A smiling carer chats with an elderly lady

The Care Act 2014: a brave new world

The Care Act 2014 (‘the Act’): a few short words, but an Act that was designed to have a big impact on the way care is provided. The Act consolidates what was a considerable raft of legislation into one statute, but it is supplemented by a very weighty (nearly 500 pages) ‘Care and Support Statutory Guidance’ (CASSG) to assist those making decisions under the Act.

As is common in recent legislation (such as the Children Act 1989 and the Mental Capacity Act 2005), the first section (s1) of the Act provides an overriding principle. In the Children Act the welfare of the child is paramount and the Mental Capacity Act refers to ‘best interests’; in the Care Act ‘wellbeing’ is the overriding principle.

Wellbeing is a very wide concept, but it is very important to those implementing the provision of the Act. Wellbeing permeates the entire Act and should be promoted and managed at all stages.

CASSG clearly states that “wellbeing cannot be achieved simply through crisis management”. This has to be correct and encourages people to consider their likely care needs well in advance of them becoming imminent or urgent. This principle applies to anyone who is vulnerable, frail, elderly or simply interested in managing their future.  An holistic approach should include all agencies involved in the care of an individual working together, so that the individual is put at the centre of any decision making process.

It is heartening to read that this is an overarching aim of the Act and it will be interesting to see how it will be implemented in practice.

For further information about elderly care issues please contact Anthony Fairweather.