A smiling carer chats with an elderly lady

The Care Act 2014: preventing, reducing or delaying the need for care

Preventing the need for care is a very important part of the Care Act 2014. It ties in with the promotion of wellbeing, which is at the core of the Act, but if the requirement for care can be delayed, then the cost and dependency associated with care can also be delayed.

The Care & Support Statutory Guidance follows three key principles: prevention, reduction and delay. What does this mean in practice?

Prevention – for those with no current health or care support needs, organisations try to provide advice and early intervention solutions that will, for example, support and promote healthy and active lifestyles, or they may offer befriending services.

Reduction – more targeted interventions might include making adaptions to the home which would improve accessibility and promote living independently for longer.

Delay – some interventions may be taken in order to minimise the impact of disability or mental or physical deterioration. This might include providing  respite care for affected individuals or peer support groups for carers.

Local authorities have an obligation to identify services in their area to assist with these aims and may include a voluntary group or a charity.

A case study referred to in the Care & Support Statutory Guidance refers to Link Age which is a charity that “works with people 55+ and local communities to facilitate inspiring social activities that enrich lives, reduce isolation and loneliness and promote active participation”. This is a clear example of prevention and reduction being put into practice.

The guidance states, very clearly that “prevention should be a consistent focus for local authorities in undertaking their care and support functions”. Their duty extends to establishing and maintaining a  service for providing people with information and advice as to where assistance may be obtained, thus meeting their obligations under the Act. However, it is important to note that not all these services will be free and that charges may be made where appropriate. This does not apply to intermediate care and reablement of up to six weeks, or adaptions to the home, which must be provided up to the value of £1000. These latter two aspects can sometimes be overlooked, but can be vital in assisting a vulnerable person to delay the need for more involved care until later.

For more information please contact Anthony Fairweather.