This area of our website is designed to bring you lots of useful information. Information is provided in drop down menus below. You can also use the search button located top right of your screen.
Digital Candle is a crowd-sourced advice platform for charities. They introduce people at charities who need digital assistance, to experts who can help.
A FREE one hour of digital guidance for charities is available. To receive your free hour you will need to book a call to tell them what your needs and they will assign a digital expert to help you.
What is a DBS Check?
A DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, once known as the CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check, is becoming more and more important when working within the Private Household industry. Majority of positions will request all candidates to have a valid DBS certificate before starting in the role. The Disclosure and Barring Service helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. There are 3 tiers of DBS Checks available:
The lowest level of disclosure which checks the Police National Computer for details of all current criminal convictions. Often used to support an immigration application, to vet prospective tenants or to volunteer.
Covers those working in other occupations to children, vulnerable adults and the elderly but where they need to be of ‘good character’ and not have a criminal record. This could include someone applying to be employed as an accountant, working in a pharmacy or legal practice, someone applying for a firearms license or a senior manager at a bank or financial services organisation. Organisations employing someone in this sort of position want to assure themselves that the people they are considering haven’t got a lengthy criminal record for dishonesty, drugs offences or violent crimes.
The highest level of disclosure required for those positions that can involve caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of children or vulnerable adults. An Enhanced CRB will show the following offences: sexual, violence, the supply of drugs and safeguarding.
What is GDPR?
GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulations, which is a new Europe-wide law that came into force on 25th May 2018 to replace the existing Data Protection Act. It sets out requirements for how people need to handle other people’s personal data.
What is personal data?
Personal Data is any information relating to a person, which could be used to identify them either directly e.g. name, address, date of birth, phone number, email address or indirectly e.g. social media posts etc. It can include data that is kept online as well as that kept manually.
Does it apply to me?
As an employer, you will be processing data about your employees, which means that GDPR will apply to you. Processing data means doing anything with it, including collecting, storing / holding, transferring it. What do I need to do to comply? If you process Personal Data, you must satisfy the grounds set out in the GDPR for doing so:
Consent - has the person provided express, specific consent to the processing? If so, then you are entitled to process that person’s personal data. Legitimate interest - do you have a legitimate interest for processing the person’s personal data? In other words, would the person be surprised or upset about the data processing?
Contract Performance - is processing necessary to perform a contract with the individual? For example, an employer needs to process an employee’s address and payment information to provide them with a salary for the work done. The data must be processed only to the extent necessary to fulfil the contract. How do I gain consent? The person must be asked for consent in clear and plain language. They need to be told why the data will be processed and by whom i.e. if you use a payroll or managed account provider. They must also be told that they have the right to revoke that consent at any time and it must be easy for them to do so. You must keep a record of the consent that includes how it was obtained, the purposes for which you are holding the data and descriptions of the data. If consent has been revoked, then you must keep a record of this as well.
Can people access their data?
Yes, people can ask to access their data. Unlike existing data protection laws, there is no charge for this. You must respond to an access request within 1 month of receiving it. You must ensure that the data you hold is accurate, up to date and deleted or corrected without delay if it is inaccurate. Is all personal data treated the same? No, there are items classed as “Special Categories of Data”. If you process Special Categories of Data, it must satisfy additional criteria. Special Categories of Data include religious and political views, sexual orientation, health and genetic data. Where can I get further information?
Further information is available from the Office of the Information Commissioner or ICO at https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/resources-and-support/getting-ready-for-the-gdpr-resources/
Please conatct Choices and Rights at Gdpr@choicesandrights.org.uk for further information
National Free Helplines
NHS Direct - 111
Samaritans - 116 123
Victim Support - 0808 168 9111
National Domestic Abuse Helpline - 0808 2000 247
Rape Crisis - 0808 802 9999
Refuge (Domestic Abuse Helpline) - 0808 2000 247
CALM (Campaign against living Miserably) For Man ages 15-35 - 0800 58 58 58
PAPYRUS (Young Suicide Prevention Society) - 0800 068 4141
Marie Curie Support Line - 0800 090 2309
The Silver Line (Info, Friendship & Advice to Older People ) - 0800 470 8090
Childline - (NSPCC for Children) - 0800 11 11
NSPCC for adults concerned about a child - 0808 800 5000
Young Minds (For Parents) - 0808 820 5544
The Mix (Help for Mental Issues for Under 25's) - 0808 808 4994
Cruse Bereavement Care - 0808 808 1677
NHS bereavement helpline on 0800 2600 400
Grief Encounter - 0808 802 0111
Blue Cross for Pets ( Pet Bereavement Support Service) 0800 096 66606
Alcoholics Anonymous - 0808 917 7650
National Gambling Helpline - 0808 8020 133
National Debt Line - 0808 808 4000
Christians Against Poverty (CAP)Debt Help Service during COVID-19 helpline) - 0800 328 0006.
Carers Trust South East Wales (emergency grants scheme for unpaid carers) -
British Red Cross (national support line ) 0808 196 3651.
Mental health and wellbeing support
A few places you might be able to find support if you need it
Find your local service using the Youth Access Service Directory:
*Note: Youth Access is a network of community organisations. They do not offer frontline support services themselves.
Phone: 08080 808 4994
Or use the 1-2-1 chat online
Support and advice for under 25’s
Mental health information and advice
Child line 24-hour helpline: 0800 1111
or 1-2-1 chat with a counsellor
A safe place for you to talk
Councillors available until 10pm every day.
Free, safe and anonymous online counselling for Young People
Barnardo’s: See, Hear, Respond
Online counselling and remote one-to-one support for children at risk during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Every day, 10am – 10pm
Charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and OCD
Helpline: 0808 802 5858
Or use the webchat
The campaign against living miserably for men aged 15-35
116 123 Free 24-hour helpline
Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair
mental health support for students at university.
Phone: 030 0123 3393
Mon – Fri, 9am – 6pm
Visit the Mind A-Z to find out more information about a range of mental health related topics.
Students Against Depression
Students Against Depression
Offers information and resources to help find a way forward.
Phone: 0845 390 6232
Mon – Fri, 9.30am – 5pm
Support for people with obsessive compulsive disorder
Phone: 0844 4775774
Mon – Fri, 9.30am – 5.30pm
Support for people experiencing anxiety
0845 767 8000
Mon Friday 6-11
Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair
4/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere.
Beat (eating disorders)
0345 634 7650 (under 25s Helpline)
Monday to Friday
Support for people with an eating disorder.
