The first time you contact us for help we'll ask you some questions about your circumstances.
You may have contacted us for some support:
- to live independently
- because you're elderly, have a disability, mental health problem, sensory loss, illness, or a condition - such as autism
- because you're concerned about someone you care for
Whatever your reason for getting in touch, we'll offer you information and advice. For those in most need of support we'll arrange to carry out an assessment.
Anyone can ask for an assessment, either for themselves or for someone they know who may be having difficulties.
Having an assessment
An assessment is just a discussion with you to find out more about the kind of things you need support with. It usually takes place at your home and you can have a family member, friend or advocate with you, especially if they're helping to care for you.
At your assessment we'll ask you questions to see whether you're able to:
- get out of bed
- get washed and dressed
- go to the toilet unaided
- make and eat meals
- move around your home safely
- keep your home clean and safe
- use local services, like buses, and go to the shops
- get enough contact with other people
We'll also check whether you have any support in place already, and then work out if you qualify for some help from us to arrange your care.
After your assessment we'll write to you to tell you about the decision we've made and the reasons why.
Find out more by watching our short video about having an assessment.
How we work out if you qualify for support
We use Department of Health guidance to work out whether you qualify for help from us to arrange your care.
We take into consideration the following eligibility criteria:
- whether you have a disability, health need or impairment
- whether, as a result of a disability, health need or impairment, you're unable to manage some important aspects of your life without support
- whether this is having a significant impact on your physical, mental, emotional or social wellbeing
If you don't qualify for support we'll tell you why and give you information about other organisations that can help you.
Our decision is based on your needs and what they prevent you from achieving, such as staying safe or living well at home. We'll also look at the impact this has on your wellbeing.
If you qualify for help
If you're entitled to some care and support services at home we'll work out how much this will cost. There is a charge for adult social care; most people will have to pay something towards the cost of their services.
We'll do a financial assessment of your circumstances to calculate how much you can afford to pay towards the cost of your care. Read more about financial assessments or use our online contributions calculator below to work out how much you may need to pay.
Based on your financial circumstances you may need to pay all, some, or nothing towards the cost of your care. When we've worked this out, we'll tell you how much money's available to cover the cost of your care. This amount is called your 'personal budget' and it's made up of your contribution and ours towards your care.
If you don't qualify for help
If you don't qualify for help from us because you don't meet the national criteria for care, we'll still give you information and advice. We can also put you in touch with services in the community that may be able to help you. Some of these services are free; some you'll need to pay for.
Check our adult health and social care directory to see what support's available for you to arrange yourself.
Help for carers
We provide advice and support for people who are caring for a family member or friend.
If you're caring for someone, because they can't manage without some support, read our information about having a carer's assessment.
Out of hours service
If you need help urgently and our office is closed, call our out-of-hours service on (01226) 787789.
This service operates between 5pm and 8.45am Monday to Friday, and 24 hours on weekends and bank holidays.
Only use this service for emergency referrals for adult or children's social care that can't wait until the office is open.