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Contacting Social Services for Older People

A "needs assessment" is often the first step towards getting the help and support you need.

Who to contact to request a needs assessment

Find out more about the process

On this page:

Needs assessments (community care services)

A needs assessment is often the first step towards getting the help and support you need.

A needs assessment (also called a community care assessment) is an opportunity for you to tell us about your circumstances and discuss your care needs. The aim is to reach an agreement about what help can be provided by Merton Council's Community Care Department.

During a needs assessment, a member of the Community Care Team will ask how you are managing to take care of yourself and what help you feel you may need.

The discussion in a needs assessment may include:

  • what care tasks can you do for yourself?
  • what care tasks do you need help with?
  • what care tasks can you not do at all?
  • what help do you have at present?
  • what is the best way to provide the help you need?

The discussions will only include questions which are necessary to decide what help you need.

Who will you speak to when you call us?

You will speak with a trained contact worker who can provide information and signposting.

If your enquiry is complex or if you need an assessment you will either be transferred directly to a member of one of our specialist social services teams, or we will take basic details from you and arrange for an appropriate member of our specialist social services team to call you back.

Our social services team member will discuss your situation with you in depth, provide information and advice, and may arrange services or a visit from our staff to assess your needs so that we can provide further help.  

If you are an existing client of Adult Social Services we will put you through to the person looking after your case, or take basic details from you for them to call you back.

Completing a needs assessment

A member of the Community Care Team will be allocated to complete your assessment and manage your agreed care package.

Primarily, you and your views and wishes will be central to the assessment and with your permission we will take into account the views of your family, friends and other people who know your circumstances, such as your GP and other health professionals.

Merton is committed to meeting the needs of a diverse community and will arrange a language interpreter where required to assist you in making your views known during the assessment.

How long does it take to get a needs assessment?

The Community Care Department receives requests for assessments from a large number of people and consequently gives priority to those people in most urgent need.

If this is the first time you have been referred, the Community Care Department will aim to begin your assessment within 48 hours, particularly if you are an older person.

The time taken to complete an assessment will vary depending on your situation and the complexity of the help you need. If you have complex needs, which require a very detailed assessment with input from specialist health professionals, some services may be put in place prior to the assessment process ending.

Usually assessments will be completed within 4 weeks.

In emergency situations, where someone is considered to be at great risk, interim services will be provided until the assessment is complete.

How do I arrange a needs assessment?

You should contact the service that would best meet your needs. See the service contact details below for details of all the community care services.

You can also use the online Community Care Enquiry Form form to ask about services. After you have sent in the form we will contact you to establish whether to carry out a needs assessment to decide if you are eligible to receive community care services

Carers assessment

If you have a carer she/he may need some support to continue in their caring role. A carers assessment places the carer and their views and wishes central to the assessment and provides him/her with an opportunity to say what care they provide, for how many hours they provide it and what support they feel they need to maintain the caring role.

A carers assessment can be completed as part of your needs assessment or as a separate assessment in the carers own right.

A carer can request a carers assessment in their own right regardless of whether you have had a needs assessment or not. Similarly, if you have had a needs assessment, but refuse services, this will not effect the carers right to assessment.

Will my carer be informed of the outcomes of my assessment and are the outcomes of my carers assessment shared with me?

All information collected by the community care staff is stored confidentially and will not be shared with a third person without your permission. If a carers assessment forms part of your needs assessment, the information and outcomes will be logged jointly and you will both receive copies of the outcomes. If your needs assessment and the carers assessment have been carried out as separate assessments the information will be stored separately and each of you will only be sent copies of the outcomes of your own assessment, unless you request otherwise.

Financial contributions and assessment

Will I be expected to pay for any services that I receive?

You may be asked to pay for your services in full or make a small contribution to the overall cost.  These charges are based on your ability to pay, which is determined by the completion of a financial assessment.

What is a financial assessment and how is it completed?

A financial assessment will take into account income, out goings and savings. If you are on a very low income (income support level and below) and have no savings there will be no charge. If you have a higher income and/or savings you will be assessed to pay a contribution towards the total cost of your service package. Charging arrangements are in accordance with Department of Health Guidelines.

Can I be financially supported to buy in my own care from a provider of my own choosing?