Charity helping people living with manic depression/bipolar disorder
— ROFAcampaign (@ROFAcampaign) May 16, 2020
Andrew Day answers questions which as part of the #NILSS project". Find out more, visit NILSS page on the ROFA website https://t.co/Vz02zrPqiv You can also join the #NILSS campaign by signing up here https://t.co/4B6ZYaTQkO pic.twitter.com/XE8hKrW40D
— National Independent Living Support Service (@NILSSindyliving) November 11, 2020
Victoria Oruwari Soprano: https://twitter.com/ROFAcampaign/status/1326098041523363840
Bob Williams-Findlay: https://twitter.com/ROFAcampaign/status/1323279988485926912
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong condition that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people. It also affects how a person makes sense of the world around them.
Autism is known as a spectrum condition both because of the range of difficulties that affect adults with autism and the way that these present in different people. This means that while some people can lead relatively independent lives, others will require significant support.
You can find out more about ASD on the NHS website (Opens in a new window)
The Learning disability partnership board is a multi agency forum that is operated by the council which people with or affected by learning disability can
- meet together
- share information
- promote the needs of people with a learning disability in their local area
You can contact the local partnership board by telephone on 01482 616 312
If you think an adult is being harmed, abused or neglected please tell us. You can go to our safeguarding Adults page to find out how to report it.
Visit the Hull City Council’s Safeguarding Adults page here (Opens in a new window)
If you're worried about your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak, many organisations have guidance that can help you. There is also support one-to-one if you are feeling stressed or anxious. You might be having more tough days, feeling worried or overwhelmed or you maybe you have things on your mind that you want to talk through.
A new online section of the Samaritans website helps those struggling with mental health related to COVID-19 emergency. It includes practical tips to help people impacted by social distancing, remote working, worries about friends and family etc.
Our frontline offers round-the-clock one-to-one support, by call or text, from trained volunteers, plus resources, tips and ideas to look after your mental health. Text FRONTLINE to 85258 for a text conversation or call 116 123 for a phone conversation – all in confidence, with a trained volunteer, at any time.
Mind has compiled some reliable information and tips to help you cope during this time. It includes practical advice on how to cope when you have to stay at home because of coronavirus, looking after your wellbeing, and where to find more help. It also includes further information about Coronavirus and your rights to social care, bereavement and grief, loneliness etc.
Every Mind Matters (NHS) has information about looking after your mental health, helping others and where to get urgent support and advice. This online resource covers a range of new resources, designed specifically to help manage mental wellbeing during coronavirus, include a tailored COVID-19 Mind Plan, COVID-19 specific content for individuals and their loved ones, and support for specific mental wellbeing issues such as anxiety, stress, low mood and trouble sleeping. The website signposts people to activities such as mindful breathing exercises, help reframing unhelpful thoughts, and muscle relaxation.
Samaritans have trained volunteers who can help with confidential listening and signposting to specific support you might find helpful. They have introduced a confidential emotional support line for social care staff:
☏ 0300 131 7000 available from 7:00am-11:00pm seven days a week.
Free 24-hour listening support is available so you can talk to them about anything that's troubling you, no matter how difficult.
☏ Call free on 116 123.
What does End of Life mean?
People are considered to be approaching end of life when they have been informed by their doctor that they are likely to die within the next 12 months, although, it is not always possible to predict.
If you are approaching end of life, or caring for someone who is, and you want to find out more about the care and support available to you, contact your GP, who is your main point of contact regarding all of your health needs.
It is your right to be able to access excellent standards of care and support at end of life and you should be entitled to choose where you want the care and support you need to be provided. This is called a ‘Person Centred Approach’ and means that your support is tailored to you.
Find out more about End of life person centred approach here (Opens in a new window)
Find out more about what to expect when someone important to you is dying (Opens in a new window)
Caring for Someone at End of life
If you are caring for someone with a terminal illness that takes 35 hours or more, then you may be eligible for Carers Allowance
You can apply online here (Opens in a new window)
You may also want to find out what other support there is for carers which you can access using the link provided
Dying Matters is a coalition of 32,000 members across England and Wales which aims to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life.
They provide access to information and resources to help people be more open about their own experience of end of life. They offer an opportunity to connect with an on-line community of people and offer a means to find help near you.
Visit the Dying Matters website to access their resources (Opens in a new window)
Hearing loss may be caused by a number of factors. This can include -
- old age
- exposure to noise
- birth complications
- trauma to the ear
- certain medications or toxins
Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent and can affect all age groups.
Visit the NHS Choices – hearing loss to find out more (Opens in a new window)
Hearing loss may be gradual such as people who are in later life. Common symptoms of people with gradual hearing loss notice things such as difficulty hearing the TV or a conversation in a noisy environment.
Viral infections of the inner ear can also cause hearing loss to occur all of a sudden.
Another common effect of hearing loss is continual ringing in the ear which is caused by conditions such as tinnitus.
If you feel that your hearing is getting worse then you need to make an appointment with your GP.
The Hull and East Yorkshire Centre for the Deaf provides a social place for people who are deaf or hearing impaired.
The majority of their users communicate using British Sign Language (BSL). The centre is located on Spring Bank in Hull and offers –
- licenced bar
- senior citizens
- big bingo night and raffle
- visual choir
- chapel (they hold a church service on the last Tuesday of the month)
- free internet computer
- TV room and meeting room
- function room hire (membership only)
- events (seasonal parties around the colander year)
- charity fund raising events
They also offer club nights that run between 7 and 11pm
In addition, to their social activities, they also offer support with things such as –
- advice and information
- completing forms such as PIP and Jobseekers allowance
- arranging appointments for people to access support
- making sure organisations have arrangements
Visit the Hull and East Yorkshire centre for the deaf website for more information (Opens in a new window)
Alternatively, you can contact them via –
- email - firstname.lastname@example.org (Opens in a new window)
- telephone - 01482 223 911
- textphone - 01482 223 911
in Person –
63 Spring Bank
Office hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm
What is a Visual impairment?
People with visual impairments are sometimes known as blind or partially sighted. The more modern term is sight impaired or severely sight impaired. Sight loss can be caused by a variety of conditions such as –
- macular degeneration
- visual cortex disorder
- genetic defects or an injury
Many people who live with sight impairment experience different levels of sight loss. Some people are only able to determine lights or shapes, while others may experience blurred vision. Another effect of sight impairment is having no sight in the centre of the eye or no side vision.
Some people may have some useful sight but may find it difficult at night. It is uncommon for someone to have no vision at all even if the person is registered blind.
Eye strain and headaches are also a common side effect of living with sight impairment.
Find out more about blindness and sight loss here (Opens in a new window)
First Steps to Getting Sight Loss
Getting an eye test
It is estimated that 50 per cent of sight loss could be avoided. One simple thing you can do is get an eye test. In some cases your sight could be improved simply by different glasses or cataract surgery.
If you feel you are having problems with your sight you should go to your GP or optician as soon as possible.You may be referred to an eye clinic or ophthalmologist (a specialist in eyes). They examine your eyes and determine if there are any possible treatments for your condition.
