A quick guide for people using adult
social care services
Adult care and support should help you live your life the way you want to.
You should be treated as an individual, and your care and support should be based on what you can already do, what you want to achieve and the help you need.
People's experience in adult social care services remains the highest of priorities, and what matters most is supporting a life and not just providing a service.
Social care staff should always involve you and respect your right to make your own decisions.
They should give you any support you need to express your views and wishes. This might include:
Communication aids - for example, pictures, symbols, large print, Braille, hearing loops.
Support from an advocate and/or interpreter.
Extra time to understand the information.
Making the conditions right to help you communicate, like reducing background noise and providing good lighting..
Staff should ask if you would like your family, friends or carers to be involved and if so, how to involve them. This is your choice and you can decide not to.
If you need support to take part in your assessment, care and support plan or review, and there is no appropriate person available to do this, you should be offered an independent advocate. You should have enough time with your advocate to prepare beforehand and to check your understanding of what has happened afterwards.
What is an advocate?
An advocate can help you express your needs and wishes, and support you to weigh up and take decisions about different options.
They can help you find services, make sure the correct procedures are followed and challenge decisions.
Your needs assessment
An assessment is a conversation about your needs, how these affect your wellbeing and what you want to be able to do in your daily life.
It should also:
Promote your interests and independence.
Recognise the effects of loneliness.
Respect your dignity.
The person doing your assessment should make sure:
- It happens at a time and place that suits you.
- You know what the assessment is for.
- You are given information you can understand that tells you what will happen and when.
- You know you can bring someone with you, if you want to.
- They have the right information about you.
After the assessment they should write down what was agreed and give a copy to you and your carer, if you are happy with this.
During the conversation you should expect:
- To be fully involved.
- The needs of your whole family to be considered, including your carers.
- Any caring you do for other family members to be considered and a carer's assessment offered to you.
- Your personal history and life story to be heard.
- To talk about your strengths and what you want to achieve in your day-to-day life.
- Your housing to be taken into account, including where and who you want to live with.
Care and support plan
Your care and support plan should say how your needs will be met and what your personal budget is. Your plan should be:
- Flexible - in case your needs and wishes change.
- Clear about how family, friends or carers will be involved in your care and support.
- Clear how any needs you have linked to your gender, sexuality, disability, ethnicity or religion will be met.
- Reviewed regularly - including how and when this should happen.
- Clear about what to do if things change or there is a crisis.
What is a personal budget?
A personal budget is the amount of money your local council says you need for your care and support. You should be given information and advice about the different ways this money can be managed and used. For example, if you have a direct payment, you will receive money regularly that you can use to arrange your own support.
- People's experience in adult social care services: improving the experience of care and support for people using adult social care services– NICE guideline
- Your guide to care and support: getting a needs assessment– NHS Choices
- Carer's assessment– Carers UK
- Care and Support Jargon Buster (Plain English definitions of the most commonly used words and phrases in health, social care and housing)– Think Local, Act Personal (TLAP)
- About us - more information about Think Local, Act Personal (TLAP)
- Paying for care – Money Advice Service
- Care and Support Planning Guide- National Voices
This content has been co-produced by NICE and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE). It is based on NICE’s guideline on what to expect during assessment and care planning.