Whats in this section?

Whats in this section?

What are Specialist Services?

Specialist services support people with a range of rare and complex conditions, this can include treatments provided to patients with complex medical or surgical conditions, rare cancers or genetic disorders.

If you are over 18 and have:

  • a learning disability;
  • a mental health condition;
  • visual or hearing loss (or both);
  • a physical disability;
  • a long-term condition such as motor-neurone disease; or
  • an acquired brain injury following a stroke or accident,

Contact your local Adult Social Care department to see if you are eligible to receive support.

If so, there are a variety of choices available to you, as with all support from Adult Social Care, your care needs must first be assessed to determine the best ways to support you (your carer can also have an assessment). You may wish to discuss your needs with your GP in the first instance.

Learning disability

Community Learning Disability Teams (CLDTs) work with adults aged 18 and over who have a learning disability and are not able to manage without the right kind of support.

They offer help and advice on problems you may be experiencing such as:

  • being listened to or understood
  • your education
  • keeping well
  • money and work
  • somewhere to live
  • things to do
  • helping others to care for you

Support can come from art therapists; community nurses; dieticians; occupational therapists; physiotherapists; psychiatrists and psychologists; speech and language therapists and your doctor.

Teams also help people with learning disabilities to get advice and support on advocacy, benefits, housing and from the police, if necessary.

Search for a Community Learning Disability Team near you in Google

Mental health

When should I seek help

You might want to seek help if you’re:

  • Finding yourself worrying more than you normally do
  • Finding it hard to enjoy life
  • Struggling with thoughts and feelings that are difficult to cope with, that are impacting your day-to-day life

How do I find help?

Your GP should be your first point of contact if you need help with a mental health condition or you are concerned about your mental health. They may refer you to your local Community Mental Health Team (CMHT).

These teams are made up of different professionals who will, with your permission, assess your mental health needs. They will then work with you to plan any support you may be assessed as needing.

Physical disability

If you have a physical disability or a long-term condition, Adult Social Care and other organisations in the independent and not-for-profit sectors may be able to signpost you to, or provide you with, a range of services to support you to live independently.

See our page on staying independent at home for more information on this.

As with all support from Adult Social Care, your needs must first be assessed to determine whether you are eligible for assistance and identify the best ways to support you regardless of eligibility. You may wish to discuss your needs with your family doctor in the first instance. 

If Adult Social Care arranges a care home placement for you, there are a few things you should check. What choice of home do you have and is this restricted by the amount of care you need? Is the provision in accordance with Care Quality Commissions standards? Does the staff team in the home have good links with Adult Social Care?

There also are services available to support someone who may be your carer.

Sensory services

Each County Council should have a sensory services team, which includes rehabilitation workers and social workers, and can provide information packs, advice and access to services as well as support from a network of national and local agencies.

The teams provide services to all adults and children who are:

  • blind or partially-sighted or have a degree of sight loss;
  • deaf or hard of hearing or have a degree of hearing loss; or
  • deafblind or have a degree of dual sensory loss.

If you care for someone with a sensory impairment, the Sensory Services teams can carry out an assessment of your needs as a carer to help you to continue to support them.

Find my local sensory impairments service on NHS Service Search.

Residential care for younger adults

If you are a younger adult receiving specialist services and residential care, a care home or care home with nursing is the best option for you, check the following things:

  • How does the home meet national essential standards of quality and safety, set out by the Care Quality Commission?
  • Does the home have close links with Adult Social Care services?
  • Does the home offer personalized, person-centred care and support to enable you to become as independent as possible?
  • Do you have choice and control over your care and support?

See our page on choosing a care home for more information


Who can get an Advocate?

You may be able to get an advocate if you are:

  • An adult who in need of care and support
  • A carer for an adult or for a child in transition
  • A young person and you are approaching the transition to adult care and support

Your local council can talk to you about advocacy and contact an advocate for you if you need one.

What will an advocate do?

Independent advocates can support you to make your own decisions and be involved in discussions about your care and support.

An advocate can support you to speak up or can do so on your behalf if you need them to.

Following contact with the local authority for an assessment, the council has a duty to arrange an advocate to support you should you need one.

Advocates can also help you to:

  • Make sense of situations
  • Understand information
  • Understand your options and make decisions
  • Tell people what you want
  • Make sure your rights are respected
  • Challenge decisions that have been made about you if you don’t agree with them

If you receive care services, advocacy should be available during your:

  • Care and support assessments
  • Care and support planning
  • Safeguarding processes
  • Care and support reviews

If you are looking for an advocacy service, see our list of advocacy services in Support Services and Trades.

What next?

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