Clear the filter

Send us your suggestions

We will be expanding the Jargon Buster and will consider your suggestions for inclusion.

Submit your jargon

Add the Jargon Buster to your website

Want to help visitors to your website understand social care jargon? Get the Care and Support Jargon Buster widget.

A

  • Abuse

    Harm that is caused by anyone who has power over another person, which may include family members, friends, unpaid carers and health or social care workers. It can take various forms, including physical harm or neglect, and verbal, emotional or sexual abuse. Adults at risk can also be the victim of financial abuse from people they trust. Abuse may be carried out by individuals or by the organisation that employs them.

  • Access

    The opportunity to use, get or benefit from something. If you have a disability, you may need changes to be made to enable you to have full access to everything in your community, including services, facilities and information.

    See also:

  • Access to Work

    A scheme run by the government that provides practical advice and financial support to help you work if you have a disability. It can pay for things like someone to help you communicate at a job interview, special equipment to help you do the job, or additional travel costs if you are unable to use public transport. How much you receive depends on your circumstances. You can find details of your local access to work centre at: https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work/how-to-claim

  • Accountability

    When a person or organisation is responsible for ensuring that things happen, and is expected to explain what happened and why.

  • Activated patient

    Someone who has a good understanding of their health condition and the treatment they are receiving, and is able to communicate confidently with the professionals who are caring for them. They do not just receive care but are actively involved in looking after their own health.

  • Active listening

    A way of listening that enables you to be fully heard, especially if you have dementia or difficulties with communication. Someone who is actively listening to you will be making eye contact, not interrupting, giving you their full attention, not doing other things, and checking with you that they understand what you are saying.

  • Active support

    Support for people with a learning disability that enables them to take part in all types of activities of daily life, not just 'therapy'. It focuses on activities that are appropriate for the person's age and is based on what they can and want to do.

  • Activities of daily living

    Things you do every day to look after yourself, such as eating, washing, dressing and using the toilet. An assessment of your needs will look at how well you can manage your activities of daily living, and what help and support you need.

    See also:

  • Acute care

    Health care that you receive in hospital following an injury, operation or illness. It is different to any care you may receive for an ongoing health condition from your GP, community nurse or other professionals in the community where you live.

  • Adult at risk

    An adult who is in need of extra support because of their age, disability, or physical or mental ill-health, and who may be unable to protect themselves from harm, neglect or exploitation.

    See also:

  • Adult placement scheme

    When an adult with a disability or mental health problem lives in an ordinary home with an individual or family who provides them with a place to live and support. It is like a fostering arrangement for adults: adult placement carers must be checked and approved, and the arrangement is monitored by the local council. People may be placed in someone's home for a short break or on a permanent basis.

    See also:

  • Adult social care

    Care and support for adults who need extra help to manage their lives and be independent - including older people, people with a disability or long-term illness, people with mental health problems, and carers. Adult social care includes assessment of people's needs, provision of services or allocation of funds to enable you to purchase your own care and support. It includes residential care, home care, personal assistants, day services, the provision of aids and adaptations and personal budgets.

  • Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF)

    A tool that the Department of Health in England uses to measure how well your local care and support services are doing in helping local people achieve the outcomes that matter most to them. It should help councils improve the services they offer.

  • Advance decision

    A decision you make about what medical treatment you would or would not want in the future, if you were unable to make decisions because of illness or because you lacked capacity to consent. Unlike an advance statement, it is legally binding in England and Wales. If you are thinking about making an advance decision, you should talk about this with your family and your GP.

    See also:

  • Advance statement

    A written document that lets people know what your wishes, feelings and preferences are about your future care and support, in case you become unable to tell them. (It may also be included in your support plan.) It can cover any aspect of your care, such as where you want to live and how you like to do things. You can write it yourself, with support from your family, friends, doctor and anyone else you wish. It isn't a legal document, but it may help you get the care and support you want. It is different to an 'advance decision' about medical treatment, which is a decision you can make now about whether you want a particular type of treatment in the future.