Registering as disabled
If you have sight loss, you may be able to register as disabled. You will need to see an ophthalmologist for an assessment and they will then issue you with a Certificate of Vision Impairment.
More information on Registering as disabled (Opens in a new window)
Living with sight impairment can make life more complex, however, you can get support from various national and local organisations. You could also get equipment to meet your visual needs.
The Hull Sensory team can arrange for you to have a disability assessment.
Your assessment helps the Sensory team understand how they can help you live safely and independently in your own home.
This can include advice and support on –
- equipment and adaptations
- alternative techniques to carrying out daily living tasks
- registering as disabled
- long cane and orientation
- mobility training for people with sight impairments
You can contact the Sensory support team via –
- email - email@example.com (Opens in a new window)
- telephone - 01482 318 700
- text service - 07810 503 530
- type talk service / Mincom - 18001 01482 318 700
Formally known as Herib, Sight Support has been supporting local people with sight loss since 1864.
For over 150 years, Sight Support has been helping people across Hull and East Yorkshire with visual impairments to live full, active and happy lives.
Visit the Sight Support website to find out more (Opens in a new window)
Alternatively, you can contact them via -
- email - firstname.lastname@example.org (Opens in a new window)
The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RINIB) is the largest charity for people with sight loss. You can find lots of useful information around sight loss, along with practical support.
Visit the RNIB website (Opens in a new window)
Alternatively – you can contact them via –
- email - email@example.com (Opens in a new window)
- telephone helpline - 0303 123 9999
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association provides guide dogs, mobility and other rehabilitation services to meet the needs of blind and sight impaired people.
Visit the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association website to find out more (Opens in a new window)
Alternatively you can contact them via –
- email - firstname.lastname@example.org (Opens in a new window)
- telephone - 01189 835 555
The Macular Disease Society is a charity for people with macular disease, offering support, advice and information.
Visit the Macular Disease Society website (Opens in a new window)
Alternatively you can contact their Hull group by telephone on 01482 656 714 or 01430 422 905
The Cinnamon Trust is a National charity that can look after your pet while you are in hospital if you are 60 or over or are in the later stages of a terminal illness (Palliative Care).
This service is free but is limited as the service is dependent on the availability and location of volunteers.
Access the Cinnamon Trust here (Opens in a new window)
Alternatively you can contact them on 01736 757 900.
The Royal Mail’s Keepsafe service will hold your mail for up to two months and deliver it to your home when you are out of hospital.
For more information on charges contact Royal Mail on 03457 777 888 or speak to your local Post Office.
Access the Royal Mail keepsafe service here (Opens in a new window)
An advocate is a person who supports and helps you to explain and say what you want if you find it difficult to do by yourself.
Advocates can help you -
- access information and services
- be involved in decisions about your life
- explore choices and options
- defend and promote your rights and responsibilities
- speak out about issues that matter to you
Aside from people who know you well, there are also professional advocacy services, such as
- Professional Advocacy service
- Money management advocates like the Citizens Advice Bureau
- Healthwatch Hull who can advocate your experiences and concerns relating to the health and social care services you receive
You can also search for advocacy in our community directory by selecting the 'advice and money' filter and then 'advocacy' from the drop down menu.
The Professional Advocacy and Support Services (PASS) is a user led ‘Not for Profit’ company operating as a social enterprise working across Hull and East Riding. It was established by four trustees with first-hand experience of the difficulties and discrimination associated with disability and/or mental health issues.
PASS offers independent support to adults with a disability as well as family carers.
Visit the PASS website for more information (Opens in a new window)
Alternatively you can contact them via -
- email - email@example.com (Opens in a new window)
- telephone: 01482 845 276
In Person -
PASS (Professional Advocacy Support Service)
East Riding of Yorkshire
Cloverleaf Advocacy is an independent charity established in 1995, based in the North of England. Our services support over 8,000 people each year.
We provide high quality advocacy services to people with mental health needs, learning disabilities, older people, people with physical and sensory impairment, and carers. This includes people in hospitals, secure mental health units and residential homes
Alternatively you can contact them via -
Submit an enquiry form here (Opens in a new window)
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Opens in a new window)
- telephone: 01924 454 875
What is the Care Act?
The Care Act is a new law about care and support for adults in England. Before the Care Act, there were many different laws and pieces of government guidance about how care and support should be delivered. These could be confusing and made it difficult for people to find out what they are entitled to. The Care Act brings everything together under one law.
The Care Act places new duties and responsibilities on councils for care and support for adults in their area.
Some key aims of the Care Act are to make sure that –
- everyone can get the information, advice and guidance they need to make good decisions about care and support
- people are supported to keep as well and independent as possible for as long as possible
- people can get the services they need to help prevent or delay their care needs from becoming more serious
- people can achieve the needs and goals that matter to them, and their wellbeing is the driving force behind their care and support
- there is a range of good quality care providers to choose from.
- the same eligibility threshold for receiving funded social care is applied across the whole country
different agencies co-operate and work together to improve people's wellbeing.
Department of Health has produced a series of fact sheets to explain different parts of the act. There is also an Easy read booklet about the act.
Access the Care Act fact sheets here (Opens in a new window)
Download Easy read booklet here (PDF, 3mb) (Opens in a new window)
Citizens Advice Hull & East Riding (CAB) provides free, confidential, impartial and independent advice and information on a wide range of subjects.
Citizens Advice Bureau can help you to manage your debts; they can also assist with bankruptcy and Debt Relief Orders. (DRO’s)
Citizens Advice Bureau can improve your debt situation by giving you the right advice and information to make informed choices including –
- help to deal with your debt problems
- how to avoid losing your home
- how to get your finances back into shape
They can also provide help and guidance with filling out forms for some benefit entitlements.
Visit the Citizens Advice Hull & East Riding website (Opens in a new window)
Alternately you can contact them via -
- telephone 01482 226 859 for specialist debt advice
- telephone - 03444 111 444 for all other calls
- email - email@example.com (Opens in a new window)
In Person -
The Wilson Centre
Alfred Gelder Street
From Smile Foundation:
We hope this email finds you well and safe. As our region tackles yet another Covid-19 lockdown and its impact, we recognise how important it is to continue ensuring the mental and physical wellbeing of all.
