Ten essential things you need to know about the Care Act.
1. What is it?
The Care Act and accompanying regulations will come into force in April 2015. It is very important as it will replace existing legislation concerned with care.
2. Anything that we should particularly note?
Absolutely, for the first time, rehabilitation services for blind and partially sighted people are acknowledged in statutory guidance.
3. How is rehabilitation defined?
The Act defines rehabilitation as “sometimes used to describe a particular type of service designed to help a person regain or re-learn some capabilities.” It goes onto specifically identify for example independent living skills and mobility training for people with visual impairment.
4. Has the eligibility criteria changed?
Yes, all local authorities will have to provide social care to people with significant care needs. This is broadly equivalent to substantial care needs. To be eligible an individual has to meet two or more specified outcomes, which must have a significant impact on their wellbeing. RNIB believe that many blind and partially sighted people often face difficulties meeting these outcomes.
5. What aid is available to people with sight loss?
Local authorities must provide minor aids and adaptations up to the value of £1,000 free of charge, for the purpose of assisting with nursing at home or aiding daily living.
6. Is there a limit to the amount of rehab available?
Rehabilitation for blind and partially sighted people should not be limited to six weeks and should be provided irrespective of a person’s eligible needs
7. How will the assessment process work?
Everyone will be entitled to an assessment of their needs, which should happen as soon as the blind or partially sighted person and local authority make contact. Local authorities cannot make a decision as to whether a person qualifies for support unless an assessment has been undertaken.
8. Can anyone carry out the assessment?
No, assessments must be carried out by a member of staff who has the appropriate skills, knowledge and competency. They must have an understanding of the condition they are assessing and should have access to someone with specialist knowledge when this is required
9. Is there any onus on councils to plan services for people with sight loss?
Local authorities must have due regard for the needs of people with a visual impairment in the provision of information and advice services
when designing services, councils need to develop a local approach and understand and plan for local needs
local authorities must maintain registers for blind and partially sighted people
local authorities should make contact with an individual within two weeks of the CVI (Certificate of Visual Impairment) being issued
10. Where can I find more information on the Care Act to share with colleagues and friends?
RNIB has produced a briefing on the key aspects of the Care Act that impact directly on blind and partially sighted people, you can download it on our Social Care campaign page.