Whats in this section?

Whats in this section?

Scottish Care Services

Care Services in Scotland are inspected and regulated by The Care Inspectorate, they also work with providers to help them improve their service and make sure everyone gets safe, high-quality care that meets their needs. Care services in Scotland are not allowed to operate unless they’re registered with the Care Inspectorate.

How to get Social Care in Scotland

In order to access care services in Scotland, you will need to complete 1 or more assessments with the support of your local council:

  • an assessment of your care needs – for the person needing care
  • a carer’s assessment – if you will be an individual providing care to a family member or friend

The care needs assessment and/or carer’s assessment may also include a financial assessment.

Getting started

If you need to arrange care for yourself or someone else, your local council’s social care department is your first point of contact.

The “Find my Council” map on Care Information Scotland is useful here, as they have direct links to the correct pages for each local council.

Care Needs Assessments

You will likely need an assessment of your care needs if you want help for your local council with care services such as:

  • care home placements
  • home care services
  • day care services
  • support for your carer

These assessments are carried out with you by care professionals (typically either a social worker, district nurse OT or other care professional) from your local council’s social care department. During this assessment, they will try and identify:

  • what your care needs are
  • how they can be met by social care services in your area
  • what other help you might be eligible for/ suited to from your local council or the NHS.
How to get an assessment

The primary way to get an assessment is through Self Referral, you can ask someone else to do this for you, such as:

  • your carer
  • your GP
  • district nurse
  • member of hospital staff
  • local housing officer
  • welfare rights officer
  • citizens advice worker
  • relative
  • an advocate

When you phone the social care department, you’ll be asked questions to find out how urgent your needs are, depending on urgency you may get help immediately, before the assessment of your care needs can be arranged. This doesn’t take the place of a full assessment of your care needs, which you’ll get at a later date.

Visits are carried out in order of priority of need. If your needs aren’t urgent, you may have to wait for a few weeks for your assessment (see How quickly can I access services for more details).

What happens during an assessment

The care professional carrying out your assessment will arrange to visit you and ask questions to help them understand:

  • things you have difficulty in doing
  • what you’d like to be able to do
  • the help that you already get from family, friends or other carers
  • what your care needs are
  • how suitable your home is for your needs
  • if you have any specialist needs due to a disability or health conditions
  • any risks to your health and wellbeing if you don’t get appropriate support

The care professional will talk to you about what matters most to you and help look at ways of achieving these outcomes.

They’ll fill in forms with the information you give and ask you to sign them. You’ll be asked to sign a form giving your consent for information to be shared with other professionals.

The assessment may involve more than one visit. All of the information will go into creating your care plan, which sets out how your needs may be met.

This way of finding out what support you need is called self-directed support. This means that you and your carer can choose what support is needed and how it’s provided.

What support could I be eligible for?
  • personal care
  • meals on wheels or frozen meals delivery
  • laundry, like washing and ironing in your home or a laundrette
  • equipment and adaptions, like telehealthcare and home improvements
  • short or long-term stays in residential care
  • short breaks for you and/or your carer

How quickly can I access services?

How long you may have to wait for these services will depend on the National Eligibility Criteria, these are how local councils in Scotland manage demand and delivery of services based on the level of assessed risk.

You can find out more about these criteria in the Scottish Government Publication on Health and Social Care.

Care Home Services

There are a few different types of care home based on the type of care they provide:

  • Care homes providing personal care (including help with washing, dressing and giving medication).
  • Care homes that provide nursing care have at least one qualified nurse on duty 24 hours a day. Personal care is also provided.
  • Some care homes are registered for specific care needs, such as dementia.
  • More typical residential care homes offer health support from GP’s, community nurses or physiotherapists.

If you think you or the person you care for may need to move into a care home, contact the social care department who can help you to:

  • decide whether you should really move to a care home
  • find a suitable home
  • understand your eligibility for financial support, including free nursing and personal care
Care Home Placements

Your local social care department can help you to find a care home even if you plan to fund your own place, they will provide you with a list of suitable care homes, and even help to arrange a visit.

You should have a choice of different care homes, but the following may limit what is available to you.

  • availability of suitable local accommodation that meets your assessed needs
  • cost to the local council (if it’s paying towards your care) compared to what they usually pay for comparable services in the area
  • whether accommodation is available
  • if the care home is willing to provide accommodation

If you plan to arrange your own care home placement, there is a guidance document to support you in making these decisions.

You can search Care Homes in Scotland with our Search for Care tool

Home Care in Scotland

Home care – sometimes called home help or home support – is care provided in your own home to help you keep your independence.

It may involve regular visits from a home care worker and social care, health and housing services like:

  • general cleaning, heavy housework, laundry and gardening
  • personal care
  • shopping
  • meals on wheels or frozen meals delivery
  • collecting pensions and prescriptions
  • paying bills
  • equipment and adaptions, like telecare and home improvements for
  • reablement – this usually lasts up to 6 weeks and means you’ll get personalized care to help you live independently at home

Your care needs, should they include some form of home care support, will be addressed following your care assessment, and the social care department of your local council will guide you to local services to support these needs while discussing your personal care plan with you.