Here we would like to present our ‘Dost’ project, a befriending and signposting service for our BAME communities in the East Riding, Hull, North Lincolnshire, and North East Lincolnshire regions. As the name ‘dost’ – Hindi for friend – suggests, we are here to provide friendly support and signposting to our clinical and non-clinical pathways. Our aim is to reduce health and wellbeing inequalities for our communities that have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
We are supported by our partner NHS Trusts and are therefore able to signpost beneficiaries to the various clinical services. Some areas of special consideration are:-
- Mental Health
- Emotional Wellbeing
- Perinatal Mental Health Services
- Suicide Prevention
In your positions as leaders of communities, groups, and service providers, we would encourage you to share our BAME helpline number 01482 215929 (option 2) with your members and organisations. Simply dial the number and select the correct option, and myself or an appointed Smile Foundation volunteer will be happy to offer information and signposting to our clinical and non-clinical pathways.
Phone lines are open Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm
Note: If any of your community members require translation or interpretation services, please get in touch with us and we will be happy to discuss the necessary arrangements.
We hope you can share this information widely with your community members. If you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to drop me an email or ring our helpline on 01482 215929 (option 2). Please note: ‘Dost’ is not an emergency service. In an emergency always ring 999. For more information on the Urgent and Emergency Care Services, please click here.
Independent Provider of Special Education Advice (known as IPSEA) is a registered charity (number 327691) operating in England. IPSEA offers free and independent legally based to help get the right education for children and young people with all kinds of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). We also provide on the SEND legal framework to parents and carers, professionals and other organisations.
Why families need IPSEA
By law, children with SEND are entitled to educational support that meets their individual needs. Since IPSEA was formed in 1983, we have helped to improve educational support for thousands of children with all kinds of SEND. We do this by providing free and independent legally-based information, advice and casework support.
A community care assessment is a review of your personal circumstances and needs, carried out by your council's social work department. Social work will look at how you cope with day-to-day living, and recommend help or equipment that might make life easier for you. For example, they might recommend:
getting some special equipment for your home, such as a stairlift
getting some help with household tasks, such as cooking and cleaning
moving to new accommodation where you can receive more help and support.
Anyone who needs support can get a community care assessment. You might
have a learning disability
have a mental health problem
have a chronic illness
be dependant on drugs or alcohol
Getting a needs assessment
You'll need to have this assessment before the council can recommend a service such as:
- equipment like a walking frame or personal alarm
- changes to your home such as a walk-in shower
- practical help from a paid carer
- day care for your child if either you or they are disabled
- access to day centres and lunch clubs
- moving to a care home
The needs assessment is free and anyone can ask for one.
How to get a needs assessment
Contact social services at your local council and ask for a needs assessment. You can call them or do it online.
What happens in the assessment
Someone from the council such as a social worker or occupational therapist will ask you how you're managing everyday tasks like washing, dressing and cooking.
They might ask you to describe how well you do certain things like making a cup of tea and getting out of a chair.
If it seems you may need some alterations in and around your home such as grab rails in the bathroom, you might also be referred for a separate assessment of your home.
The needs assessment can happen:
- over the phone
Assessments usually last at least an hour.
How to prepare for your assessment
This is your chance to have your say.
Give as much detail as you can about all the everyday tasks you struggle with, even the little ones like turning taps on and off. Leaving out things might reduce the care recommended for you.
Which? Later Life Care has a checklist of typical questions you might be asked in the assessment regardless of your age.
Have someone with you
Have a friend or relative with you, if possible. It will help if you’re not confident explaining your situation. They can also take notes for you.
If you can't have a friend or relative with you, you could use an advocate. Advocates are people who speak up on your behalf. They can help you fill in forms and sit with you in meetings and assessments. They're often free. Find an advocate in your area.
If you want to talk to someone over the phone about needs assessments, call:
- your local council’s social services department
- Age UK's free helpline on 0800 055 6112
- Independent Age's free helpline on 0800 319 6789
- The Family Rights Group's free helpline on 0808 801 0366
Getting the results
You'll get the results of the assessment, usually within a week.
It identifies what kind of care and support would help you, such as a paid carer or meals delivered to your home (meals on wheels).
Paying for care
You'll generally be expected to pay toward the cost of social care.
If the assessment identifies you need help, you will have a financial assessment (means test) to see if the council will pay towards it. This will be arranged for you.
What if I'm told I don't need care?
If the needs assessment finds that you don't qualify for care and support, the council should still give you free advice about where you can get help in your community. Ask if this doesn't happen.
How to complain about a needs assessment
If you disagree with the results of your needs assessment or how it was done, you have a right to complain.
First complain to your local council. Your council should have a formal complaints procedure on its website. It should also tell you about it at your assessment.
If you're not happy with the way the council handles your complaint, you can take it to the local government and social care ombudsman. An ombudsman is an independent person who's been appointed to look into complaints about organisations.
f you find it difficult to understand your care and support or find it hard speak up, there are people who can act as a spokesperson for you.
They make sure you're heard and are called advocates.
For example, they can help you:
- understand the care and support process
- talk about how you feel about your care
- make decisions
- challenge decisions about your care and support if you do not agree with them
- stand up for your rights
They can write letters for you and attend meetings with you.
Advocates will support you during:
- care and support planning
- safeguarding and reviews
Advocates are independent of social services and the NHS.
How your council can help
Your council has to provide an advocate if you do not have family or friends to help and you have difficulty:
- understanding and remembering information
- communicating your views
- understanding the pros and cons of different options
A paid carer cannot act as an advocate for you.
How to get an advocate
Contact social services at your local council and ask about advocacy services. Find your local social services.
POhWER is a charity that helps people to be involved in decisions being made about their care. Call POhWER's support centre on 0300 456 2370 for advice.
The Advocacy People gives advocacy support. Call 0330 440 9000 for advice or text PEOPLE to 80800 and someone will get back to you.
Contact the charity Age UK to see if they have advocates in your area. Contact Age UK online or call 0800 055 6112.
Care and support plans are for anyone who needs care or cares for someone else.
A care and support plan says:
- the type of support you need
- how this support will be given
- how much money your council will spend on your care
This means you can:
- stay as independent as possible
- have as much control over your life as possible
- do the things you enjoy
- know what type of care is right for you
- understand your health condition and care needs better
It also helps your family and friends understand how they can help you.
How to get a care and support plan
First, you’ll need to contact social services at your local council.
They’ll speak to you about the problems you’re having. This is called an assessment.
Afterwards, the support you need is written up as a care and support plan. You should get a copy of this within a few weeks.
There are 2 types of assessment. One is for people who need care and the other is for people who care for someone else.
Read about how to:
- get a needs assessment – if you need care yourself
- get a carers assessment – if you need help caring for someone else
What care and support plans include
Care and support plans include:
- what's important to you
- what you can do yourself
- what equipment or care you need
- what your friends and family think
- who to contact if you have questions about your care
- your personal budget (this is the weekly amount the council will spend on your care)
- what care you can get from your local council
- how and when care will happen
If you're a carer, it will also include:
- respite care options so you can take a break
- details of local support groups
- training, such as how to lift safely
Reviewing your care and support plan
Your care and support plan will be reviewed regularly to see what's working and not working, and if it's still the best support for you.
