Fair access to care services (FACS): prioritising eligibility for care and support
Assessment - Using the FACS framework to assess eligibility
Councils can use the eligibility criteria framework ... to identify the needs which call for the provision of services (eligible needs), according to the risks to independence and wellbeing both in the immediate and longer term.(‘Eligibility for social care’, DH, 2010, para 52)
Mrs Shah’s story – assessed as being below the threshold for eligible needs
Widowed a year ago, Mrs Shah is well supported by her family at weekends and in the evening but is alone all day. The GP referral identifies concerns that Mrs Shah is becoming unable to leave the house alone. Her assessed needs fall into the moderate band of eligibility, which does not qualify her for publicly funded support, but she and her daughter are given information about a third sector organisation which employs an Indian counsellor. Her GP is kept informed.
When implementing the section on ‘Eligibility for social care’, and working with people to determine their eligibility for local authority-funded social care, staff need:
- to explain how the levels of eligibility are defined, and discuss how individuals see themselves in relation to those definitions
- up-to-date knowledge of the council’s policies and procedures for implementing FACS (and in time the Care Bill)
- to provide accessible information and advice about the council’s policies on FACS; the levels of eligibility it has agreed to meet; how self-assessment is taken into account; the clear separation between the assessment of eligibility for help and assessment of any financial contribution to the cost; and the organisation’s procedures for receiving and acting on feedback, compliments, complaints and appeals
- to understand and communicate how an individual’s or carer’s health conditions and health care support requirements affect judgements about their social care needs and risks, and influence the assessment of their eligibility for care
- an open-minded and informed approach to providing or signposting information, advice and support for a wider group of individuals and carers seeking services
- to make sure people who do not meet the eligibility criteria, or who are self-funding, receive the necessary information and advice to plan the outcomes they want, and to make choices about the support they need to achieve these outcomes
- to understand that, where several assessment domains apply to an individual, even if these are in lower bandings, their cumulative impact and the interaction between them may lead to an assessment of need in a higher banding
- to be aware that mental impairments may require action by the local authority, such as providing support to enable fair decisions about eligibility.