Information for the public


Advance decision

A legally binding document that states the treatments that a person (aged 18 or over) does not want to be given if they lose the capacity to make decisions about their treatment.

Advance statement

A general statement about a person's preferences for treatment and care. This should be used by healthcare professionals if the person loses the capacity to make decisions about their treatment and communicate their needs. Unlike advance decisions, advance statements are not legally binding.


Someone trained to help a person put their views across. An advocate can speak on a person's behalf if they find it difficult to communicate their needs, and can make sure the person receives the information and care they should.


Meeting with a health or social care professional to discuss your physical and mental health, family background and everyday life, to find out what the illness is, how severe it is and the most suitable treatments.


Being able to understand information and use it to make decisions about treatments.

Care plan

A plan of your treatment and care, which also includes what you can do to keep well and how to manage your symptoms.

Care record

A record (often in electronic form) kept by health and social care professionals about your treatment and care.


People who provide regular and substantial care for people with a health problem.

Carer's assessment

An assessment by social services of a carer's physical and mental health and their needs as a carer. Every person aged 16 years and older who cares for someone on a regular basis has the right to ask for a carer's assessment. There should be a written carer's plan, which is given to the carer.

Community care

Treatment, care and support provided in a place that is not a hospital ward, such as the person's home, a day clinic, or a GP's surgery.

Community care assessment

A formal assessment by social services of personal care needs.

Community mental health team

Psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, nurses, social workers and support workers, who may visit a person with a mental health problem in their home or provide treatment and care at a clinic.


A level of emotional distress that may make the person feel that they are unable to cope, and which sometimes requires an emergency response.

Crisis resolution and home treatment team

A service that provides intensive home-based treatment for people in crisis. The team can also provide care after a person has left hospital.


Identifying an illness or problem after having considered the person's symptoms.

Direct payment

Cash payments made directly to eligible people so they can control and purchase their own social care and support instead of the council providing the service.

Mental Health Act

A law that allows a person with a mental health problem to be treated against their will, or without their agreement, if they are judged to be a serious risk to themselves or others. This is sometimes called 'being sectioned'. A person treated under the Mental Health Act will receive care in hospital. They have a legal right to appeal to a mental health tribunal.

Mental health tribunal

An independent panel to review the cases of people detained under the Mental Health Act. People who appeal to a mental health tribunal are entitled to free legal representation.

Personal budget

Funding from social care that is allocated to eligible people who need services. They can choose whether to leave the council with the responsibility to commission the service or have a direct payment.

Psychological treatment

A treatment sometimes called a 'talking treatment' that involves meeting with a therapist to talk about feelings and thoughts and how these affect behaviour and wellbeing.

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