SCIE Report 40: Keeping personal budgets personal: learning from the experiences of older people, people with mental health problems and their carers
Assessment and resource allocation
Being assessed for a personal budget
The majority of personal budget holders with mental health problems completed a self-assessment questionnaire and had variable help or support in doing so. While some said self-completion had boosted their confidence, most would have liked more help.
The level of involvement of carers of people with mental health problems in the assessment process varied considerably. Where the person they supported was confident about speaking for themselves and there were no concerns about them understanding or remembering what was discussed, carers sometimes felt it was not appropriate for them to be directly involved in the assessment. Carers who had been involved felt this had been important, especially if there were implications for their own health and wellbeing or they were going to have an active role in helping to manage the personal budget.
Many older people found it difficult to recall the detail of the assessment process and only a few mentioned having undertaken self-assessment.
Even though people with mental health problems and older people appeared to have had different experiences of the personal budget assessment process, their ideas for how it could be improved were similar. In particular they wanted:
- the level of support and the forms provided to be much more tailored to their individual needs, without assumptions being made about what certain 'groups' of people who use services could or could not do in terms of self-assessment
- a consistent contact person throughout the assessment process who knew their circumstances and whom they could get to know
- fewer people involved in the assessment process overall – but also having the opportunity to access and involve other people if required
- assessments to be focused on outcomes and to address aspirations as well as needs.
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- SCIE Report 40: Keeping personal budgets personal: learning from the experiences of older people, people with mental health problems and their carers