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There are various agencies involved in providing community care including: your local social work (or social care / social services) department, the NHS, private and voluntary organisations and your local council's housing and education departments.
All these professionals are there to advise you on what services are available and to help you adapt your home / lifestyle if necessary.
Local services may vary depending on where you live in Scotland. There may also be a charge for some services, depending on your circumstances.
If the person you care for is eligible for an assessment of their care needs, and you provide a substantial part of their care, you have a right to a separate assessment of your own needs under the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995.
The Carers Act does not give carers the right to services for themselves. But it does mean that carers can ask for their views, and any needs or difficulties in coping with caring, to be taken into account when deciding what services will be provided for the person needing care.
Some social services departments do offer specific support to carers, but what is available varies from area to area.
Each local council has a social work department (sometimes called social care or social services) which has a major responsibility for organising / coordinating community care services. These services can help the person you care for live as independently as possible at home and can include:
Your GP’s surgery will have a team of nurses (including a Practice Nurse, HealthVisitor, District Nurse and Health Care Assistant) who can also help. You can make an appointment with the Practice Nurse yourself, but you will need to ask your GP to refer you to the district nursing or health visiting services.
There are many additional services that can be provided in your own home. For example:
To find out what is available locally try looking online, in the Yellow Pages or phone NHS inform: 0800 224488.
The Chronic Medication Service (CMS) is an NHS Scotland service for people with a long-term condition. It is available at pharmacies across Scotland. The service is optional: if you or the person you care for has a long-term condition, you can choose whether you want to register for it.
The service can help you manage the medicines you take for your condition. Your pharmacist is an expert in medicines and will talk to you regularly to help you get the most benefit from them.
Many chemists also provide a repeat prescription and pick-up service: ask at your GP’s surgery or chemist.
Wheelchairs are a special provision that are usually funded by the NHS although more complex outdoor and motorised wheelchairs often have to be self-funded. It is important that the correct chair and cushion are prescribed for your partner’s needs. If you buy one independently, make sure you and your partner can use it. Remember it has to fit through the internal doors of your house and you may have to use ramps.
Contact your local council offices for information about travel concessions and disabled parking for your area (e.g. the Blue Badge Parking Scheme).
Self-Directed Support in Scotland: information about Self-Directed Support for people who use social care services.
Care Information Scotland: a telephone and website service providing information about care services for older people living in Scotland.
Assist UK: leads a UK wide network of locally-situated Disabled Living Centres. Most centres include a permanent exhibition of products and equipment that provides you with opportunities to see and try products and equipment and get information and advice from professional staff about what might suit you best.
British Red Cross: can provide wheelchairs for hire and short-term loans of other equipment.