This usually happens within the first few months of support starting and then once every year.
How to complain about an assessment or care plan
If you're not happy with how your assessment or care plan was done, you have a right to complain.
First complain to your local council. It should have a formal complaints procedure on its website.
If you're not happy with the way the council handles your complaint, contact the local government and social care ombudsman. This is an independent person who looks into complaints about organisations.
The Care Programme Approach (CPA) is a package of care for people with mental health problems.
Who gets help under the Care Programme Approach (CPA)?
You might be offered CPA support if you:
- have a severe mental health problem
- are at risk of suicide, self-harm, or harming other people
- tend to neglect yourself and don't take treatment regularly
- are vulnerable – for example, because of financial difficulties
- have misused drugs or alcohol
- have learning disabilities
- rely on a carer, or you're a carer yourself
- have recently been sectioned
- are affected by difficult parenting responsibilities
- have a history of violence or self-harm
If you have mental health problems, you're entitled to an assessment of your needs with a mental healthcare professional, and to have a care plan that's regularly reviewed.
What do you get from the Care Programme Approach (CPA)?
You'll get a care-coordinator and a care plan.
Your care plan
Your care plan is written down, and sets out what support you'll get day to day and who'll give it to you.
It might cover:
- your medicines
- help with money problems
- help with housing
- support at home
- help to get you out and about outside your home
The care plan also outlines any risks, including details of what should happen in an emergency or crisis.
Your care co-ordinator
You'll have a CPA care co-ordinator (usually a nurse, social worker or occupational therapist) to manage your care plan and review it at least once a year.
Your care plan will say who your care co-ordinator is. You should have regular contact with them.
The mental health charity Rethink has more information about the Care Programme Approach.
Everyone has the right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.
Abuse and neglect can occur anywhere: in your own home or a public place, while you're in hospital or attending a day centre, or in a college or care home.
You may be living alone or with others. The person causing the harm may be a stranger but, more often than not, you'll know and feel safe with them. They're usually in a position of trust and power, such as a health or care professional, relative or neighbour.
Different forms of abuse and neglect
There are many forms of abuse and neglect.
- indecent exposure
- sexual harassment
- inappropriate looking or touching
- sexual teasing or innuendo
- sexual photography
- being forced to watch pornography or sexual acts
- being forced or pressured to take part in sexual acts
- being hit, slapped, pushed or restrained
- being denied food or water
- not being helped to go to the bathroom when you need to
- misuse of your medicines
- emotional abuse
- threats to hurt or abandon you
- stopping you from seeing people
- humiliating, blaming, controlling, intimidating or harassing you
- verbal abuse
- cyberbullying and isolation
- an unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or support networks
This is typically an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse by someone who is, or has been, an intimate partner or family member.
This includes some forms of harassment, slurs or unfair treatment relating to your:
- gender and gender identity
- sexual orientation
This could be someone stealing money or other valuables from you. Or it might be that someone appointed to look after your money on your behalf is using it inappropriately or coercing you to spend it in a way you're not happy with.
Internet scams and doorstep crime are also common forms of financial abuse.
Neglect includes not being provided with enough food or with the right kind of food, or not being taken proper care of.
Leaving you without help to wash or change dirty or wet clothes, not getting you to a doctor when you need one or not making sure you have the right medicines all count as neglect.
Abuse in your home
You're more at risk of abuse at home if:
- you're isolated and do not have much contact with friends, family or neighbours
- you have memory problems or difficulty communicating
- you become dependent on your carer
- you do not get on with your carer
- your carer is addicted to drugs or alcohol
- your carer relies on you for a home, or financial or emotional support
I think I am being abused or neglected. What can I do?
There are many people you can talk to. If you feel you are being abused or neglected:
- do not worry about making a fuss – tell someone you trust as soon as possible
- speak to friends or care workers who may have an understanding of the situation and be able to take steps quickly to improve the situation
- talk to professionals such as a GP or social worker about your concerns, or ask to speak to your local council's adult safeguarding team or co-ordinator
- call the Hourglass helpline on 0808 808 8141 for advice
- if you believe a crime is being, or has been, committed – whether it's physical abuse or financial – talk to the police or ask someone you trust to do so on your behalf
Spotting signs of abuse in older people: advice for carers
It's not always easy to spot the signs of abuse. Someone being abused may make excuses for why they're bruised, may not want to go out or talk to people, or may be short of money.
It's important to know the signs of abuse and, where they're identified, gently share your concerns with the person you think may be being abused.
If you wait, hoping the person will tell you what's been happening to them, it could delay matters and allow the abuse to continue.
Behavioural signs of abuse in an older person include:
- becoming quiet and withdrawn
- being aggressive or angry for no obvious reason
- looking unkempt, dirty or thinner than usual
- sudden changes in their character, such as appearing helpless, depressed or tearful
- physical signs – such as bruises, wounds, fractures or other untreated injuries
- the same injuries happening more than once
- not wanting to be left by themselves or alone with particular people
- being unusually lighthearted and insisting there's nothing wrong
Also, their home may be cold or unusually dirty or untidy, or you might notice things missing.
Other signs include a sudden change in their finances, such as not having as much money as usual to pay for shopping or regular outings, or getting into debt.
Watch out for any official or financial documents that seem unusual, and for documents relating to their finances that suddenly go missing.
If you feel someone you know is showing signs of being abused, talk to them to see if there's anything you can do to help.
If they're being abused, they may not want to talk about it straight away, especially if they've become used to making excuses for their injuries or changes in personality.
Do not ignore your concerns, though. Doing so could allow any abuse to carry on or escalate.
I'm worried about someone who may be experiencing abuse or neglect. What should I do?
Start by talking to the person in private, if you feel able to do so. Mention some of the things that concern you – for instance, that they've become depressed and withdrawn, have been losing weight or seem to be short of money.
Let them talk as much as they want to. But be mindful that if they've been abused, they may be reluctant to talk about it because they are afraid of making the situation worse, do not want to cause trouble, or may be experiencing coercion or threats.
It's best not to promise the person that you will not tell anyone what's been said. If an adult is being abused or neglected, it's important to find help for them and stop the harm.
Stay calm while the person is talking, even if you're upset by what you hear, otherwise they may become more upset themselves and stop telling you what's been going on.
It can be very difficult for an abused or neglected person to talk about what's been happening to them. Unless you're concerned for their immediate health and safety and feel it's vital to act straight away, give them time to think about what they'd like to do.
If you're right and the person has been abused or neglected, ask them what they'd like you to do. Let them know who can help them, and tell them you can seek help on their behalf if they want or if it's difficult for them to do so themselves.
It's important to listen to what they say and not charge into action if this is not what they want.
