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OTs should empower service users to have control over personal budgets

Empowering service users can enhance their quality of life, says NICE

Published on 6th March 2019

People using adult social care services should have as much control as they would like over their personal budget, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has said.

The NICE quality standard on people’s experience using adult social care services, states that giving people who have a personal budget for social care services, funded by the local council, control over their budget allows them to exercise influence over how their care and support is provided.

"It can enhance the person's quality of life by allowing them to choose the services they believe they would benefit from. They are then more likely to engage with services and participate fully with them, which means they can achieve the outcomes identified as important to them," said the quality standard.

The quality standard adds that social care practitioners, such as social workers and occupational therapists, need to be are aware of the options for people who have a personal budget for social care services funded by the local council to use their budget for social care services.

OTs and social workers should explain to people using adult social care services the options for using the budget and the different types of support they can access to help them with this. This will give people the opportunity to consider how they wish to spend their budget and how they would like it to be held, NICE adds.

The quality standard covers the experience of adults using social care services and applies to all settings where people use social care services, including people's own homes, residential care and community settings. Its aim is to help people understand what care they can expect and to improve their experience by supporting them to make decisions about their care. It describes high-quality care in priority areas for improvement.

NICE also highlights in the quality standard that people's personal strengths, preferences, aspirations and needs should be discussed when they have a care and support needs assessment.

A care and support needs assessment that focuses on the person's strengths, preferences, aspirations and needs helps people to highlight the outcomes that are important to them. During the assessment, the person can identify how their needs impact on their wellbeing and ability to live an independent life, as well as on their goals and preferred outcomes.

"This ensures that they have autonomy in deciding what is important to them. They can then agree a care and support plan that supports them to achieve their goals and outcomes, with agreed timescales to review the plan to ensure it is still suitable for their needs. This is particularly important for people whose condition means that their needs can fluctuate," said the quality standard.

The quality statement adds that occupational therapists and social workers who are carrying out care and support needs assessments should focus the assessment on the person's strengths, preferences, aspirations and needs, agreeing these with the person, to identify the outcomes that are important to them. They should find out what people want from their day-to-day life and their long-term goals and have a good understanding of all the services available that can help them achieve this.

Furthermore, people using adult social care services need to have continuity of care and support, says NICE, as having continuity of care and support has a considerable impact on a person's wellbeing and quality of life, as it can lead to them forming positive relationships with their care workers. All of this will help the person achieve the outcomes they identified as important to them in the care and support needs assessment.

"People using adult social care services have the same team of care workers who are familiar with their needs and preferences. People are told in advance if new staff will be involved in their care and support," says the quality standard.

It concludes by saying that people using adult social care services should have their views used to inform service improvement.

"Social care practitioners [should] ensure that they support people using services to give feedback on services and that people feel safe to give such feedback. They can help to arrange independent advocacy if a person feels this would help them to express their views," it concludes.

People’s experience using adult social care services


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