This month sees significant changes in our care system, with the introduction of the first part of the Care Act 2014. The aim of the Care Act is to improve independence and well being to all those with a care need. Its core principles will ensure that people:
- Receive services that prevent care needs becoming more serious.
- Receive information and advice in order to make good decisions about care and support.
- Have a range of providers offering a choice of high quality appropriate services.
This month sees a change in the approach to entitlement. This promises to be much more person-led and people-centric,
focussing on specific needs. There will be a national eligibility framework, meaning there will be a consistent approach to assessment across the country thereby ending the postcode lottery. Everyone who has a need will be entitled to an assessment by the social work team of your local
authority. The individual will be assessed against the national criteria to see how their need can be supported.
The need might be able to be met through directing to an appropriate service or help group or needs might meet the level that the local authority will step in and organise care at home. Once the nature of the need is established, a financial assessment is made to see who pays for the care.
A huge and welcome change is the ability for carers to be able to request an assessment for their own needs. Their assessment may entitle them to some help with cleaning or shopping or it might enable them to have respite breaks from their caring responsibilities for example.
The Care Act also incorporates plans for personal budgets, direct payments and deferred payment arrangements, which will all give greater freedom to individuals as to how they receive and pay for care services. Even more significant changes come in next April, with the introduction of a financial care cap of £72,000 and changes to how much capital you can retain.