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General information about care and support

What is care and support?

‘Care and support’ is the term used to describe the help some adults need to live as well as possible with any illness or disability they may have. It can include help with things like getting out of bed, washing, dressing, getting to work, cooking meals, eating, seeing friends, caring for families and being part of the community.

It might also include emotional support at a time of difficulty and stress, helping people who are caring for an adult family member or friend or even giving others a lift to a social event.

Care and support includes the help given by family and friends, as well as any provided by the council or other organisations.

What is changing?

From April 2015, care and support in England changed. The introduction of the Care Act has helped to make care and support more consistent across the country.

These national changes were designed to put you in control of the help you receive. Any decisions about your care and support will consider your wellbeing and what is important to you and your family, so you can stay healthy and remain independent for longer.

Some changes were introduced in April 2015 and others in April 2016.

As part of the 2016 changes, we introduced more financial help for those who need it, to ensure people with modest means would benefit too. A new form of protection from unlimited care costs was also put in place – you may have heard this referred to as the cap on care costs.

What was wrong with the old system?

As people are now living longer and with a better quality of life, the care and support needs they have are different. The way care and support is provided has to change to reflect this. The Care Act was been passed to make care and support, and the way we pay for it, clearer, easier to access and more consistent across the whole of England.

Will these changes affect me?

You may benefit from the changes to care and support if you:

  • receive care and support from your council or another organisation, either at home or in a care home
  • give unpaid care and support to an adult family member or friend
  • think you may need care and support in the near future, either for yourself or for someone you help

The changes mean that more people will be able to get the care and support they need, either from the council or from other organisations in the community. Different ways to pay for care and support will be available across the whole of England, so people should not have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for care.

People who receive care and support from the council will have more say over what sort of help they get.  And there will also be more help available for people who give unpaid care and support to an adult family member or friend.

From April 2016, financial support has been made available to more people, and everyone will be protected from unlimited care and support costs.

What’s the difference between care and support from the council and the care I receive at home from the NHS?

Care and support organised by the council can include help with everyday things like washing and dressing, getting in and out of bed, and keeping your home clean and safe.

As well as care and support organised by us, some people are also eligible to receive help from the NHS. This help may be a nursing service for people who are ill or recovering at home after leaving hospital. It could include things like changing the dressings on wounds or giving medication. If you are eligible for this kind of help, a health professional such as your GP or Community Nurse should be able to tell you.

In exceptional circumstances, where an adult has a complex medical condition and substantial on-going care needs, the NHS provides a service called NHS Continuing Healthcare. NHS Continuing Healthcare provides care and support in a person’s home, care home or hospice.   

Where can I find out more?

To find out more about how the changes have been introduced in Sandwell, please email sandwell_enquiry@sandwell.gov.uk or call 0121 569 2266.