote and encourage independence as far as is reasonable to expect rather than unwittingly foster dependence.
From time to time we will have to accept varying degrees of risk for those in our care whilst exercising their independence and will note such circumstances in the Support Plan.
Adherence to the Support Plan is integral to promoting independence, which includes:
- What the Service User can do for themselves
- What the Service User can not do for themselves
- Where the Service User needs assistance
- How the Service User needs assistance
- Where encouragement is necessary
- How that encouragement should be given
Living a full life inevitably means having to make judgements about the risks we take or choose not to take. This is significant to us because a Service User may have difficulty from time to time, in making risk judgements in a way that is as informed as it needs to be for their well being.
Sometimes, there may need to be a balance between the independent rights of someone in our care and our responsibilities to and for them. Clearly, the more able the person at any given time, the safer it may be for them to exercise more fully their independence than someone less able in similar circumstances.
Since there is rarely a “right” or “wrong” we place considerable emphasis upon informed decision making through consultation with relevant parties. Risk taking being such a personal matter means every person and circumstances is unique and can change.
Therefore we have to gather relevant information as the basis for making informed and balanced judgements.