Social care in Swindon

What does adult social care involve?

Male care worker serving dinner to a senior man at his home

Adult social care covers a wide range of activities to help people who are older, or living with a disability or physical or mental illness, live independently and stay well and safe. It can include:

  • ‘personal care’, such as help with washing, dressing and getting out of bed, as well as wider support to help people stay active and engaged in their communities
  • support in people’s own homes (home care or ‘domiciliary care’)
  • support in day centres; care provided by care homes and nursing homes (‘residential care’)
  • services that help people to retain or regain their skills and confidence so they can learn to manage again after a period of illness
  • providing aids and adaptations for people’s homes
  • providing information and advice
  • providing support for family carers
  • support to engage in work, training, education or volunteering
  • support to socialise with family and friends, and maintain personal relationships

Person-centred care moves away from professionals deciding what is best for an individual, and places the person at the centre, as an expert of their own experience. The person, and their family where appropriate, becomes an equal partner in the planning of their care and support, ensuring it meets their needs, goals, and outcomes. With an emphasis on ‘doing with’ rather than ‘doing to’, person-centred care runs through both individual and group settings, allowing users of services to be active not only in their own care but also in the design and delivery of services. This approach can improve both the experience and quality of care.

A common misperception is that adult social care is solely or mostly about providing care of older people in care homes and nursing homes. But more than one thousand working age adults (18 to 64) in Swindon with long-term health conditions, learning disabilities and mental health conditions, access adult social care services in Swindon.

Social care is often broken down into two broad categories: ‘short-term care’ and ‘long-term care’. Short-term care refers to a care package that is time-limited with the intention of maximising the independence of the individual using the care service and eliminating their need for ongoing support. Long-term services are provided on an ongoing basis and range from high-intensity services like nursing care to lower-intensity community support. Both long and short-term care would be arranged by a local authority and could be described as ‘formal’ care.

This video produced by the King’s Fund explains what social care is, how it’s provided and paid for, and how it works with the NHS and other services.

Adult social care is part of a complex system of services and support – including the NHS, the Integrated Care System (ICS), and local authorities. This video produced by the King’s Fund explains the importance of different services working together to provide care.

Local authorities are responsible for assessing people’s needs and, if individuals are eligible, funding their care. However, most social care services are delivered by independent sector home care and residential care providers, which are mainly for-profit companies but also include some voluntary sector organisations. In Swindon, the council runs one care home (Fessey House) while another 50 residential or nursing homes are run by the private and voluntary sectors. Of these homes in Swindon, 27 are for older people, people with physical disabilities, or people with mental health issues, while 24 homes are for people with a learning disability and/or autism.

Many people will also have social care organised and purchased by their local authority, though many people with disabilities directly employ individuals (‘personal assistants’) to provide their care and support. This video produced by the King’s Fund looks at what adult social care consists of, the responsibilities of local government in providing care, and the wider societal context.

Many people are surprised to learn that social care is not free at the point of use in the way that NHS care is. Rather, social care is funded by people paying for their own care, by local government, or often a mixture of the two. This briefing (August 2021) produced by the House of Commons Library provides a high-level overview of how individuals in England may currently access financial support from their local authority towards the costs of their adult social care. This video produced by the King’s Fund provides an overview of how social care is funded.

Residents are entitled to help with the cost of their care from the council if:

  • they have savings worth less than £23,250

and, if they are moving into a care home:

  • they don’t own their own property

You can ask the Council for a financial assessment (often called a ‘means test’) to check if you qualify for any help with costs. Read more about the financial assessment. The Government is taking forward plans to introduce a lifetime cap from October 2023 on the amount anyone in England will need to spend on their personal care, alongside a more generous means-test for local authority financial support.

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