    See also:

  • Advocacy

    Help to enable you to get the care and support you need that is independent of your local council. An advocate can help you express your needs and wishes, and weigh up and take decisions about the options available to you. They can help you find services, make sure correct procedures are followed and challenge decisions made by councils or other organisations.

    The advocate is there to represent your interests, which they can do by supporting you to speak, or by speaking on your behalf. They do not speak for the council or any other organisation. If you wish to speak up for yourself to make your needs and wishes heard, this is known as self-advocacy.

  • Affective disorders

    A type of mental illness that affects a person's mood or feelings. The main examples are depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety, which may be mild or severe.

  • Agency

    An independent organisation that provides care and support services, such as care in your own home. It is not part of your local council. The council may arrange for care and support to be provided for you by a local agency, or you can arrange this yourself.

  • Aids and adaptations

    Help to make things easier for you around the home. If you are struggling or disabled, you may need special equipment to enable you to live more comfortably and independently. You may also need changes to your home to make it easier and safer to get around. Aids and adaptations include things like grab rails, ramps, walk-in showers and stair-lifts.

  • Alliance contracting

    When there is a single agreement (a contract) between a commissioner and a group of organisations who provide different services. The organisations work together, rather than competing with each other, and aim for the same outcomes.

  • Allied health professionals

    People who provide different types of health care who are not doctors, nurses or pharmacists. The description includes a wide range of roles, including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dietitians, podiatrists and others.

  • Allocated case

    When responsibility for assessing your care and support needs is given to a named worker, who will continue to work with you until you no longer need their help.

  • Ambulatory care

    Health care such as tests or treatment that you receive in hospital as an outpatient, without having to stay in overnight.

  • Appointee service

    A service that your council may offer to manage your money for you, if you are unable to do this yourself and have no family or friends who can help you. The council can receive benefit payments on your behalf, and arrange the payment of your living costs. You may have to pay the council a fee to provide this service.

  • Appreciative inquiry

    A way of finding out what works well in a particular setting, and using this information to improve the service people are offered. It is about building on what is working, rather than focusing on problems.

  • Appropriate adult

    Someone over the age of 18 who stays with you if you have a mental health problem or disability, or are perceived as 'vulnerable', and are held by the police for any reason. This person, who should not work for the police, is there to support you and help you understand what is happening.

  • Approved mental health professional

    A professional with specialist training who can be called on to arrange for a person to have their mental health assessed, to decide whether they should be admitted to hospital for their own safety or the safety of others. The approved professional's main job may be social worker, occupational therapist, community mental health nurse or psychologist.

  • Assertive outreach team (AOT)

    A specialist service that may be offered in the place where you live if you have severe mental health needs that affect your ability to manage your daily life. The team is made up of highly experienced staff, who can help you cope with all aspects of daily living, such as shopping, cooking, cleaning, taking medicine, finding education or employment, or finding somewhere to live. You are likely to be referred to an AOT by your community mental health team rather than your GP.

  • Assessment

    The process of working out what your needs are. A community care assessment looks at how you are managing everyday activities such as looking after yourself, household tasks and getting out and about. You are entitled to an assessment if you have social care needs, and your views are central to this process.

  • Assessment and treatment unit

    An inpatient unit that someone with a learning disability or mental health problem may go into for a short period, while their needs are assessed and plans are made to meet these needs. It should not become a person's permanent home. There are various reasons why a person may go into an assessment and treatment unit, including their existing placement coming to an end or their behaviour becoming a challenge for the people who care for them. The unit may be run by the NHS or by the independent sector.

  • Asset-based approach

    A way of helping people by looking at what they have, rather than what they lack. This approach helps people make use of their existing skills, knowledge and relationships. It is also called a 'strengths-based approach', and can be used as a way of improving local areas, by promoting what is good about an area rather than focusing on problems. See also co-production.

