Accessing Information & Guidance on Social Care

Would you know where to turn for social care support? New polling by Healthwatch England has found that over 40% of people don’t. This confusion can result in people not getting the care they need.

Adult social care services help people with the practical support they might need to live independently. Many people benefit from social care support in different ways, including older people, those living with a physical or learning disability, and those who need short-term help after a stay in hospital.

In England, local authorities are responsible for providing their communities with information and advice about local social care services. They also organise and support care for those unable to fund it themselves, and can organise care services for self-funding individuals who may require assistance to do so.

This care can change people’s lives. But Healthwatch England’s latest findings show that people don’t always know where to turn for help. And when they do access services, they’re not always fully supported.

Healthwatch polled a representative sample of 1,800 adults living in England to see how aware people are of social care support and whether people who tried to get help were getting what they needed.

Their research found that many adults are confused about who is responsible for providing them with social care, where they could turn if they need help and the process for accessing support.

The findings point to several issues:

  • Many people don’t know where to go if they need social care support. And those who do are more likely to come from more well-off households.
  • When people do have to try to access support, they’re more likely to speak to someone in the NHS. The number of people seeking support from GPs and NHS staff, rather than their council, indicates a potentially unnecessary burden is being placed on the NHS. There’s also a risk that if people are not going to the right place for information, they may miss out on the support they need.
  • Low awareness of what social care assessments are for could be resulting in a disconnect between the public’s expectations and what services deliver.  And for others, the assessment processes and quality of care and support are not meeting needs.

Full details of the findings and supporting data can be found here.

If you live in Essex and would like more information about the ways in which you can access social care, you can get in touch with our friendly team.