It is highly likely that the care needs of your older relative will change over time, and so it is vital to recognise the importance of assessing care needs of older people and ensuring the care they are receiving is right for them.
Assessing Care Needs
Older people care needs do change over time, and it is a local authority’s responsibility to review any support and care plans at least every year. There should be some sort of basic review carried out between six and eight weeks after a revised or new care plan is introduced. There is also the option for your relative to request an earlier review to reflect changes, but the way in which a review is carried out will depend on the significance of the changes.
Dealing with Changes in Older People Care Requirements
Assessing care needs of older people can seem like a daunting and emotional process, but it is also a vital one to ensure they receive the best possible care. First and foremost, it is important to recognise when changes occur and to then ensure proper action is taken in response. Changes can result from deterioration of physical health, for example, or a worsening of a person’s memory.
Changes may be temporary or permanent and could happen gradually or very suddenly. Most commonly, changes in mental or physical health happen over time, and it can be difficult to assess when significant changes have occurred. In contrast, an unexpected injury or illness, such as a fall or stroke, can result in a sudden decline, and the emphasis will be on taking action immediately to ensure the right level and kind of care is in place for them.
Preparing for what the future may hold can make adapting care needs easier. If you make decisions with one eye on the future, it can make changes much simpler. For example, you may choose a care home now that offers higher-level nursing care which would be available at a later date if required.
You will need to remember, however, that a local authority can only fund for eligible and current needs, and so additional costs associated with some care choices may have to be found independently.
In order to properly prepare for future care needs, your relative may want to create a living will, which is legally binding and would be taken into account should they lose their mental capacity to decide on their care at any stage.
A local authority needs assessment will help in assessing care needs, as will talking to your relative and those currently caring for them. Look out for signs that your loved one is struggling and talk to them about what they think they need.
If your relative hasn’t yet received a local authority assessment but may benefit from one, then get in touch with the council. Local authorities are obliged to provide this free service when required.
Delivering the Right Care
After assessing care needs of older people, there may be a variety of solutions, from accessing home care options, including personal care or practical assistance, to moving to sheltered housing, where there may be different levels of care available, or moving into a care home with the prospect of future nursing care if required.