  • Asset-mapping

    Working with individuals and communities to look at the positive things that people and communities have, and at what they are able to do rather than what they lack. These positive things - assets - include people's knowledge and skills, local community organisations and the connections that exist between people.
  • Assets

    Things you have that may be valuable in money terms (such as a house), or useful in other ways (such as particular skills, knowledge or relationships).

  • Assisted living

    Housing for older or disabled people, usually privately owned, where you have your own apartment within a larger development, and support (such as help with meals or laundry) is provided to meet your own particular needs.

  • Assisted living technology (ALT)

    Products that are designed to help you live independently in your own home.

    See also:

  • Assistive and adaptive technology

    Devices or equipment to help you do things if you have a disability. The term often refers to systems that help people communicate if they have problems with speaking.

  • Assistive technology

    Equipment that helps you carry out daily activities and manage more easily and safely in your own home. Examples include electronic medicine dispensers, memory prompts, 'big button' telephones or remote controls, and pendant alarms for wearing around your neck or wrist. It also includes equipment that can detect potential hazards in your home, such as a fire or flood, or that can alert a carer or the emergency services in the event of a fall or seizure.

  • Assistive technology

    Equipment that helps you carry out daily activities and manage more easily and safely in your own home. Examples include electronic medicine dispensers, memory prompts, 'big button' telephones or remote controls, and pendant alarms for wearing around your neck or wrist. It also includes equipment that can detect potential hazards in your home, such as a fire or flood, or that can alert a carer or the emergency services in the event of a fall or seizure.

  • Audit

    A check to make sure that care is being provided in the way that it should be. An audit lets the care provider and people who use the service know what is being done well and where there could be improvements.

  • Autistic spectrum disorder

    A condition that someone is born with that affects their ability to communicate and interact with the world around them. It is also called autism, and covers a wide range of symptoms. It affects people in different ways, and some individuals need much more help and support than others.

  • Autonomy

    Having control and choice over your life and the freedom to decide what happens to you. Even when you need a lot of care and support, you should still be able to make your own choices and should be treated with dignity.



B

  • Barred list

    An official list of people who are unsuitable to work or volunteer with children or with adults who may be at risk of harm or abuse, because of their past record. If you employ someone regularly to provide personal care, you should expect them to have completed a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, which will show whether they are on the barred list or not.

    See also:

  • Barrier

    Anything that gets in the way when you are trying to get something you need. A barrier may be physical (a narrow doorway when you are in a wheelchair, for example), psychological (if you have a fear of going somewhere or doing something), or financial (if you are unable to afford to pay for the thing you need).

  • Behaviour disorders

    Health conditions such as attention deficit disorder that may lead to challenging behaviour, as well as to social and emotional problems. People with behaviour disorders may be treated with medicine and/or given psychological support.

  • Behavioural intervention

    A type of therapy that aims to help a person understand and change their behaviour, if it is causing problems for them.

  • Benefits

    Payments from the Government that you may receive because of your age, disability, income or caring responsibilities. Some benefits are universal - paid to everyone regardless of their income. Others are paid to people who have particular types of needs, regardless of their income. And others are means-tested - only paid to people whose income or savings fall below a certain level. Benefits in England are paid by the Department of Work and Pensions, not your local council.

  • Best interests

    Other people should act in your 'best interests' if you are unable to make a particular decision for yourself (for example, about your health or your finances). The law does not define what 'best interests' might be, but gives a list of things that the people around you must consider when they are deciding what is best for you. These include your wishes, feelings and beliefs, the views of your close family and friends on what you would want, and all your personal circumstances.

  • Best interests assessor

    An independent person who looks at whether someone who lacks capacity and is in hospital or a care home is there for the right reasons, and whether it is in their best interests to stay there.
  • Better Care Fund

    Money that has been given by the Government to local areas to make the NHS and local councils in England work together better. The aim is to improve your experience by moving care out of hospital and into your home and sharing information so that everyone involved in your care understands what your needs are.