Who to contact if an older person is being abused
If an adult has told you about their situation, you might want to talk to other people who know them to find out if they have similar concerns.
There are also professionals you can contact. You can pass on your concerns to the person's GP and social worker.
Local authorities have social workers who deal specifically with cases of abuse and neglect. Call the person's local council and ask for the adult safeguarding co-ordinator.
You can also speak to the police about the situation. Some forms of abuse are crimes, so the police will be interested.
If the person is in danger or needs medical attention, call their GP (if known) or emergency services if immediate assistance is required.
You can also call the free, confidential Hourglass helpline on 0808 808 8141.
Respite care means taking a break from caring, while the person you care for is looked after by someone else.
It lets you take time out to look after yourself and helps stop you becoming exhausted and run down.
There are lots of respite care options. They range from getting a volunteer to sit with the person you look after for a few hours, to a short stay in a care home so you can go on holiday.
The person you look after could go to a day care centre. Or, a paid carer could visit them at their home to look after them.
Your local council or local carers' centre can give you information about local support.
First step – getting assessed
Local councils will only fund respite care for people that they have assessed as needing it.
So if you want the council to pay for respite care for either yourself as a carer or the person you look after, it's important that you both have an assessment.
Carer's should have a carer's assessment.
The person you're looking after should have a needs assessment.
Even if they don't want council funding, it's still useful for the person you look after to have a needs assessment as it will say which type of respite care is most suitable.
Different types of respite care
The main types of respite care are:
- day care centres
- homecare from a paid carer
- a short stay in a care home
- getting friends and family to help
- respite holidays
- sitting services
Day care centres
Day care centres offer a chance for people who find it difficult to get out and about to socialise, make friends and take part in activities.
For example, day care centres might offer tea dances, singing, games and arts and crafts. Some offer hairdressing, foot care and assisted bathing.
Transport is often provided, but there may be a charge.
To qualify for council-funded day care centre visits, the person you look after will need to have had a needs assessment.
Day centres are usually run by councils or local charities.
To find out what's available in your area contact:
- your local council. Find your local social services team (England only)
- charities such as Age UK or Contact the Elderly
Help at home from a paid carer
If you care for someone and need more time for yourself, you can arrange for a paid carer to help at their home. This is also called homecare.
It might be regular (for example, one day a week so that you can work, study or have a day off) or for a short period, such as a week, so you can take a holiday.
If the person you care for needs 24-hour supervision, you can arrange live-in care.
To qualify for council-funded homecare, the person you look after will need to have had a needs assessment.
- ask your local council's adult social care department for information on homecare agencies in your area. They may have a directory of homecare agencies on their website. Find your local social services team (England only)
- search the NHS website for a list of local homecare agencies and a list of national homecare organisations
- ask the United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHMA) for a list of approved homecare agencies in your area
- the Carers Trust supports carers by giving them a break from their caring responsibilities through homecare services
- contact Age UK to see if it offers help at home from a paid carer in your area
A short stay in a care home
Some care homes offer short-term respite care.
It can be difficult to get respite space at short notice, but some care homes take advance bookings which can help you to plan ahead, for example if you want to book a holiday.
Search the NHS website for:
Getting friends and family to help
Friends and family might temporarily move into the house of the person you care for. Or, they could invite the person you care for to stay with them for a while.
Respite holidays allow carers and people with illnesses or disabilities, to take a break from everyday life.
- MindforYou offer supported holidays in the UK for people who are living with dementia and their carers to enjoy together
- some charities, such as Revitalise, offer subsidised holidays for elderly or disabled people
- Family Fund has grants towards the cost of holidays for families on a low income who are caring for a child with a severe disability
- Family Holiday Association has breaks at holiday sites, or grants to help with the cost of a holiday, to low-income families. You need to be referred by your social worker, GP or health visitor, or by a charity or other welfare agent
Some charities and carers' organisations offer sitting services where a trained volunteer keeps the person you care for company for a while, usually a few hours at a time.
This type of sitting service is often free, or there may be a small charge.
These organisations offer sitting services. Find out if they are available in your area:
Emergency respite care
Think about who you could contact in an emergency if you couldn't reach the person needing care, for example, due to an accident or sudden illness.
This might be another relative, friend or neighbour who could step in for a few hours while proper arrangements are made.
Make sure they:
- have door keys or know the code to a key safe
- know the type of care the person you look after will need – this may be as simple as sitting and chatting with them, making a meal for them or helping them take their medicines
Write some notes about what kind of care the person you look after needs and leave them in a prominent place to help anyone who steps in to help at a moment's notice.
These notes could include essential information on medicines, and any dos and don'ts for the substitute carer to be aware of.
Paying for respite care
According to the UK care guide, respite care costs on average £700-800 a week.
It can be as much as £1,500 a week, for emergency respite care, live-in care, or staying in a care home.
There are 2 main ways of getting help with the costs of respite care:
- from the council
- from a charity
Or, you can pay for it yourself.
From the council
If you or the person you care for qualifies for respite care, the council will do a financial assessment to work out if it will pay towards it.
If you or the person you care for qualifies for council-funded respite care, you can ask the council to arrange it for you, or you can do it yourself through a personal budget or direct payment.
From a charity
The Carers Trust offers some grants to carers who need respite.
The charity, Turn2us, can help to find grants for people who need respite care but can't afford it.
Paying for it yourself
If the person you care for has to pay for their own respite care, they might be able to raise money towards this from:
- income from pensions, work, investments or property
- benefits, such as Attendance Allowance
ou might not think of yourself as a carer. But you probably are if you're looking after someone regularly, including your spouse or a family member, because they're ill or disabled.
As a carer, you may be entitled to one or more state benefits to help you with the costs.
What it is
Carer's Allowance is the main state benefit for carers. It's £67.25 a week.
You can get it if
You look after someone for more than 35 hours a week.
You cannot get it if
You get more than £67.25 a week from some other benefits. But it's still worth applying as you may have what's called an underlying entitlement to Carer's Allowance. This can help increase other benefits you're getting.
What it is
A National Insurance (NI) contribution to help make sure you do not lose out on some social security benefits, such as the State Pension, because of gaps in your NI record.
You can get it if
You look after someone for more than 20 hours a week and you do not get Carer's Allowance.
What it is
An allowance you get on top of some benefits.
You can get it if
You already get a benefit, such as Income Support or Housing Benefit.
How to claim Carer Premium
Ask about it at your local Jobcentre Plus or Jobs and Benefits Office.
Disability Living Allowance for children
What it is
Between £23.60 and £151.40 a week.
You can get it if
You're the parent carer of a disabled child.
Check what benefits you can get
Check if you're entitled to Carer's Allowance and other benefits with the entitled to benefits calculator.
