Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to services

Some key information about changes to services is included on this page. For regular updates and the latest information, please check our coronavirus hub.

What should be in your plan

Your care and support plan should set out in detail how your needs will be met. It must include:

  • all the needs identified by your care needs assessment – including your physical, emotional, psychological and social needs, as well as any cultural or spiritual needs you may have
  • your eligible needs – these are the ones that qualify for support from the council.

Your plan must also include:

  • your ‘outcomes’ - what you want to achieve in your day-to-day life, for example being able to go out and about more, and how you’re going to achieve those goals
  • when friends and family can help you
  • free services that could help you, such as reablement after a hospital stay, aids and minor adaptations to your home
  • your personal budget
  • which services you could spend your personal budget on and what they will cost
  • ways to make sure your needs don’t get any worse, such as support from local organisations
  • whether any of your needs are being met by a direct payment, including how much it is and how often you get it.

The plan should match your needs and situation. For example, if you have needs which sometimes change, your plan should describe how the type and level of support may also need to change.

Who decides?

The council is responsible for making sure the care and support plan is developed but it’s your plan and it should reflect your wishes, preferences and aspirations. They must fully involve you in putting it together, with their support if necessary. This may include getting help from an independent advocate. The council must also involve carers and anyone else you wish to be involved – this could be your GP or another care professional for example.

If you lack mental capacity, the council must involve anyone who has an interest in your welfare, such as relatives or friends, or appoint an independent advocate if there is no one suitable to help you. Your plan must be developed in your best interests and you must still be involved as much as possible.

Care and support plans during coronavirus (COVID-19)

During the coronavirus emergency, your council might trigger temporary powers (known as easements) which lets them choose whether to provide a care and support plan. Usually, a plan is agreed with you before you receive care, but you may receive care services without a plan in place in the emergency period. Your council should still try to involve you as much as possible and document any care that you need. Please check our changes to services page for more information.

Information to help you

Your plan is personal to you and should be based on your care needs assessment.  The council also has a duty to give you general information about services in your area and how much they cost, which may be useful when developing your plan. Depending on your needs, this might include:

Agreeing your plan

The council should make every effort to ensure that you – and anyone else involved – agree with the final plan. If you’re not happy with it, you should raise any concerns with them. You may want to add something or suggest changes.

Once you’re happy with your plan, both you and your assessor should sign and date it. You and anyone else you request should be given a copy – ask if you don’t get one.

Putting your plan into action

The council might provide your support services directly or they may commission other organisations, such as private home care agencies or charities, to provide them. You could also receive money – called a direct payment – to arrange your own support services. 

Reviewing your needs

Social services should review your care and support plan within six to eight weeks of setting it up to make sure everything is working as it should be. After that they should review your plan at least once a year. They should tell you when this will happen so any relevant professionals can be involved, as well as your carer or an independent advocate if you have one.

You can ask for a review at any time if you think your care needs or financial situation have changed. Anyone else who is supporting you or who is interested in your welfare can also request a review.

Reviews during coronavirus (COVID-19)

If your council triggers easements during the emergency period, they may not have to carry out regular or requested reviews as usual. However they may still need to take appropriate steps if they know your needs have changed significantly. If they choose to carry out a review, you should still be involved in agreeing any changes to your care. Please see our changes to services page for more information.

Refusing services

Social services may suggest support that you don’t want. If this happens, you can discuss your concerns with them and ask for a review of your care needs assessment. If you have mental capacity, you have the right to refuse services but this might mean that you don’t have enough support, for example to live safely and comfortably at home.

If you’re receiving support at home, you might want to organise your own care through a direct payment, which can give you more control over the services you receive and when.

In addition to the care and support plan produced by your council, your care home or care agency should also develop a more detailed care plan with you about how your needs will be met on a day-to-day basis. There are no legal requirements for this second care plan and the process and practice varies. However, it should be tailored to your needs and treat you with dignity and respect. The Care Quality Commission has more information about what you should expect.

Next steps

You can get advice about independent living and getting the right support for you from Disability Rights disabilityrightsuk.org

To find home care services, contact the UK Home Care Association ukhca.co.uk

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