Care options: knowing your rights, exercising your choice.
The majority of the population, both older and younger people, are able to lead healthy, active lives. However, for many people there comes a time when, either for themselves or for someone close to them, there is a critical need to know what is available in the way of care or living support and how it can be accessed – for short or long term needs.
In this situation people are often faced with very little choice. Often, they are told that a care home is the only option. A home may be an excellent choice for some people but, as this site will show, there are lots of other possibilities and options to think about.
A unique information resource
Finding appropriate care can be a complex and demanding task. You will need to know what rights you have, what range of services is available, how to choose and, not least, how to fund your choice. Many people find themselves overwhelmed at the enormity of the task – at what can be a very difficult time in their lives.
This unique site is designed to give you access to a whole range of essential information, facilities and services which will make your task and your choices easier and, we hope, the outcome more successful.
Expectations of health and care services
If you have had little direct past experience with either Social Services or the Health Service you may well be confused about who provides what, to those in need. Indeed, many people do find it surprising (and irritating) that they cannot find a single point of contact or source for all the services they need.
In England, Wales and Scotland there is a clear division between health services provision (the responsibility of the NHS) and social care services provision (the responsibility of local authorities’ social services departments). In many areas health authorities (Primary Care Trusts) and local authority Social Services departments are beginning to work more closely together – but this is not happening everywhere yet.
In Northern Ireland there are already Health and Social Care Boards, although you may still find that you have to deal with two departments.
A very general rule relating to services provided by the State is that health services are likely to be free, whereas there is likely to be a charge for other services which are regarded as ‘social care’.
Another source of confusion is the unequal distribution of services nationally. Because there is a large degree of local autonomy, services which are available in some areas will not be available in others. This applies to both health care and social care and, because boundaries have got to be drawn somewhere, the side of the street you live can sometimes determine whether or not you have access to a particular service! (This is sometimes called ‘the postcode lottery’.)
NB. We should also point out that, whilst most of the guidance information contained in this site is applicable to all parts of the United Kingdom, there will be regional variations in the legislature of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Scottish readers will find the Alzheimers Scotland web site to be extremely useful reference to that country’s particular welfare, benefits and legal technicalities. Go to www.alzscot.org.
Caredirections.co.uk has been created by people coming from different ends of the Care spectrum: a team of leading professionals highly experienced in the provision of services; together with people who have had to find their way through the maze of facilities available. Caredirections is an entirely independent entity, with no affiliation or association with any service provider.
Whilst this site will provide general ‘best explanation, advice and guidance’ Caredirections cannot be responsible for particular circumstances and conditions. We may help by pointing you in the direction of people or organisations which may be able to provide individual advice – but we would also strongly advise consultation with the relevant medical practitioners, social workers, financial advisors or legal representatives, as may be appropriate.
Although we can assist by providing you with advice on how to choose and what to look for, we have not inspected any facilities ourselves. We are not, therefore, in a position to recommend any particular service amongst those listed.