A care needs assessment takes into account a person’s strengths, needs and goals on an individualised level. It focuses on what your elderly relative can currently achieve and what they need to be able to do in order to live safely and comfortably in their home, as well as how much the council is able to help towards this list.
In some cases, the council will be able to pay for the care that is decided upon after the care needs assessment, however, this is a means-tested decision based on a financial assessment. You can find information on this further down this page.
In addition to the above assessments, there is a third type that takes into account the needs of the carer – you! Caring for someone can be beyond a full time job in some cases, so understanding what support can be provided by the council and other organisations is important to make your job as easy as possible. For more information on carer’s assessments and services for carers, visit our Carer Support in Cambridgeshire page.
How to apply for a Care Needs Assessment with your local authority in Cambridgeshire
Getting a care needs assessment in Cambridgeshire is straightforward, although it should be noted there can be a bit of a wait in receiving one. Your elderly relative can be referred via a healthcare professional, like a GP, or you can refer on behalf of them yourself – either way we will talk you through the process, eligibility criteria and the following financial assessment.
When contacting the council about a care needs assessment, it is important to include, or have ready, all the information they require to get the application started. This is a long list and includes personal information, reason for enquiry, an idea of the help required, and ways the council can get in touch. The full list can be found on the Cambridgeshire County Council website.
To be eligible for a Care Needs Assessment in Cambridgeshire you must fulfil the following criteria:
- Be a Cambridgeshire resident
- Have significant needs that need to be addressed
You can find out more on what ‘significant needs’ means on our full Care Needs Assessment guide.
If the person in question does not fulfil any of the significant need requirements, it is still possible to get help from your local community. You can make privately funded home adaptations for safer independent living, or use technology to help make life a little easier.
Once being referred, using the contact details above or via a healthcare professional with the required details, the council will get in touch to tell you whether they believe the person in question would be suitable for a care needs assessment. If this is the case, you will talk about having an assessor from the council over to meet your relative.
The assessor will help your relative to complete the assessment, or do it themselves.
The assessment does not have to be as formal as a checklist to be worked through: it is a conversation between the assessor, the person being assessed, their family, carers and healthcare professionals involved in the care. Having all these people included in the assessment will ensure that all the right needs are being addressed and that nothing is overlooked.
Once the assessment is complete, the assessor will have a summary of the needs and goals for your relative to achieve. It is then decided how best to go about achieving these goals and if the risks and needs are extensive enough to require the support of the council. This will take the form of a Care and Funding Plan – Age Space has detailed what this includes on our nationally-useful Care Assessment page.
If they are eligible for support from the council, the care needs assessment will move onto producing a care and funding plan.
Once the care assessment has been completed, and it is found that the elderly person is eligible for support from the council, a Financial Assessment questionnaire will also need to be filled in.
How much you pay depends on your personal financial circumstances only. Some people pay the standard charge for the service they receive, whilst others pay a part of the cost, and some make no financial contribution at all.
The assessment takes into account lots of financial factors, but a general rule is that those who own over £23,250 in savings or capital will not be eligible for funding (last updated in March 2023).
Please note, you can help your elderly relative complete the financial assessment but will need to have accurate details of their savings and investments, income, outgoings (such as mortgage and tax) and disability related costs.
Cambridgeshire County Council will provide a personal budget based on the care received and the financial position of the person receiving care, outlining how much the Council will be able to pay.
You can find out more about financial assessments on the Age Space website and read into paying for care on the Cambridgeshire County Council website. If you feel like you need financial and legal advice, especially if your family member is paying for all of their care, find out about Free Legal Advice in Cambridgeshire.
What to do if you're not happy with the outcome of the Assessment
If you are unhappy with the outcome of the Care Assessment for any reason, the first thing to do is to discuss this with your healthcare professional. This will enable you to talk things through with someone and help understand the decision.
If you are still unhappy with the result, you can contact Cambridgeshire County Council’s Customer services and fill out a complaints form on their website.
Adult social care support is usually reviewed after 6-12 weeks and annually following that. In some cases you can request an earlier review. For more information on potential circumstances that might be eligible for an early review, visit the care and support plan page on the Cambridgeshire County Council’s website.