Your care assessment can be done over the phone or in person, usually with a social worker or a care manager from the social services department. 

Types of assessment

  • Face-to-face assessment – A meeting in person with a qualified assessor, such as a social worker
  • Support self-assessment – You’re given the tools and resources to assess your own needs
  • Joint assessment – Where different agencies work together to assess you once, rather than asking you to have multiple assessments
  • Online or phone assessment – If your needs are less complex, you might be asked to complete your assessment online or over the phone. If this isn’t right for you, you have a right to ask for an assessment in person
  • Combined assessment – Where your needs assessment is combined with an assessment of your carer’s needs. You’re both entitled to separate assessments if you prefer.

Recognising that you might need care can be challenging, and so can asking for support. A care assessment will help you to understand what you need to help protect your quality of life, so it’s worth taking some time beforehand to think, and talk it through with loved ones. Here are some ideas to help you get ready:

  1. Think in advance about anything you want to talk about in the assessment and make a note of it.
  2. Make a list of your needs as you see them, including any tasks you find difficult.
  3. Keep a diary for a few days, noting the activities you find hard or can’t manage at all. Don’t forget to include notes on your mood and how you feel.
  4. Help the person assessing you to understand your health background by giving them as much detail as possible, like a list of medication or contact details for your doctor.
  5. Ask for support from a friend or loved one - they can join you for your assessment if you want them to.
  6. If you think you’ll have trouble communicating during your assessment, let the council know in advance so they can arrange the right support for you.

What to expect

You’ll be asked questions about your daily life and any tasks you’ve started to find challenging or are no longer able to do. You can expect to talk about your physical health, but the local authority should take into account your general wellbeing, emotional and cultural needs, too.

If there’s a part of your life particularly important to you and you’re worried you’ll no longer be able to carry on with it because of poor health or disability, it’s important to make your assessor aware of it.

If your assessed needs meet a set of national eligibility conditions, your local authority will then decide whether it has a legal duty to meet those needs.

You’ll meet the national eligibility criteria if you:

  • have needs because of a physical or mental impairment or illness;
  • can’t achieve two or more outcomes in the care needs listed in the box to the right;
  • have needs that are likely to significantly impact your wellbeing.

Outcomes for people with care needs

  • Managing and maintaining your nutrition
  • Washing yourself and looking after personal hygiene
  • Going to the toilet
  • Dressing yourself
  • Being safe at home
  • Being able to keep your home clean and suitable to live in
  • Keeping connected with family and friends
  • Going to work or to volunteer, or accessing training and education
  • Using services in your local community

Carers Assessment

If you look after someone else, a carers assessment will help you to access support. You’ll be eligible for help if:

  • You have needs connected with giving care, and
  • Those needs mean your physical or mental health is getting worse or at risk, or
  • You aren’t able to achieve one or more outcomes from the list below, and
  • Your needs are likely to have a significant effect on your wellbeing.

Outcomes for carers

  • Providing care to the person who needs it
  • Keeping up a safe and clean home environment
  • Managing and maintaining your nutrition
  • Keeping connected to family and friends
  • Going to work or to volunteer, or accessing training and education
  • Using services in your local community
  • Enjoying hobbies and activities

If you’re a carer looking for advice or local support services, take a look the Carers UK web page. They’re a charity that specialises in supporting unpaid carers. 

Visit their website

Need help?

Understanding your care

While they’re the most well known, care homes aren’t your only option. Find out about other potential options, such as home adaptations.

Paying for care

If you want to find out how you could pay for a retirement home, use our Care Costs Calculator.

Find care in your area

If you want to find care that's close by, you can use our Finding Care tool.