Once you have identified that your relative’s care needs have changed, you will want them to get the right help and support as soon as possible.

On this page you will find information about:

1. The needs assessment
2. Minor changes
3. Major changes

The needs assessment

If your relative needs care, and hasn’t had a needs assessment from the local authority, they should get one as soon as possible. Local authorities have a duty to assess the needs of anyone that they think might be eligible for community care services.

The needs assessment is a free, professional assessment of the care and support that your relative requires.

Local authorities should carry out an annual care plan review. This helps to ensure that the care they provide is relevant and useful. However, you can ask for an earlier review if you feel that your relative’s needs have changed significantly.

Minor changes

If the changes are minor, then the solution might be straightforward. For example, if your relative is already receiving home care services, their carer might need to carry out a few extra tasks or adapt the way they do things. If your relative is already in a care home, and simply requires new medication or a different level of personal care, the care manager can arrange this quite easily.

Major changes

In other cases, updating your relative’s care might be trickier. For example, if they need someone to care for them at home for longer hours, or require a completely different type of care that involves them moving home, this will involve a lot more time, effort and consideration.

If the local authority already arranges home care services for your relative, and you think that their care needs have changed significantly, a review of their care plan is essential. If your relative is in a local authority residential home, for example, and you think that they need a nursing home, you should ask the council for a care needs review as soon as possible.

The local authorities will only provide care services that are in your relative’s care plan. For this reason, if changes to your relative’s needs are significant (and will require the local authority to spend more money), it is vital to get a review of their needs assessment so that any additional needs are included in their care plan.

More information

Page last reviewed: 31 December 2015
Next review due: 30 April 2017