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Take control of your care

Posted on 19/11/2014

You might have heard a lot about personalisation and self-directed support, but not really know what that means and whether it applies to you.

Personalisation is about getting the right care and support for you as an individual with individual needs. Self-directed care means that you have the power to choose the services to supply that care and support.

Many local authorities will encourage, or at least offer, self-directed care as an option for you if you are eligible for social care support. If you are struggling to complete daily tasks and need more help to stay independent, then you should phone your local authority and ask them to give you an assessment. This goes through the areas of your life in which you need help and the kinds of support you might need. From here, your eligibility for funding can be determined. You can get help if you are over 18 and:

  • Have a learning disability

  • Have a physical disability

  • Have additional needs due to mental health issues

  • Are affected by old age

  • Have significant sight or hearing problems

At the assessment, mention that you would like to choose your own care and you can be talked through self-directed support options. This is usually fulfilled by way of a personal budget.

In order to receive self-directed care from a local authority, you will go through a number of stages. First, you will be assessed and this will give you a personal budget figure, which is the amount that you need to purchase the services that you require. You will also be told how much of this amount is to be paid by the local authority.

Next, you will work with your local authority representative to come up with a support plan, which outlines what the money will be spent on and what the outcomes of the support you are going to receive will be. This support plan needs to be agreed upon.

Once that is set up, you decide how you want the money paid – either directly to you in a separate bank account, to someone else (such as a family member) or the local authority can purchase the support for you. You can then organise and pay for the services yourself, through a family member or let the council do it for you.

Your support plan should be regularly reviewed to ensure that the care and support your are receiving is right for you and you are meeting your outcomes.

If you don't qualify for any local authority help or not enough funding after your assessment, you may need to top up your personal budget or pay for services entirely from your own pocket. You can still come up with a support plan though and ask the local authority for advice on local services that you can contact.

Once you have your personal budget, whether you are paying for it or the local authority is, then you can take a look at all of your care and support choices. Once of the best ways to spend the money and get exactly what you need is to hire your own paid carer or support worker.

Read our frequently asked questions on hiring a paid carer 

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