Care Support & Care Advice

A guide to finding a care service to suit you or your loved one

Assessment Process

Many people wonder where to start when thinking about finding the right support, either in their own home or in a specialist care establishment. It’s important that you understand your own specific needs before choosing the care solution required – and although you may have a good idea of the sort of care you want, only a professional assessment will tell you what you actually need.

If you are entitled to financial help

If you think you’re entitled to care funding to help with paying for your care, first talk to your GP. They’ll refer you to your Local Authority, who will give you a ‘community care assessment’ and put together a ‘care plan’ outlining the care support they think you’ll need. You’ll need this plan if you want your Local Authority to contribute towards the cost of your care.

What’s involved in a community care assessment varies depending on your circumstances. In some cases a single visit – called a ‘contact assessment’ - is all that’s needed. In other cases this will be an initial assessment followed by further specialist assessments – for example if you need specialist medical or nursing care.

Types of Care available

Hourly Homecare

This type of care involves helping people in their own home and maintaining their independence. Care Support Workers or Personal Assistants(PA’s) can help in many different ways - for example, by providing a little extra assistance with day-to-day activities including helping with personal care, household tasks, or providing companionship. They can also provide care support in the home for people who have more specialised requirements including round-the-clock care. Or they can be there just when they are needed, providing help when you come out of hospital, visiting you when you need reassurance or have a health concern.

24-Hour Live-in Care

Reaching the decision that full time care is required can be difficult, especially when coupled with the possibility of having to sell the family home and the distress and upheaval that a move to an unfamiliar environment can bring.

Choosing how to handle the care of a loved one in their later years is a difficult decision; you want to do what’s best for your family. There is no right or wrong, every family situation is different. But to be able to make an informed choice you need to know your options and understand the difference between Sunshine Care – Live in Care and our Residential Care services. We wish you to know more about the situations for which Live-in Care is the best solution.

Live-in-care is an increasingly popular form of care and offers an excellent alternative to moving to a care home. Having a live-in carer provides many benefits including:

  • People can enjoy the independence they have always had.
  • People can keep up much of the daily routine they have been used to including choosing their meals and meal times and what they would like to watch on TV.
  • People may not have to part with a much loved pet or other treasured possessions.
  • The reassuring benefit of keeping the family home so that friends and family can visit       whenever they want.

Live in care provides personal and tailor made care, support and companionship, all of which is provided in the comfort of your own home.  Sunshine Care realises that engaging a care worker for a friend or relative can be extremely difficult. We vow to ease you through the assessment and funding process with our dedicated team of Care Assessors.

Sunshine Care – Live in Care is a full-time home care solution that allows you or your loved one to stay at home in familiar, relaxed surroundings. Supported by a fully trained Live-in Carer who works to an individually designed care plan, many people find this one-to-one personal home care service ideal.  See our website: Live in Care South West UK for further care advice.

Intermediate care in the home

When we have been ill, it can be much nicer to recuperate in our own home. Intermediate care is when care is provided for you at home so you can leave hospital a little sooner. In some cases our services may avoid the need to go hospital at all.

Residential or Nursing Care Homes

Before choosing a care home it is important to visit the home, meet the staff and residents and ask lots of questions.  While each care home has its own individual style and range of facilities, you need to choose a home that gives security, independence, and the very best expert care, including:

  • expert, personal care 24-hours a day
  • comfortable, homely accommodation
  • daily activities to stimulate body and mind
  • a freshly-prepared, nutritionally balanced menu
  • laundry and cleaning services

Respite Care

This can be provided either in a care home environment or supplied in your own home to allow your main Carer a break away.

Different care solutions

Paying for care

Paying for care is a subject which few people have any experience or knowledge of. Here we help you to understand the financial aspect of care.

 There are three main steps to getting financial help:

  1. understand any benefits you’re entitled to
  2. have your care needs assessed
  3. review your existing finances

Completing these three steps will allow your Local Authority to determine what care you need, and if you have any entitlements to help with the care fundhing.

Making sure you are getting the right benefits

Before asking your Local Authority for financial help towards paying for your care, make sure you are receiving any benefits you're entitled to. This is important because your financial assessment will assume you are getting all the benefits that you can.  Benefits that you get will change with your circumstances, so it is important to make sure everything is up-to-date.

Getting your Local Authority – and the NHS if necessary – to assess your needs

If you feel that your medical needs require it, you should talk to your GP. They’ll refer you to your Local Authority’s social services department who will assess your care needs and carry out a financial assessment to work how much financial assistance you’re entitled to towards your home care funding and accommodation.  

If you need nursing care, your Primary Care Trust will carry out an assessment to see if you qualify to have some, or all, of your nursing costs paid by the NHS. The NHS usually pays £108.70* per week in England, £72.00* per week in Scotland and £120.55* per week in Wales towards the cost of nursing care. Some people - for example, those needing ongoing, specialist treatment - will have the full cost of their care paid for by the NHS; this is called 'Continuing Health Care'.

[* Figures correct as of January 2011]

Getting your Local Authority to assess your finances 

Your Local Authority will look at your income (for example, a pension or benefits) to decide how much you can afford to pay towards your care fees.

They’ll also look at your capital (for example, property, savings or investments). The amount of capital you have can also affect how a Local Authority calculates what you are entitled to - or whether you’ll qualify for help at all. 

Click here to find out more about how capital, including your home, affects your financial assessment

After your income has been worked out, any income above £22.60* a week if you live in England or Scotland or £23.00* if you live in Wales is counted as money you can afford to pay towards the cost of your care.

If your weekly income is more than the total of your care home fees plus £22.60* a week if you live in England or Scotland or £23.00* if you live in Wales, you’ll have to pay the full cost of care yourself.

[* Figures correct as of May 2011]

Making the choice

In many ways, choosing a care service is like choosing any other service, therefore finding the right option for you is vital. Here we will give you some helpful tips to guide you in the right direction.

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