Alzheimer's Society makes recommendations for local authorities adopting Care Act easements

With local government considering whether to relax certain responsibilities during the pandemic, we've made recommendations on how to appropriately adopt Care Act easements on behalf of people affected by dementia.

Coronavirus is making daily life much harder for people affected by dementia, and many are needing a higher level of care and support during this time.

But councils are also under pressure in providing this care, and many are considering adopting the easements to their Care Act responsibilities, which were introduced by the Coronavirus Act in England. These easements allow local authorities to temporarily relax certain responsibilities in order to prioritise care during periods of significant pressure.

We want to ensure that local authorities who do adopt the easements continue to meet the needs of people with dementia and avoid this crisis leading to an irreversible deterioration in their condition.

We’ve listened to people affected by dementia, social care professionals and care homes, and produced a briefing with recommendation for local authorities to consider when applying the easements.

Our recommendations cover

  1. Democracy and oversight – we want to make sure that the easements are only adopted when demand on social care has increased to a point it is not possible to meet the needs of people with urgent or acute needs, and that the decision to activate easements is taken democratically.
  2. Adopting and communicating easements – local authorities should make every effort to meet their duties under the Care Act, and the easements should only be adopted gradually, in exceptional circumstances.
  3. Assessments and meeting support needs – local authorities should respond as soon as possible to requests for care, and support and consider the needs and wishes of people needing care, their family and carers. It is also important that a ‘needs and care assessment’ is carried out and a record of this is made.
  4. Care and support plans – local authorities should still carry out proportionate, person-centred care planning. This helps to ensure that people living with dementia are able to take part in activities they enjoy, which can be an effective way of managing behavioural symptoms of dementia.
  5. Financial assessments - local authorities should undertake a light-touch financial assessment to provide an indication of any potential future financial obligations that may fall on people affected by dementia

By following our recommendations, local authorities can show how they have fully considered the needs of people affected by dementia, and put in place measures to ensure that the impact of their changes are minimised.

You can download our full briefing on adopting Care Act easements and if you want to get in touch with us about the briefing or our recommendations, please email us.

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