Social care support
Social care support describes the help provided to people in their own home or in a care home. It may include home helps, meals-on-wheels or personal care - help with getting up, washing, dressing, feeding or going to the toilet.
If your M.E. has left you unable to do these things easily for yourself, the first thing you should do is contact your local council and ask for a care needs assessment.
When you initially contact them, make sure to explicitly state: “I am asking for an assessment of my care needs.” How you present your needs can influence how quickly they respond. At each stage, be realistic about the worst case scenario that might arise if your needs are not met. You can contact our Crisis, Support and Advocacy Service, who can offer more information and support to help you with this.
NHS Online offers useful step-by-step information about applying and preparing for a care needs assessment.
Some support options are available to some people with certain specific needs, sometimes free of charge, through your local council. There is more detailed information on this available on the NHS website. Your local authority may pay for some or all of your support if your needs meet the eligibility criteria and you have a limited ability to pay for the services yourself. After they have assessed your care needs, they will do a financial assessment to determine how much you would contribute towards your care
Explaining how M.E. affects your health
Action for M.E. has produced a resource called This is M.E., in collaboration with North Bristol NHS Trust that will help you think about and explain how M.E. affects your health and what kind of support you need. It should be filled out by the person who has M.E. or the person that knows them best. You can then share the resource with carers, social workers and anyone else who you want to communicate your needs to.
Download it as a PDF that you can print off and fill out by hand, or a Microsoft Word copy that you can download and complete online.
Getting your care needs assessed
Your local council should apply eligibility criteria set out in the UK Care Act 2014 to decide if they can provide social care support. They will meet care needs if a social care needs assessment shows that:
- your needs arise from, or are related to, a physical or mental impairment or illness AND
- as a result of your needs, you are unable to achieve two or more specified outcomes AND
- as a consequence there is, or is likely to be, a significant impact on the persons well being.
An adult’s needs are only eligible where they meet all three of these conditions.
The "specified outcomes" referred to above include:
- managing and maintaining nutrition, such as being able to prepare and eat food and drink
- maintaining personal hygiene, such as being able to wash themselves and their clothes
- managing toilet needs
- being able to dress appropriately, for example during cold weather
- being able to move around the home safely, including accessing the home from outside
- keeping the home sufficiently clean and safe
- being able to develop and maintain family or other personal relationships, in order to avoid loneliness or isolation
- accessing and engaging in work, training, education or volunteering, including physical access
- being able to safely use necessary facilities or services in the local community including public transport and recreational facilities or services
- carrying out any caring responsibilities, such as for a child.
Local authorities do not have responsibility for providing NHS services such as patient transport, but they should consider needs for support when the adult is attending healthcare appointments.
For those assessed as eligible, your local authority will decide your personal budget, ie. how much should be spent on your care. Either that could come to you directly via direct payments (someone else can manage your direct payments for you) OR your the local authority can hold the budget for you and use it to employ agencies to deliver your care.
A personal budget or direct payment will be created after an assessment by social services. If the council decides that you need any kind of support, you will receive a personal budget and can choose a direct payment instead of letting them arrange services for you.
If you aren’t able to, or don’t want to manage your own finances, it's possible for another person to manage the direct payments on your behalf.