Self-Directed Support

The process of planning care in conjunction with your local council is called “self-directed support”.

The idea here is that through the assessment, your local council’s social care department will discuss with you about what is most important to you – your ‘outcomes’ – and help look at ways of achieving these. This could involve a mixture of community or natural support (from your family), local council, carer or provider organisation – and funded support.

Options for self-directed support

Although direct payments have been around for some time, councils now have a legal duty to offer 4 options to people who have been assessed as needing a community care service:

  1. a direct payment, which is a payment to a person or third party to purchase their own support
  2. the person directs the available support
  3. the local council arranges the support
  4. a mix of the above

You may not be eligible for all of these 4 options, but whichever option you choose, you should still be made aware of the amount of your budget.

Care when coming out of hospital

Planning for leaving hospital should begin as early as possible during your stay in hospital, sometimes even before you’re admitted if the procedure/ treatment is elective.

A hospital discharge plan should include:

  • the name of the member of staff at the hospital who’s responsible for checking you’re discharged properly
  • arrangements for an assessment of your care needs, if necessary
  • details of any support, help, equipment or adaptations which are to be set up at your home before discharge, and information about who is responsible for providing these (with an idea of timescales)
  • details of any contacts to be made to the community health services, such as GP, district nurse or social worker
  • it may also include some form of reablement plan

You can ask for a copy of your discharge plan, and so can your carer or representative – if you have one – with your permission.

The following will be likely involved in discharge planning:

  • Nurse in charge
  • Consultant dealing with your case
  • Discharge Coordinator
  • Hospital Pharmacist

Any healthcare needs or equipment that should be met at home will be provided for by your local health centre this may include visits from a nurse to change any dressings you may have, although some health services are provided from the hospital, like home visits from a physiotherapist or speech therapist.

Financial Assessments and Paying for Care in Scotland

Financial Assessments

If you’re assessed as needing care services which have an associated cost attached to them, the council will also carry out a financial assessment to decide how much – if anything – you need to pay towards the cost of those services.

During this financial assessment, your local council will look at your income and savings and decide how much you can reasonably afford to contribute towards paying for services. They may also consider whether you have access to other forms of income.

You have the right to request that any financial help you’re eligible for is made to you in direct payments. This means you can arrange your own home care or employ your own home care worker. This is one aspect of self-directed support.

Funding your Care

If you are going into a care home, you will have to make a contribution towards the fees. The amount of contribution required from you depends upon several things, including how much capital you have and the care home you choose.

The payment of care home fees is a complex subject and depends on many things which are unique to you.

If you need more detailed personal advice about funding your care you can ask experienced independent advisers such as:

Advice Direct Scotland– you can contact 0808 800 9060, 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday.

Citizens Advice Scotland – look for contact details for your local branch

Age Scotland‘s – fact sheets have information on paying for care homes, you can also call their helpline on 0800 12 44 222.

Carers Support in Scotland

What constitutes a Carer?

A carer is anyone who, unpaid, looks after a friend or family member who can’t cope alone due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction.

Carers support in a number of different ways, including:

  • practical tasks like cooking, housework and shopping
  • physical support like lifting, helping someone on stairs or with physiotherapy
  • personal care like washing, dressing and helping with toileting needs
  • managing household budgets
  • collecting benefits and prescriptions
  • giving medication
  • emotional support
What is the Carers Act?

The Carers Act is designed to listen to carers, make support in different areas more consistent and stop problems from occurring – helping sustain caring relationships and protect carers’ health and wellbeing.

Under the act, every carer has a right to a personalised plan to identify what is important to them. For adult carers this is called an ‘adult carer support plan’ and for young carers (under the age of 18 or 18 and still at school), this is a ‘young carer statement’.

Carers also have the right to support to meet their eligible needs. When making support plans, local authorities must also consider whether that support should include a break for the carer.

If you are looking to get your own carers support plan, you should first contact your local council’s social care department.

Support for Carers can include:

  • Respite Care and Short Breaks, to give Carers time off from Caring
  • Access to Care Centres providing emotional support, financial planning, advocacy and more

Dementia Care in Scotland

Caring for someone with dementia is difficult not only because of the complex, unpredictable and progressive nature of the illness, but also the increasing levels of support that managing it requires over time.

Carers of those with dementia frequently have to deal with:

  • intimate personal care as the ability for self-care declines
  • spending more time on supervision, emotional support and decision-making as behaviour and personality changes
  • coping with increasing risks to safety
  • greater levels of stress as a result of increasing needs for support
  • greater financial costs of managing care

If you are looking for support with Dementia, Alzheimer Scotland have a host of resources on living well with dementia, staying independent, getting help from professionals and caring for those with dementia. https://www.alzscot.org/living-with-dementia