Health and social care professionals

5. Social care professionals

These professionals can help you with nonmedical support. This could include support at home with dressing or bathing, equipment and adaptations at home, social activities, day care or replacement (‘respite’) care. Many of these services are arranged through your local authority (council) social services department. Which services are available will depend on your local authority. The local
authority may work with other organisations to provide these services (in partnership). Social services will usually have to assess your needs and ask about your income and savings to decide what services you can receive and whether you have to pay for them.

Getting an assessment and advice is always free. You can ask for an assessment yourself, or a family member, your GP or another health and social care professional can ask for one on your behalf. Many people will have to pay towards to these services. You could ask social services for a list of companies and then arrange for the service privately.

Social workers

Social workers have been specially trained to assess a person’s needs and advise on what services best suit them. They can also help you if you just need to talk things through. Social workers, also referred to as ‘care managers’, work in social services departments, hospitals and care homes. To talk to a social worker, contact your social services department or ask your GP. Social workers can also help sort out funding support and are the primary contact for requesting continuing care funding. 

Social care workers

Social care workers can help with personal care such as washing, dressing, changing bedding, doing laundry and helping with meals. They work in your own home as well as in residential care homes. You may need a social care worker at home because you have just come out of hospital and are recovering. Or it may be that your dementia has reached a stage where you need a bit of extra help.

Social care workers are known by a number of names. You might hear them called ‘homecare workers’ or ‘domiciliary care workers’ (home helps) and ‘personal assistants’. (In care homes they tend to be called ‘care workers’.) A support plan should outline what jobs or tasks are needed and who will carry them out.

Homecare workers and personal assistants are usually employed by private companies called, care agencies, you can pay for them with a personal budget (if you are entitled to one), or privately with your own money, or a mixture. To find a list of registered homecare agencies, ask your local social services or the UK Homecare Association.