Find Me Good Care is a free online service providing advice and guidance on care and support options to help people navigate their way through the care system, whether at a time of crisis or planning ahead, as well as advice on the transition from child care to adult care. It has been created by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) – the UK charity focused on improving care and support. An Ambassador of Find Me Good Care is Ann MacFarlane, OBE who is a leading Disability Rights and Equalities Consultant, focusing on health and social care as it affects older people. She specialises in Independent Living and Direct Payments and has been involved in the Disabled Peoples’ Movement in the UK for many years.
She is a consultant for the National Centre for Independent Living, an ‘Expert by Experience’ for the Commission for Social Care Inspection and works with the Social Care Institute of Excellence on Projects as well as being on the Commission for Equalities and Human Rights Age Reference Group. She is well recognised in the local community for her voluntary sector commitment and has roles within Disability and Health Organisations. Anne received her OBE in 2009 for her involvement in disability issues and her work with disabled people nationally and internationally.
Here are Ann’s top 10 tips for finding good care:
1. Find a disability or older people’s organisation locally and ask to be put in touch with a person in similar circumstances to yourself.
2. Ask if you can meet that person and take someone as ‘listener.’ This person can help you to reflect on what you have heard.
3. Make a list of your needs and then place in priority order. Think of every aspect of your life, e.g. Personal care, including hair, nails, podiatry, leisure at home and outdoors, relationships, domestic work, employment, hobbies, communication needs if you have difficulty with seeing, hearing, speaking.
4. Contact your local authority adult social care department and ask what support and information they offer, particularly around personal budgets and direct payments. They can also give you a list of residential and nursing homes. Find Me Good Care, an online website, can also provide this information and much more.
5. Contact your local umbrella voluntary action association and ask them for a directory of local groups and other aspects of community life. Ask if they have help such as a gardening or a handy person service for small household tasks. Also, if you require it, they may be able to assist with information on writing a will or organising an enduring power of attorney.
6. Go online to the Find Me Good Care website, tap in your place of residency and look at the types of information that might be of assistance.
7. If you have been ill and in hospital make sure you don’t just accept the services the hospital staff might suggest, such as the community ‘reablement’ programme. This might be of support for a few weeks and this will give you time to think of your future support needs. Ask a relative or friend to bring in the information on care and support to be found in the library, at the local council. To be avoided, if possible, is to go straight from home into a long-term residential setting. When ill, sometimes people can exert pressure, often because of anxiety, but don’t take a decision quickly that you may deeply regret later.
8. Ask the local disability or older people’s organisation for an independent advocate. So much of what you need to know initially takes time and can be tiring. While relatives and friends can be helpful sometimes it is important to have an independent advocate.
9. Find out what short and/or long-term benefits you may be entitled to receive. Much of this information is on line but organisations mentioned previously can be asked for guidance and can usually give support with filling in forms.
10. Finally, don’t give up; be persistent in your searching as life will be greatly enhanced with appropriate support.