Get a carer's assessment
As a carer, you may be eligible for support from your local council. Before you receive any help from your local council, you need to have a carer's assessment.
Get help and advice
Get expert benefits advice, plus help filling in claim forms, from:
- Carers UK helpline on 0808 808 7777
- Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053
- Age UK on 0800 678 1602
- Citizens Advice on 0800 144 8848
- Gingerbread (for single parents) on 0808 802 0925
- Family Rights Group on 0808 801 0366
How to challenge a benefit decision
You can challenge a benefit decision if:
- your benefit payment is stopped
- your claim for a benefit is refused
If you find it hard to talk to others, try to write your thoughts in a diary, poem or letter first. This can help to make sense of your thoughts and how you feel, before getting help.
Help from teachers and other school staff
Teachers are there to help pupils get the most out of school. They can be a good person for you to speak to about any problems you have.
If you're missing lessons to help look after someone at home, or struggling to get your work in on time, talk to a teacher about what you do at home so that they can understand what is happening and give you more help.
As a young carer, you might find school a place where you can forget about your caring responsibilities and feel "normal" for a while. But it can also be a place where you're under extra pressure or where people do not understand what your life is like outside school. It can sometimes be hard to juggle all your responsibilities as a young carer with the demands of teachers, friends and homework.
Keeping up-to-date with school work
You might not want your school to know you're caring for someone. But if they do not know about your situation, it will be difficult for teachers to understand if you struggle to keep up in class or do not do your homework. It's a good idea to let at least one teacher you feel able to trust know you're a carer.
You might find it difficult to talk about your home life with a teacher, so you could ask someone in your family to write to the school, perhaps to the head of year.
Some young carers find it easier to talk about the situation if they keep a diary or a list of all the jobs and tasks they have to do.
If you're having trouble with school or homework, your teachers may offer:
- extra time for school work when you have to give more help to the person you care for
- help for your parents to travel to parents' evenings if they have trouble leaving the house
- to talk to you privately about your home life
- homework clubs
Support at school
There are lots of ways your school can help. You could be allowed to use a phone during breaks and lunchtime so you can check on the person you're looking after.
The school could also put you in touch with your local young carers service, or get a young carers worker to talk to you.
Some schools run lunchtime groups or homework support groups for young carers. If your school does not do this, you could suggest it to your teachers.
Nobody wants to get into trouble at school. If teachers know you're a carer, they may be more sympathetic to your problems (such as lateness), but it will not necessarily stop you being disciplined if you break the rules.
If you're given detention, you could ask to have it during lunchtime rather than after school because of your caring responsibilities.
You may feel you have to miss school to care for someone. But missing school can affect your whole future. Try to get help as quickly as possible so the situation does not go on for a long time.
A GP, nurse, social worker or another person whose job is to help the person you look after can organise more support at home to help you concentrate on school or college.
Friends and your social life
As a young carer, you may miss out on opportunities to play and spend time with your friends and classmates. You may feel isolated from your friends because:
- you do not have as much free time as them
- you're often thinking about the person you look after
- you may be worried they will bully you
Being a young carer can make you stand out from other people, or you may find that you do not get included in certain activities.
It's important to get the help you need so that you have time to do the things you want to do and be with your friends.
If possible, put aside some time each day to do something you enjoy. Your local young carers project or carers centre may be able to help.
Are you being bullied?
Bullying can include being deliberately left out of activities or groups, as well as being called names, hit, kicked, punched or threatened.
Young carers are sometimes bullied because the person they care for is ill or disabled, or because they cannot always do the things other young people can. Some people are bullied for no reason.
In fact, nearly half of children and young people say they've been bullied at school. Even adults get bullied.
It's natural to feel sad, angry or scared if you're being bullied. But remember: there are ways to deal with the problem.
Childline is a free and confidential telephone helpline for children on 0800 11 11.
You can talk to someone on Childline who may be able to give you advice and get you help. They will not tell anyone that you have called.
Meet other young carers
Meeting up with other young carers is a great way to make new friends, have some fun and share some of your worries with people in similar situations to your own.
Young carers projects can help you have a break from home, plus meeting other young carers can help you to relax. Young carers projects may offer evening clubs, weekends away, days out and even holidays, as well as friendly advice and information for you and for your family.
KIDS is an organisation specially for carers under the age of 18. It runs regular clubs where you can meet other young carers as well as offering support, advice and information.
Action for Children can put you in touch with other young carers. It also has free places for young carers at its residential activity camps.
Help from social workers
A social worker from your local council has to visit, if you or your parents request this.
Social workers may be asked to help a young carer's family if there are problems that the family members are finding hard to sort out on their own.
Help from doctors, nurses and other health workers
If you're worried about your health, or the health of the person you care for, speak to a doctor or GP.
School nurses visit schools and are usually happy to speak with you about any of your health concerns.
Counsellors work in a variety of places, including schools, hospitals and youth centres. Their job is to listen carefully and give advice – in a private setting.
Local mental health nurses can offer emotional support and advice about mental health conditions. If the person you care for has a "community psychiatric nurse", you can talk to the nurse about their condition and how you can help them cope.
If you're worried about your own mental health, you can find support through the children and young people's mental health services (CYPMHS). There are services all over the country helping young people with mental health conditions.
Macmillan nurses from the national charity Macmillan Cancer Support can help people who are affected by cancer and young carers. They provide a range of medical and emotional support for people who have cancer, and their families.
Other organisations that can help young carers
Citizens Advice has information on money, benefits and your rights.
The National Careers Service has a helpline, webchat and email service about education and careers for teenagers. Support is also available up to the age of 25 for those who have learning difficulties or disabilities.
Get in touch with Carers Direct
For advice and support with caring issues over the phone, call the Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053.
If you're deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing or have impaired speech, you can contact the Carers Direct helpline using textphone or minicom number 0300 123 1004.
ou're a young carer if you're under 18 and help to look after a relative with a disability, illness, mental health condition, or drug or alcohol problem.
If you're a young carer, you probably look after one of your parents or care for a brother or sister.
You may do extra jobs in and around the home, such as cooking, cleaning or helping someone get dressed and move around.
You may also give a lot of physical help to a parent, brother or sister who's disabled or ill.
Along with doing things to help your brother or sister, you may be giving them and your parents emotional support, too.
Your choices about caring
Some people start giving care at a very young age and don't really realise they're carers. Other young people become carers overnight.
If someone in your family needs to be looked after, you may really want to help them. But as a young carer, you shouldn't be doing the same things as adult carers.
Nor should you be spending a lot of your time caring for someone, as this can get in the way of you doing well at school and doing the same kinds of things as other children or young people.
It's important you decide how much and what type of care you're willing or able to give, or whether you should be a carer at all.
Decide whether you're the right person to offer the care needed by the person you look after.
