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Taking action when care needs change

If you think your loved one isn’t receiving suitable care for their needs, we explain the best action to take.
4 min read
In this article
Living at home without care services Living at home and receiving home care services Living in sheltered housing
Living in a residential home (personal care only) Living in a nursing home

Living at home without care services

If your loved one lives at home and appears to be struggling with personal care or getting out and about, they might benefit from domiciliary or home care services. These could help with washing, dressing, going to the toilet and preparing meals. Or perhaps they would benefit from home help services, which can assist with practical tasks such as cleaning, gardening and shopping.


Possible actions

  • Talk to your loved one.
  • Contact the local authority for a needs assessment and to see what help it can offer.
  • Consider home adaptations that might help them live independently in their own home.

Next steps

Home care near you
Use our directory to find local home care agencies anywhere across the UK.

Living at home and receiving home care services

If your loved one is already receiving home care services but needs additional support at home, you could speak to their current care provider to ask them to carry out a few extra tasks or adapt the way they do things. If bigger changes are needed, you might need to review or update their care plan or change their care provision altogether.


Possible actions

  • If care is council-funded, contact social services to request additional help.
  • If an additional carer is required or increased hours of help, their care plan may need to be reviewed and updated.
  • If care is self-funded, contact the care agency directly about getting more support. The council or agency should then produce a revised care plan.
  • If the need for care is substantial, home care services may no longer be the answer and it might be time to consider residential care.

Next steps

Living in sheltered housing

If your loved one lives in sheltered housing, it might be possible for them to get extra care where they currently live. If not, they may need to consider moving to a nursing home or care home to get the additional help and support they need.


Possible actions


Does their current sheltered housing scheme offer extra care or specific help for people with certain illnesses, such as dementia? Speak to the scheme provider to find out:

  • Could your loved one get outside domiciliary care services to come into their sheltered accommodation? Speak to the scheme provider and local authority to find out what’s possible.
  • Contact the local authority. If they haven’t had a needs assessment, they should get one. If their care needs have changed significantly, ask for a review.

If care needs have changed dramatically, it may be time to consider alternative accommodation, such as a care home.

Next steps

Care homes near you
Use our directory to find local residential and nursing care homes across the UK.

Living in a residential home (personal care only)

If you feel that your loved one’s care needs have changed, speak to the care home manager. If they simply require new medication or a different level of personal care, the care manager should be able to arrange this quite easily by liaising with their GP. They can speak to the care staff involved to ask for their feedback. They can then re-assess your friend or relative’s needs to establish whether the current care plan is still meeting their needs. If necessary, they can update the care plan to provide the extra support required.


If their needs have changed substantially and they now require nursing care, they may need to move to a different care home that offers nursing care in addition to personal care.


Possible actions

  • Speak to the care manager at the residential home.
  • If the residential care is funded (in full or part) by the council, contact the local authority for a review of their care needs. 
  • If care is privately funded, you may need to think about choosing a nursing home.

Next steps

Living in a nursing home

If you feel that your friend or relative’s care needs have changed, ask the care home manager to re-assess their needs to ensure that their care plan is still relevant. If necessary, they can update the care plan to provide the extra support required.


Possible actions

  • Speak to the care home manager regarding the care plan.
  • If you think your loved one has become eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare or NHS-Funded Care, contact their social worker or, if they are in a care home, discuss the position with the care home manager.

Next steps

Further reading

Why might care needs change?

We recommend ‘future proofing’ care plans and show how to deal with a gradual or sudden decline in mental or ...

Getting a needs assessment

A needs assessment is crucial to getting the care support you need. You have a right to this assessment and it's free ...

Last updated: 18 Sep 2018