  • Block contract

    An agreement between a commissioner (such as a council) and an organisation to provide a service to a number of people, for a fixed amount of time, for a fixed sum of money. The number of people who receive the service may not be fixed, and the exact type of care and support they receive may not be specified. This type of contract is not tailored to people's individual needs.

  • Broker (also known as a Care Navigator)

    Someone whose job it is to provide you with advice and information about what services are available in your area, so that you can choose to purchase the care and support that best meets your needs. They can also help you think about different ways that you can get support, for example by making arrangements with friends and family. A broker can help you think about what you need, find services and work out the cost. Brokerage can be provided by local councils, voluntary organisations or private companies.

C

  • Cap on care costs

    The law is changing so that, from April 2020, there will be a limit, known as a 'cap', on the amount you have to pay for the care and support that your council has assessed you as needing. This will be regardless of the amount you have in savings or property. The cap will apply to people of state pension age and older. There will be a different approach for people of working age, and the cap will be zero for people who have care needs at the point when they turn 18. The cap will only cover care and support that your council has assessed that you need. It will not include any costs for care and support that you have paid before April 2020. Neither will it cover your choice of more expensive care, or daily living costs such as accommodation, food and utility bills. If you are in a care home, you will have to pay a set amount for daily living costs which won't count towards the cap.

  • Capabilities

    What you are able to do, what your strengths are, and what you might be able to do if you had support or assistance.

  • Capacity

    The ability to make your own choices and decisions. In order to do this, you need to be able to understand and remember information, and communicate clearly - whether verbally or non-verbally - what you have decided. A person may lack capacity because of a mental health problem, dementia or learning disability.

  • Capacity to consent

    'Consent' is when you give your permission to someone to do something to you or for you. 'Capacity' is your ability to understand what you are being asked to decide, to make a decision and to communicate that decision to people around you. Mental capacity can vary over time. If you have capacity to consent, then you understand what you are being asked to agree to, and you are able to let people know whether you agree. See also informed consent.

    See also:

  • Care account

    An account that will be set up by your council from April 2020 to keep track of the costs of meeting your care and support needs. This will be put in place regardless of whether the council is paying for your care and support, or whether you are paying for it yourself. Once the amount that has been spent reaches the cap on care costs, the council will take over paying for the care and support services that you have been assessed as needing. If you move to a different area, your care account should be transferred from your old council to your new one.

    See also:

  • Care Act 2014

    A law passed in England in 2014 that sets out what care and support you are entitled to and what local councils have to do. According to the law, councils have to consider your wellbeing, assess your needs and help you get independent financial advice on paying for care and support.

  • Care funding calculator

    A method that some councils use to work out how much a person's care and support will cost, based on how much assistance you need with daily living. You will be asked about everything that you might need help and support with, and the calculator then works out the cost of providing that help and support. This helps councils agree a price with care providers.

  • Care market

    The full range of care and support services that are available in a particular area. This may be the local area covered by a single council, or it may be the whole country.
  • Care navigator (also known as a Broker)

    Someone whose job it is to provide you with advice and information about what services are available in your area, so that you can choose to purchase the care and support that best meets your needs. They can also help you think about different ways that you can get support, for example by making arrangements with friends and family. A broker can help you think about what you need, find services and work out the cost. Brokerage can be provided by local councils, voluntary organisations or private companies.

    See also:

  • Care package

    The range of services offered to you as an individual by your council, following an assessment of your needs. It may include day services, aids and adaptations for your home and personal care.

  • Care pathway

    A plan for the care of someone who has a particular health condition and will move between services. It sets out in a single document what is expected to happen when, and who is responsible. It is based on evidence about what works best to treat and manage your particular condition.

  • Care plan

    A written plan after you have had an assessment, setting out what your care and support needs are, how they will be met (including what you or anyone who cares for you will do) and what services you will receive. You should have the opportunity to be fully involved in the plan and to say what your own priorities are. If you are in a care home or attend a day service, the plan for your daily care may also be called a care plan.