Yes it is possible for the Community Care Department to give you the money to buy your own care, rather than purchase it on your behalf. This system, which is called ‘Direct Payments’, enables you to purchase care directly from friends or neighbours. If you choose to use this system you will be responsible for recruiting and employing care staff, organising their day-day tasks and keeping records of expenditure.

Following assessment

What happens once the assessment process has been completed?

Once the assessment has been completed you will be sent a:

  • Statement of need, which is a written document that outlines all of the needs identified during your assessment.
  • Care plan, which indicates if and how those needs are to be addressed, detailing which type of service has been agreed as best able to assist/support you.
  • Service schedule or plan, which will tell you which organisation or agency, will provide the service you require and when the service will start.

At this point you will be receiving most, if not all of the services that the community care team agreed to provide.

Service provision

Whilst the Community Care Department want to support as many people as possible, there is a duty to ensure that the services go to those who most need them. Whether you qualify for a service will depend on your level of identified need when matched against set eligibility criteria.  The eligibility criterion consists of four bands as laid down by the Government. These are:

  • Critical Needs - Life is threatened/significant health problems. At risk of serious physical or mental abuse or neglect. Little or no choice and control over vital aspects of the immediate environment.
  • Substantial Needs - Only partial choice and control over the immediate environment. Abuse or neglect has occurred or will occur. There is, or will be, an inability to carry out the majority of personal care or domestic routines.
  • Moderate Needs - An inability to carry out several personal care or domestic routines.
  • Low needs- An inability to carry out one or two personal care or domestic routines.

The community Care Department will meet any identified needs that are critical or substantial, but not those that are moderate or low. However, there may be voluntary service organisations that can help you with these.

Appeals process

If you do not agree with the conclusions of the assessment you can ask for the decisions to be reconsidered. You also have the right to complain if you are dissatisfied with an assessment decision or the way in which your assessment was completed.

Reviews

Your needs and the services provided will be reviewed on a regular basis. This is to ensure both that you still require the services and that what is provided still meets your needs, which may have changed.

Who to contact to request a needs assessment

Contact name Address Telephone number
Older People - for anyone over state retirement age
60 for women/65 for men
Merton Adult Access Team
Merton Civic Centre,
London Road
Morden
SM4 5DX
020 8545 4430

Morden and Wimbledon
Community Mental Health Teams

The Lodge
Nelson Hospital
Kingston Road
Raynes Park SW20 8DB

020 8254 1000 Morden
020 8544 9799
Wimbledon
Mitcham East and Mitcham West
Community Mental Health Teams

The Wilson Hospital Cranmer Road
Mitcham
Surrey CR4 4PT

020 8687 4781
Merton Community Drugs Team

The Wilson Hospital Cranmer Road
Mitcham
Surrey CR4 4PT

020 8687 4666
Merton Community Alcohol Team

White Lodge
Springfield University Hospital
61 Glenburnie Rd SW17 7DJ

020 8682 6931
Physical and sensory Impairment
age 18 - 60/65
Merton Adult Access Team
Merton Civic Centre,
London Road
Morden
SM4 5DX

020 8545 4430

HIV
all ages
Merton Adult Access Team
Merton Civic Centre,
London Road
Morden
SM4 5DX
020 8545 4430

Learning disabilities
age 18 - 60/65

Merton Adult Access Team
Merton Civic Centre,
London Road
Morden
SM4 5DX
020 8545 4430
Complaints Customer Services Officer
Civic Centre
London Road
Morden
Surrey SM4 5DX
020 8545 3060
MASCOT community alarm scheme Mascot Centre
Wykeham Lodge
Langley Road SW19 3PA
020 8540 0355
(24 hours)
Occupational Therapy – (18 - 60/65 years) Merton Adult Access Team
Merton Civic Centre,
London Road
Morden
SM4 5DX

020 8545 4430

Occupational Therapy - over retirement age
(For equipment & adaptations)

Merton Adult Access Team
Merton Civic Centre,
London Road
Morden

020 8545 4430

Contact us

Telephone: 020 8545 4430
Minicom: 020 8545 4431
Mobile: SMS 07961 243740 (reserved for people who are Profoundly  Deaf and using SMS only)
Fax:020 8274 5961

Email adultaccessteam@merton.gov.uk

This page was last updated on Wednesday 27 February 2013