Social and Health Services
Carers should not be expected to take on the whole burden of caring without practical support. Services that are brought to people in their own homes can make a great difference. Community care services include a range of help for carers and cared for people, such as adaptations and equipment in the home, home care, respite care, meals at home, day care etc.
The local authority, Southwark Council is responsible for organising community care services in the borough. The actual services may be provided by social services, the health service, voluntary agencies or private businesses.
The first step to receiving services is to contact the relevant service. If you are not sure of which service you need, call Southwark’s Health & Social Care call centre. A social worker should offer to carry out a Community Care Assessment (focusing on the person you care for) and their needs and a Carers’ Assessment (focussing on you) to determine your needs.
Following the assessment(s), social services produce an individually-tailored Care Plan. Make sure you receive a copy. The Care Plan details:
- which services will be provided
- when the services will start
- who they will be provided by
- what it will cost the person cared for
- when the care plan will be reviewed
Alternatively, you may be eligible to receive Direct Payments in order to select and buy support services yourself.
Services which may be provided
An alarm system for people at risk of medical emergencies when alone this is worn around the neck and can be used to contact the emergency services or named persons.
Incontinent laundry scheme
A laundry collection and delivery service for people who are incontinent.
Meals on wheels
Arrangements can be made for meals to be delivered to the home of the person you look after. Many special dietary needs can be catered for.
Groceries are ordered by telephone and delivered to the door.
Adaptations to your home could include the provision of handrails and stairlifts or the widening of doors for wheelchair access.
Home care service
Home care workers can help with personal care tasks such as washing, dressing, using the toilet and preparing breakfast. They may also be able to help with cleaning, cooking, laundry, collecting benefits and paying bills. The type and frequency of home care provided is decided as part of the Community Care Assessment.
If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of a home care service you should raise it in the first instance with your social worker and the manager of the organisation providing the service. It is often more effective to put any requests or complaints in writing. If this does not resolve the situation you should contact the Social Services Complaints Officer Southwark Carers can assist in pursuing a complaint on your behalf.
Other services which may be useful
Independent personal care
Some disabled people arrange and manage their own home care independently using Direct Payments from social services. The option to receive Direct Payments is made at the discretion of the local authority as part of the assessment process. For more information contact the Direct Payment Support Service.
Southwark’s Adult Therapy Team is made up of Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists. Together they offer advice, information, treatment and support with:
- personal care
People can refer themselves or can be referred by a carer or GP.
These schemes use volunteers to visit people and help out with shopping, practical tasks or just sitting with the person you look after. Organisations running such schemes in Southwark include Age Concern Southwark, Dulwich Helpline and SEASONS.
Dealing with different organisations and departments in order to ensure you receive the right services can be complex and daunting. An advocate can help by letting you know your rights and the choices available to you, and making sure your voice is heard.
Southwark Carers have an advocacy service for specifically designed to assist Carers.
Cambridge House Advocacy is another organisation that can help the person you care for get what they need from community care.