    See also:

  • Care Programme Approach (CPA)

    An approach to care planning for people with serious mental health problems. It helps mental health services to assess your needs and work out how best to support you. You will have regular contact with a care coordinator, who may be a social worker, community psychiatric nurse or occupational therapist. The coordinator will work with you to write a 'care plan', based on your individual needs and circumstances.

  • Care Quality Commission (CQC)

    An organisation set up by the Government to make sure that all hospitals, care homes, dentists, GPs and home care agencies in England provide care that is safe, caring, effective, responsive and well-led. If you are unhappy with the care or support you receive, you can contact CQC to let them know. Although CQC cannot investigate complaints about an individual person's treatment or care, it inspects services and will use any information it receives from you to help it decide what to look at during an inspection.

  • Care records

    Information about you that is collected and kept by organisations that assess your needs and provide care and support services. Your records include basic personal details such as your name, address, date of birth, close relatives and carers, as well as information about your health and ability to carry out activities of daily living, and what has been agreed about your care and support. Your care records must be kept safely, and you should be asked if you are happy for them to be shared with people who are involved in your care. You have the right to see your own records and should receive a copy of all assessments and care plans.

  • Care worker

    A person who is paid to support someone who is ill, struggling or disabled and could not manage without this help.

  • Carer

    A person who provides unpaid support to a partner, family member, friend or neighbour who is ill, struggling or disabled and could not manage without this help. This is distinct from a care worker, who is paid to support people.

  • Carer's Allowance

    A weekly payment from the Government if you provide support to a partner, family member, friend or neighbour, who could not manage without your help. You don't have to be related to the person or live with them to be able to claim Carer's Allowance. Whether you can claim it depends on how many hours a week you provide care for, what benefits the person you care for receives, and how much you earn (but not how much money you have in savings).

    See also:

  • Carer's assessment

    If you are an unpaid carer for a family member or friend, you have the right to discuss with your local council what your own needs are, separate to the needs of the person you care for. You can discuss anything that you think would help you with your own health or with managing other aspects of your life. The council uses this information to decide what help it can offer you.

  • Case conference

    A meeting that is usually held when you are believed to be at risk of harm or abuse. The purpose is to discuss your situation and decide on a course of action to keep you safe. It will be attended by people who know you, such as your GP, community nurse or social worker. You (or your representative) should also be invited to the meeting.

  • Case management

    A way of bringing together services to meet all your different needs if you have an ongoing health condition, and helping you stay independent. If you choose this option, a single, named case manager (sometimes known as a 'key worker') will take the lead in coordinating all the care and support provided by different agencies, offer person-centred care and enable you to remain in your own home and out of hospital as much as possible.

  • Centre for Independent Living (CIL)

    A local organisation run by people with disabilities, that supports disabled people in their area to make choices about how and where they live their lives, with the assistance and support they need to live as independently as possible.

    See also:

  • Challenging behaviour

    Behaviour that may cause harm to the person or to those around them, and may make it difficult for them to go out and about. It may include aggression, self-injury or disruptive or destructive behaviour. It is often caused by a person's difficulty in communicating what they need - perhaps because of a learning disability, autism, dementia or a mental health problem. People whose behaviour is a threat to their own wellbeing or to others need the right support. They may be referred by their GP to a specialist behavioural team. The specialist team will work on understanding the causes of the behaviour and finding solutions. This is sometimes known as positive behaviour support.

  • Challenging behaviour

    Behaviour that may cause harm to the person or to those around them, and may make it difficult for them to go out and about. It may include aggression, self-injury or disruptive or destructive behaviour. It is often caused by a person's difficulty in communicating what they need - perhaps because of a learning disability, autism, dementia or a mental health problem. People whose behaviour is a threat to their own wellbeing or to others need the right support. They may be referred by their GP to a specialist behavioural team. The specialist team will work on understanding the causes of the behaviour and finding solutions. This is sometimes known as positive behaviour support.

