The Role of Social Services
Social workers have an important role to play in mental health care and are trained to intervene to protect vulnerable people and to facilitate access to social care funding by undertaking assessment to determine eligibility. If your loved one has been sectioned and is in the hospital they are entitled to get free aftercare under Section 117 as long as the person needs it. The role of the Social Worker is to provide a needs assessment or community care assessment and this can be done in conjunction with the Hospital Trust as a person suffering with Autism and mental illness may need a joint funding package. Complex needs cases who need ongoing healthcare, maybe eligible for NHS continuing healthcare funding – a care and support package.
If the hospital determines that residential support is needed the Discharge Co-ordinator will work alongside Social Services to determine an appropriate placement. It is important that the specific needs of the autistic adult can be met by the home and that they have highly skilled staff who are able to cater for the needs of that person. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the governing body who oversees residential services to ensure they are performing to a high standard of compliance. Family should go to see these homes themselves and talk to the staff before a transfer is done to ensure they have their input. The following are a list of care options depending on the unique situation of the patient.
Residential Placements – long term placements in houses either in rural or urban locations
Specialist Rehabilitation Units – catering to complex needs of autistic adults who may need intense rehabilitation under the care of psychologists, psychiatrists and OTs. These units can provide care from 6 months up to 1 year.
Domiciliary Care: living at home with family but receiving support care package through social services.
Specialist Residential Care Homes: these homes provide care for adults with complex special needs.
Questions for families to consider when your loved one goes into Residential Placement:
- can this home meet their needs?
- an action plan when things go wrong?
- what daily activities do they provide?
- ratio of staff and support workers?
- can their room be personalized?
- staff training in autism and whistleblowing?
- how often are assessments done?
- how do they acknowledge achievements?
Care in the Community
Community care is also a legal term and applies to non-medical services funded by Local Authorities through Social Services. The Care Act 2014 states that Social Services have a duty to care, after the patient is discharged from the hospital. The needs of the patient will determine whether they need 24 hour care in a residential setting, a supported living package, or care and support package for “complex ongoing health care needs”.