3. The care needs assessment: tips for people with dementia
If you have dementia and are having a care needs assessment, there are a few things you can do to prepare, and things to do during the assessment. These suggestions will also be useful for someone caring for a person with dementia who is about to have an assessment.
Preparing for the assessment
- Look through the assessment questions you should have been given in advance and think about your answers. For example, you may be asked about what support you feel you need.
- Make notes outlining what needs you have, and what care and support you would like.
- Start a diary outlining what daily tasks you need support with.
- Consider what care and support you might need in the future as your condition progresses (this can include equipment).
- Collect any other supporting evidence. For example, the GP or other health or social care professionals may have a reason to comment on any medical needs that you have.
- Make a list of any medication you are taking and for what conditions.
- Make sure any carers or relatives that you wish to be present at the assessment are available.
During the assessment
Be honest. Some people feel they need to hide their condition and the problems they are having from professionals. However, the purpose of the assessment is to see how your needs can be met, so it’s important that you are honest and get the most from the assessment.
Outline the support you currently get from carers and family. This is important: even if your family will continue to do this for you, your care plan should cover what would happen if they could no longer provide this support.
Share your wishes and desired outcomes – what you want, for example to feel safer or to have more activity. If you (or your carer) have an idea of what care and support you would like, you should share this in the assessment. It doesn’t necessarily mean you will get it, but the assessment should consider what support you and your carer would like. As well as practical care, you should also think about equipment and other items.
Eligibility for support from the local authority
Once an assessment has been completed, the local authority will establish whether or not they will fund care and support for the person. In working this out, they will consider whether or not the person has what is called an ‘eligible care need’, and also their financial situation. For more information on the financial assessment see Paying for care.
An eligible care need is the level of need that a person must have for the local authority to consider funding it. There are national eligibility criteria that apply across England; these are summarised in the box on the following page.