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social services

Whatever your age, if you have a physical disability or a long-term illness, Cornwall Social Services, and other statutory and independent organisations, provide a range of services which can help you live as independently as possible. There are also services to help the person who looks after you (often referred to as your 'carer'). You can find out more about this and support you can get when staying at home by clicking the 'Home Care' button adjacent.

The purpose of this information is to give an overview of the type of help available to you and your carer from Social Services, and to list other organisations which may offer services appropriate to your needs. You can see if you are entitled to 'Direct Payments' an assessment scheme available from your local Social Services, which can be used to purchase your own care needs such as; domestic/personal care, respite and other needs.

Help from Social Services & care in the home

A Government White Paper, Caring for People, describes community care as 'providing the right level of intervention and support to enable people to achieve maximum independence and control over their own lives'. The Social Services Department has the lead in assessing your needs. If you have difficulty managing at home you can ask them for an assessment and this should include an assessment of the contribution of any carers. Where there are health or housing needs then Social Services should invite the Client and carers to assist in the assessment. Contact your HIV specialist link social worker or your local Social Services Area Office. The local authority may charge for services provided at home, depending on your needs but you are not charged for services provided by the National Health Service such as a district nurse.

The following are some of the services available from Social Services to help people with a physical disability or long-term illness. More information about individual services can be found in the range of Social Services information leaflets and publications available, or you can contact your nearest local Social Services office.

  • Social Workers. Social workers are available to give general advice, support and guidance on personal and financial matters. In particular, they can discuss fully with you your choices, in the event of your having to make difficult decisions, such as moving into a residential care or nursing home. They can also put you in touch with other sources of help in the community. In Cornwall there is a HIV specialist link social worker based at the Royal Cornwall Hospital - The Hub, You can speak to this specialist if you don't wish to contact your local Social Services office directly. You can find their contact details by clicking on the 'Contact Us' button adjacent.
  • Occupational Therapy Services. Occupational therapists have specialist training to help you live as independently and safely as possible in your own home. They can advise on, and arrange:

· equipment to help with daily living, including items for the bathroom and/or kitchen

· techniques which you or your carer may need to use for lifting and transferring

· minor adaptations to your home, such as stair-rails or outside hand-rails

· more major adaptations to your home

Paediatric occupational therapists specialise in the needs of children and young people with disabilities, and can advise parents and carers.

  • Housing Adaptations. Housing adaptations enable people who have disabilities to remain living independently and safely in their home, for example by building a wheelchair ramp, or a downstairs toilet. Although adaptations are carried out by the District/Borough Council, Social Services is the first point of contact. See Social Services leaflet 'Adaptations to your home'.
  • Community Development. The Community Development Team provide assessment, training, work placements, and opportunities for other daytime activities for people with a disability. Activities are arranged to meet the needs of each person, focusing on opportunities within each person's locality.

For further information, please contact the Community Development Manager at the Cornwall Council offices located at County Hall, Truro.

  • Tremorvah Industries , Truro, is a sheltered workshop operated by Cornwall Council, which provides employment and opportunities for people with disabilities, and specialises in a variety of activities. All employees are recruited by the Disability Employment Advisor (DEA) based at the Job Centre, and are trained at Tremorvah. 01872 324340
  • Echo Centre, Liskeard, is a purpose-built disability resource centre offering a wide range of services and activities to people with physical disabilities in the Caradon area. For information about opportunities at the Centre, please ring 01579 347836, or fax 01579 347733.
  • Help at home with personal care. Sometimes known as home help or home care, this can help you with day-to-day personal care, for example bathing, or dressing. The service is available, according to need, during the day and evening, seven days a week. Practical help with housework and shopping may also be available. Social Services produce a separate leaflet, 'Help at home with personal care and domestic tasks'. There are also a number of private agencies offering help at home with personal care and housework. A directory listing approved agencies can be obtained from your nearest local Social Services office
  • Help with meals. If you need help with your meals, arrangements can be made to deliver hot meals to your home, or frozen meals for you to heat up yourself. See Social Services leaflet 'Help at home with meals'.
  • Leaving Hospital. If you are going into hospital and feel that you will need extra help and care when you return home, you can either speak to your family doctor, who will ask Social Services to contact you, or contact Social Services directly. In this way appropriate arrangements can be made in advance of your return. See Social Services leaflet ‘Help at home when you leave hospital'.
  • Respite Care or short breaks. A number of schemes operate in the county and beyond to provide respite care, or short breaks away from home, to give you and/or your carer a break, including KPS Trebullom, a specialist HIV respite centre run by Kernow Positive Support (KPS), can view details by clicking on the button adjacent. The Social Services worker who carries out your assessment would be able to give you further details. You can also find out more about respite from the menu link above under 'National Support' of this page.
  • Residential Care or Nursing Homes. If you are considering residential or nursing care, a social worker can discuss fully all the options open to you, and co-ordinate any necessary arrangements for a move. He/she would also advise on the financial aspects of your change in circumstances. See Social Services leaflet 'Considering residential or nursing home care?'.