  • Chargeable services

    Services that your local council may expect you to pay towards, such as day care or home care. The law says that the amount the council charges must be reasonable, and councils have to follow guidance from the Government, to make sure that you are not charged more than you can afford to pay. There are some services that the council is not allowed to charge you for, and these are called non-chargeable services.

  • Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS)

    Specialist services provided by the NHS for children and young people up to the age of 18 who are having emotional or behavioural problems. A young person may be referred to their local CAHMS for depression, eating difficulties, anxiety, sleeping problems, violent and angry behaviour, and other things. They can be referred by a GP or other health professional, or by school staff or a social worker.

  • Child's needs assessment

    An assessment that the council should carry out before a young person turns 18, if it is likely that they will need care and support from adult community care services. You can ask for this even if a child has not previously been receiving any services. The assessment should include a predicted personal budget, so that young people and their families can plan for the future.

  • Chronic condition

    A persistent or long-lasting illness or health condition that you live with, that cannot be cured but can usually be managed with medicines, treatments, care and support.

  • Circle of support

    Sometimes also called a 'circle of friends', this is a group of people who act as a community around a person who needs help and support. The person themselves remains in control. The group may include the person's family, friends and other supportive people from the community they live in. They are not paid, and their role is to help the person do the things they want to do and plan for new events in their life.

  • Citizen advocate

    A volunteer from your local community who can work with you if you are isolated and need some help with making your needs and wishes known and with taking up opportunities. The advocate can help you get what you are entitled to, find out what your options are, make choices and take part in activities. You can find out if citizen advocates are available in your area through local charities or support groups.

    See also:

  • Citizens Advice (also known as CAB)

    A charity that offers free, independent, confidential advice - in your local area, online or over the phone - for a range of problems. Advisers can help with things like money, benefits, housing or employment problems, and can help you find legal advice, if necessary.

  • Client contribution

    The amount you may need to pay towards the cost of the social care services you receive. Whether you need to pay, and the amount you need to pay, depends on your local council's charging policy, although residential care charges are set nationally. Councils receive guidance from the Government on how much they can charge.

    See also:

  • Client group

    A group of people with social care needs who fit within a broad single category. Client groups include older people, people with physical disability, people with learning disability, people with mental health problems, and so on.
  • Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

    A group of GP practices in a particular area that work together to plan and design health services in that area. Each CCG is given a budget from NHS England to spend on a wide range of services that include hospital care, rehabilitation and community-based. Your local CCG should work with the council and local community groups to ensure that the needs of local people are being met.

  • Clinical outcomes

    Specific changes in your health or quality of life, as a result of the medical treatment or care you receive.

  • Close care scheme

    A housing development for older people next to a care home that will provide you with personal care if you need it. This type of scheme may be a good choice for a couple who have different care needs, or a person with a worsening health condition.

  • Co-design

    When you are involved in designing and planning services, based on your experiences and ideas. You may be invited to work with professionals to design how a new service could work, or to share your experiences in order to help a service improve.

    See also:

  • Co-funding

    When you and your council both contribute to the cost of the care and support you receive. This may cover things like home care, day services or assistive technology.

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy

    A type of therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and act. It is often used to treat anxiety and depression and can help you think about how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes may be affecting your feelings and behaviour. You may see a therapist face-to-face or take a therapy course online.

    See also:

  • Cognitive impairment

    A problem with your brain that may make it difficult for you to remember things, solve problems, learn new things or make decisions. It may be mild or severe, and may be something you are born with or caused by an illness or injury.

  • Collaboration

    When individuals or organisations work together to achieve a shared goal.

  • Co-location

    When services are based in the same place or cover the same geographical area. People may not be part of the same team, but being co-located can help with collaboration and encourage them to share information and provide a better service.

