What is a needs assessment?
A needs assessment (also called a community care assessment) is an opportunity for you to tell us about your circumstances and discuss your care needs.
The aim is to reach an agreement about what help can be provided by adults' and community services.
During a community care assessment, a social worker will ask how you are managing to take care of yourself and what help you feel you may need.
If necessary, staff such as health workers may also be involved in your assessment.
The discussion in a community care assessment may include:
- what care tasks can you do for yourself?
- what care tasks do you need help with?
- what care tasks can you not do at all?
- what help do you have at present?
- what is the best way to provide the help you need?
We only ask those questions which are necessary to decide what help you need.
Carers are entitled to a separate assessment of needs in their own right.
Am I involved in the assessment?
Yes - most definitely.
You play an essential part in a community care assessment.
It is very important that we know what your views and wishes are.
With your permission, we will take into account the views of your family, friends and other people who know your circumstances, such as your GP.
We are committed to meeting the needs of Lambeth's diverse communities.
We aim to provide services in a way that takes account of your views and which are appropriate to your cultural and ethnic background.
How long does it take to get an assessment?
We receive requests for assessments from a large number of people.
We give priority to those people in most urgent need.
- we will acknowledge your request for an assessment within 5 working days of receiving the request
- we will begin your assessment within 30 working days of receiving your request
- if it is likely that you will have to wait more than a further four weeks for the start of an assessment, a full explanation of the reasons for the delay will be given
The time taken to complete an assessment will vary depending on your situation and the complexity of the help you need.
In emergency situations, where someone is considered to be at great risk, assessment will begin no more than eight hours after referral, and the above time scales will not apply.
How are decisions made about which services I receive?
After we have assessed your needs, we will aim to be clear with you about what services we will arrange.
Resources are limited and we must ensure that arranging help and care for the most vulnerable and frail people in our community comes first.
This may mean that we cannot always provide all the services we would like or always meet your needs in the way you prefer.
We decide how best to provide services to the whole community by using eligibility criteria.
These are standards which determine whether your level of need is high, medium or low.
We give priority for care to those people whose needs are critical or substantial - those people who are most dependent.
- people who live alone and are vulnerable
- people who cannot manage without care from other people
- people being discharged from hospital who need support once they return home
Therefore, in deciding how best your needs can be met, we take into account:
- your views and the views of those who care for you
- the types of care services available where you live
- the costs of the various social care services
- eligibility criteria
Please remember - these are guidelines, not hard and fast rules.
Each person will always be considered as an individual.
Your specific needs and circumstances will always be taken into account.
What is a care plan?
Once it has been agreed that we will be arranging care for you, we will make out a list of services that we are going to arrange.
We will write these arrangements in a care plan.
The care plan will give details of:
- the services you will get
- the names of the organisations which will provide the services
- when and how often you will get the services
- the names of the members of staff responsible for making sure that you get the services
- the date when the services will be reviewed, to check whether your needs are being met or whether the services need to be changed
- details of care needs which cannot be met and the reasons why they cannot be met
- what to do if you are not happy with the service
We will give you a copy of the care plan and discuss it with you.
How do I arrange a needs assessment?
To arrange an assessment please contact the Lambeth service centre on 020 7926 5555, and they will pass you through to a referral and information officer who will be able to arrange it for you.
You can find more information about community care services in the leaflet entitled an introduction to community care services