All disabled adults are entitled to support from their local council, depending on their needs, so they shouldn't have to rely on their children to care for them.
Young carers' rights
If you or your parents request it, a social worker from your local council must visit to carry out a young carer's assessment.
This assessment is different from the one adult carers have. It'll decide what kind of help you and your family might need.
Even if the council has already carried out one of these assessments, they must do another if you or your parents feel that your needs or circumstances have changed.
A young carer's assessment can determine whether it's appropriate for you to care for someone else, and takes into account whether you want to be a carer.
The social worker must also look at your education, training, leisure opportunities and views about your future.
As part of the assessment, the social worker must ask about your wishes and involve you, your parents and anyone else you or your parents want to be involved.
All these people should receive a written record of the assessment. This will include whether the council thinks you need support, whether their services could provide you with it, and whether they'll give you it.
It should also explain what you can do if you or your parents disagree with the assessment.
If you and the person you care for both agree, the local council can assess your needs as a young carer and the needs of the person you care for at the same time.
If you're 16 or over and not in full-time education, you may be eligible for help finding work, as well as with your family's finances (for instance, through benefits such as Carer's Allowance).
Getting an assessment is the best way to find out what's available in your situation.
For advice and support with care issues, call the Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053.
If you're deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing or have impaired speech, contact the Carers Direct helpline using the textphone or minicom number 0300 123 1004.
Other organisations that can offer help and advice are:
Arranging care before you leave hospital
- any extra help is arranged, such as visits from a district nurse or paid home help
- any equipment is fitted, such as a raised toilet seat
- any home adaptations are made, like grab rails in the bathroom
What happens while you're in hospital
Hospital staff should contact social services to arrange a discharge assessment. This is so they can find out what help you need when you go home.
It doesn't matter if your hospital stay was planned or an emergency.
The assessment can happen in hospital, or they might visit your home.
It helps to have a key safe at home, or to leave keys with family or friends.
You'll be involved in the assessment and agree a care plan together.
This should include things like:
- treatment and care when you get home
- who's in charge of your care and how to contact them
- when and how often you need care
Preparing to leave hospital
Hospital staff should make sure:
- you can get home
- you have your care plan and your care home has a copy, if you live in one
- you have any medicine you need and know how to take it
- you can use new equipment, such as crutches
- your GP knows you have been discharged
- you know how to get help from a district nurse if you need it, or when to expect a visit
When you get home from hospital
If you have had a short illness or an operation, you might only need care for a short time to get back to normal. This is called intermediate care, reablement or aftercare.
The aim of this type of short-term care is to help you:
- look after yourself rather than having someone care for you
- stay as independent as possible
- avoid unnecessary hospital stays
Intermediate care is free for a maximum of 6 weeks. Most people receive this care for around 1 or 2 weeks.
Soon after you leave hospital, social services will check if your care plan is right.
If you're likely to need care for longer than 6 weeks, they'll work with you to put a care plan in place. This care isn't free.
What to do if you're unhappy with your hospital discharge
You can complain if you're unhappy with your hospital discharge, or the discharge of someone you know.
For example, if:
- the hospital plans to discharge you before you think it's safe
- you don't think your discharge assessment was done correctly
Speak to the hospital staff who arranged your discharge.
Read more about the NHS complaints process.
Care after illness or hospital discharge (reablement)
This temporary care is called intermediate care, reablement or aftercare.
Most people who receive this type of care do so for around 1 or 2 weeks, although it can be free for a maximum of 6 weeks. It will depend on how soon you are able to cope at home.
If you need care for longer than 6 weeks, you may have to pay for it.
When you can get free short-term care and how to get it
After leaving hospital
Care can help you recover from an illness or an operation.
Hospital staff should arrange care before you leave hospital.
Speak to the person in charge of you going home (discharge co-ordinator) to make sure this happens.
Your hospital will not get involved after you leave.
After a fall or short illness
Care can help you avoid going into hospital if you do not need to.
If you or someone you know falls or needs help because they're ill, speak to your GP surgery or social services.
They should be able to arrange for someone to come to your home and discuss what you need.
If you have started to find everyday tasks difficult
You can get help with daily tasks. This can help you learn new ways of doing things before needing paid home help.
If you find everyday tasks difficult, contact social services at your council and ask for a needs assessment. This will identify the type of care or equipment you need.
What care you'll get
A team with a mix of people from the NHS and social services will help you do the things you need to do to stay independent.
This might include getting dressed, preparing a meal, or getting up and down stairs.
They might care for you at first, but will help you practise doing things on your own.
Your team might include:
- a nurse
- an occupational therapist
- a physiotherapist
- a social worker
They'll start with an assessment that looks at what you can do. You'll agree together what you want to do and set out a plan.
The plan will include a contact person who's in the team and the times and dates they'll visit you.
What happens when aftercare finishes
When aftercare finishes, your team should work with you and your family or carers to agree what happens next.
This should include:
- other care you might need, such as home help
- how you can refer yourself again if you need to
- what you should do if something goes wrong
- information about what other types of support or equipment might help
Ask your team's contact person about what happens next if your aftercare is coming to an end.
Mental health aftercare
This free aftercare is given to try to prevent your mental health condition from getting worse and to avoid needing to be re-admitted to hospital.
Who is eligible for mental health aftercare?
You have a right to free mental health aftercare when you have been:
- compulsorily detained in hospital under section 3 of the Mental Health Act 1983
- sentenced by a criminal court to detention in a psychiatric hospital
- transferred to psychiatric hospital from prison
How to get mental health aftercare
If you're eligible for aftercare, your needs will be assessed before you're discharged from hospital.
You will receive a care plan that sets out the services you will receive.
What does aftercare include?
Aftercare can include almost anything that helps you live in the community, such as:
- help with specialised accommodation
- social care support
- day centre facilities
- recreational activities
The care plan may make arrangements for housing needs, particularly if you are likely to be homeless when you're discharged from hospital or can't return home for some reason.
The accommodation provided may be in supported housing, such as a hostel.
If you need services from a wide range of providers, you should be assessed under the Care Programme Approach and a named person should act as your care co-ordinator.
Aftercare may be withdrawn if social services or the relevant healthcare organisation believe you no longer need it. However, the organisations must reassess your needs before reaching that conclusion. They also must provide reasons for their decision.
If you have significant mental health problems, you may be able to argue that you're at risk of needing re-admission to hospital. In such a case, your aftercare will continue.
Even if you're no longer eligible for aftercare, that doesn't necessarily mean it will be withdrawn. A financial assessment will be carried out to decide whether you have to contribute to the costs.
How to complain about mental health aftercare
You or your carer may believe you're being incorrectly charged for aftercare services that should be provided free.
This is a complex area, and it's best to get legal advice if you think it may apply to you or the person you're looking after: