Looking for the right support, care and accommodation
If you have a diagnosis of Autism or Asperger Syndrome or if a relative has been diagnosed, there might come a time when you might need some help and support. This could take the form of support in your own home for a few hours a week, or full-time residential care or anything in between.
To help assess your needs, your local authority will conduct a care needs assessment to establish the level of need required. This assessment will also help decide the level of funding you might be able to access.
There are different types and levels of support available, as well as different types of living accommodation settings. Below is a brief description of each to help you explore your options with the local authority.
Home Care (Domiciliary Care)
When care is provided in your own home by one or more care workers or nurses it is called home care or domiciliary care. The carers provide assistance to enable continuation of daily living, helping to maintain personal independence, comfort and contact with friends and family in the local community. The care provided is very flexible and could just be for a few hours or could be 24-hour care and can be on a temporary, intermittent or long term basis. Carers will provide help with preparing meals, bathing and dressing. Care can be arranged through local authorities who will be able to send care workers to care for people in their own homes either directly, or through agencies. You can also arrange home care yourself through nursing agencies or through associations for homecare providers, eg the UKHCA.
A Housing Association is an organization that provides housing to people who are not able (or choose not to) own their own property. The Housing Association provides social housing for rent on a not for profit basis. Any profit made is put back into the organization to maintain existing houses or to build or acquire new ones. To get a tenancy with a Housing Association, you would usually need to be registered on the District Council’s Housing Register. You might be able to claim Local Housing Allowance for the rent to the Housing Association which is also called a Registered Social Landlord (RSL).
A residential care setting provides a complete and whole service including accommodation, activities and care support. A local authority makes a contract with a Service Provider specifying what is provided. The home is usually up and running and can be viewed in advance. The home is inspected regularly by the Care Quality Commission against a range of standards. In this setting you might not be able to have a say in who else lives in that setting and you are also unlikely to have a say in the future or direction of the service. If a placement breaks down, the service provider has the right to end the placement. In this setting, you would be required to contribute most of your benefits to the local authority who pay for the service placement.
Respite care is short-term care which is intended to provide a family or a carer with a break from daily routines and stresses. It is geared to the specific needs of the individual and their carer/s. It can be provided in your own home or in a variety of external settings. The breaks do not usually last for longer than three months of continuous care. For financial help towards respite care, you would need a community care assessment. There are different types of respite including residential respite care, emergency respite care, domiciliary care and day centre care. All of these types of care allow the carer to have a short break whilst knowing that the individual’s needs are being met.
Supported living is for people who are no longer going to be living with their family, but who need regular and substantial support. In the supported living model, the most important thing is that each individual has their own tenancy. They rent their accommodation, usually from a Housing Association. As a tenant they have more rights than in a residential care setting and cannot be made to leave their home. Individuals are supported in making choices about their day-to-day living. The emphasis is on support, whereas often in residential care, the emphasis is on direct care. Individuals can be supported in their personal care, as well as with accessing community facilities and with their budgets. A Care Provider organisation provides the support needed. The individual can choose who provides their care. Some people with profound and complex disabilities and conditions are successfully supported in Supported Living settings. Individuals can claim Local Housing Allowance for rent and various benefits to cover the cost of their care such as Disability Living Allowance.