The Care Standards Department based in St Austell regularly inspects all residential and nursing homes in Cornwall, and publishes a report annually on each home. These reports are available free of charge from the Joint Inspection Unit on 01726 74297, or from your local library.

  • At a small cost, Social Services can supply the 'Orange Badge' now known as the Blue Badge Scheme to people who are registered blind or have limited mobility. This allows disabled people to park closer to shops or other facilities, in restricted areas, whether driver or passenger.
  • Carers. If you are caring for someone who has a physical disability or long-term illness, Social Services may be able to offer you a number of services to help you. See Social Services leaflet 'Do you look after a friend, relative or neighbour? Help for carers'. You can also find out more about the disabled parking Blue Badge 'Orange Badge' scheme from the link 'Blue Badge Scheme' on the button adjacent.

What about the cost of services?

There is no charge for an assessment by Social Services; visits to your home and advice from Social Services workers, including social workers and occupational therapists, are also free.

Social Services do charge for some services, such as home care, and meals at home or in a day centre. In most cases, but not always, a worker from Social Services would need to discuss your financial affairs with you privately to work out what your contribution should be. Where there are charges for services, you will always be informed what they will be.

Please note that charges for home care services are made on a weekly basis, running from Saturday-Friday. The full weekly charge will be payable for your first week, even if you begin receiving services part-way through the week. You can find out more about Social Services Direct Payment Scheme from the link at the bottom of this page.

How do I go about getting services?

You may wish to discuss your needs with your HIV consultant or GP in the first instance. If you agree between you that you would benefit from the services outlined above, your doctor can arrange for Social Services to contact you.

Alternatively, you (or someone acting on your behalf) can contact your nearest local Social Services office and ask for advice.

Cornwall Council will then arrange for someone to discuss your situation with you. This will probably be a person called a 'case co-ordinator'. Together with social services, you will work out what you need in the way of help. This is called an assessment. During this discussion you can always have your support worker, carer, a relative, or friend, to support you if you wish.

It is important to note that if your carer wishes to have an assessment of his/her own needs, this is normally carried out at the same time as your own assessment, and can be done in private if requested.

If your assessment shows that you need to receive services, Social Services will arrange these for you, and will review the arrangement regularly. More detailed information about having a Social Services assessment is given in their leaflet 'Assessing your needs'

Is there anything else I should know?

Social Services have to keep records about the people who use their services. These records are securely kept and remain confidential. More detailed information is given in their leaflet 'Access to personal records'.

If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of your assessment, or the services provided to you, Social Services will always help you to sort it out. More detailed information about sorting out complaints or problems is given in their leaflet 'How to make a comment, complaint or compliment'.

Supported housing

The district/borough councils are the largest providers in Cornwall of supported housing for people with disabilities. Properties are supported either by a resident or mobile warden, and/or an emergency communication system. There is also a variety of rehabilitation units in the county, which act as ‘half-way houses' between residential care and independent living. Your district/borough council can give you further information.

Other Social Services publications

All publications are free of charge, and are available on computer disk, in large print, and in other formats on request. If English is not your first language, a translator can be made available to help you understand this leaflet. Please contact the HIV specialist link social worker or your nearest Social Services office.

The adjacent buttons give you further information on services offered to help you.

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