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For people living with learning disabilities, there are lots of support options available. At Lifeways we understand that it is a big decision to seek help, with lots of information to gather and conversations to have. We’re here to support you to know your options and, when you’re ready, to help you take the first steps towards gaining support for either yourself or a family member. 

We’ve created the below six-step guide on who to contact, how the assessment process works, and shared the steps you’ll take if supported living is suitable for you. 

1. Making a first step

If your family is new to social care or you have never had a support package before, the very first step is to contact your GP. They will then allocate you a social care professional, who is usually a social worker employed by your local authority or council. 

Tip - If you’re not sure which local authority or council area you live in, you can find out by following this UK Government website link: Find your local council.

2. Meeting with a social worker

Your social worker will then arrange a meeting with you and your family to understand your support needs in order to complete a needs assessment. A needs assessment is a simple checklist that identifies the needs of the person needing support and helps the social worker to decide if a full healthcare assessment is required. 

3. Getting assessed

At Lifeways, we're able to support you through this process of getting a full healthcare assessment if needed, so please do get in touch with us if you'd like any advice. Please note that we provide support for adults aged 18 and onwards, including those making the transition from children to adult services. 

Lifeways will work with your care professional to arrange a full healthcare assessment. Your local Enquiry Referral and Assessment Manager will arrange a conversation either in-person, over the phone or via a video call to really understand your family’s current situation, the type of support needed, and your wishes and goals.

Here are eight key areas we collect information on:

  • Communication and decision-making
  • Health and well-being
  • Daily activities
  • Living safely and taking risks
  • Relationships
  • Finances
  • Community access
  • Emotions and behaviours

We understand that the assessment process can sometimes be a daunting or overwhelming time for you and your family members, and so we’ll always go at a pace you’re comfortable with, without rushing you for any information or decisions. This can mean that assessments sometimes take place over days or weeks, rather than completed within one session.

4. Completing an assessment

Once we’ve completed this full healthcare assessment, we carefully review the information we've gathered and assess how much support might be needed in each area. For example, your family member may need support with daily activities – or more specialised support. By reviewing the information we’ve gathered, we can create a support and funding proposal that is tailored and fits the needs of the individual.

All the relevant information we’ve gathered will then be given to your local authority or council for consideration. They will then confirm their decision in writing with you and discuss the suggested support plan with you and your family member. There will never been any pressure or obligation put on you from Lifeways to make a final decision on how you or your family member receives support.

5. Securing funding

In the UK, most social care services for adults with learning disabilities and other needs are paid for by local authorities. At Lifeways, we receive funding for our services from a variety of sources, which include personal and individual budgets, your local authority, and health funding. Working out who pays for what can be confusing, but we can help you understand how it all works and make sure you’re getting the maximum support available.

6. Choosing a new home, and moving in

It’s important to feel happy and comfortable with your choice of new home. Before a final decision on support is made you can visit any suitable Lifeways residential care or supported living services (where national restrictions allow), meet the current residents and support team, and in some cases, you may be able to stay overnight to gain a real feel for the place. 

Once you or your family member is happy with a particular residential or supported living service and the support team who work there, we can set a move-in date! Again, this will move at a pace that works for you, aiming to keep disruptions to any routines to a minimum, and we’ll be on hand throughout the whole transition process to make the move as smooth as possible.

Would you like to find out more about the support that Lifeways provides? 

If you have any questions about seeking support, funding or the move-in process, please call us on 0333 321 4881 or email [email protected] and one of our friendly team members will be happy to help.

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