  • Commissioner

    A person or organisation that plans the services that are needed by the people who live in the area the organisation covers, and ensures that services are available. Sometimes the commissioner will pay for services, but not always. Your local council is the commissioner for adult social care. NHS care is commissioned separately by local clinical commissioning groups. In many areas health and social care commissioners' work together to make sure that the right services are in place for the local population.

  • Commissioning authority

    An organisation, such as a local council or NHS clinical commissioning group (CCG), that plans the services that are needed by the people who live in a particular area.
  • Commissioning standards

    What good commissioning - planning of services - should look like, in order to improve the care and support that people receive. The standards have been created to help everyone who is involved in commissioning understand what excellent services look like, so that they can put the right care and support in place. They cover things like focusing on outcomes for people, ensuring equality, and using evidence about what works best.

    See also:

  • Communication passport

    A tool for passing on essential information about someone with communication difficulties, to help people who work with them understand who they are, what they need and how they communicate. The person's own views are recorded and information is presented in a way that is very clear and easy to read. It is a particularly important tool when people move to a new environment or when new staff or volunteers become involved with their care and support.

  • Community alarm

    A service to help keep you safe in your home by connecting you with a call centre if you need help. An alarm is installed in your home via your telephone line, and you will be given a button to press if you need assistance. The button may be on a pendant that you can wear, so it is always on you. Call centre staff are on duty 24 hours a day and can call a member of your family or the emergency services. The service is likely to be organised by your local council, and you may have to pay towards it.

  • Community capacity

    What people in local communities are able to do to help and support each other. It involves making use of resources that already exist - such as neighbourhood groups and befriending schemes - and developing new ones. It helps people find ways of meeting their own needs, and the needs of others, in the place where they live.

  • Community care services

    Social care services that can help you live a full, independent life and to remain in your own home for as long as possible.
  • Community equipment service

    A service in your area that supplies equipment to you, on loan, to enable you to live safely in your own home and remain independent. The type of equipment offered includes walking aids, bathing aids, special beds and other things that may be useful to you after a hospital stay, or to enable you to remain at home rather than going into a care home. A health professional such as a nurse or therapist will carry out an assessment of what you need. The service is likely to be a partnership arrangement between your council and local NHS organisations.

  • Community health services

    Health services that are provided outside hospitals, such as district nursing.
  • Community intervention team

    A team of different professionals from health and social care, including nurses, therapists, social workers and others, who support you in your own home for short periods. A community intervention service may be offered after you have been in hospital, or to help you avoid needing to go into hospital.

  • Community learning disability team (CLDT)

    A team made up of a number of different professionals, including therapists, nurses, psychologists and others. This team provides health advice and support to adults with a learning disability, their families and others who are involved in their care and support. Local teams support people with learning disabilities to live full and healthy lives within their communities.

  • Community Mental Health Team (CMHT)

    A team of professionals who can support you in your own home, rather than in hospital, if you have a complex or serious mental health problem. The team may include psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers and occupational therapists. Their role is to organise and coordinate your treatment and care.

  • Community psychiatric nurse

    Also known as a 'community mental health nurse', this is a specialist nurse who works in the community rather than in hospital with people who have mental health problems. They are a key part of your local community mental health team and can offer you help and support in managing your condition.

  • Community wellbeing

    An approach that looks at the health and wellbeing of the whole community, focusing on a wide range of things that can affect how people feel. This approach recognises that being well is about more than just not being ill: social and emotional factors are important too.

  • Co-morbidity

    When you are living with more than one health condition at the same time.

  • Complaint

    When you express that you are unhappy with some aspect of a service that has been provided or with how someone has acted towards you.

  • Complex needs

    You may have complex needs if you require a high level of support with many aspects of your daily life and rely on a range of health and social care services. This may be because of illness, disability or loss of sight or hearing - or a combination of these. Complex needs may be present from birth, or may develop following illness or injury or as people get older.

  • Compliance

    When a person or organisation does what is required of them. This may be an organisation such as a care provider sticking to the law about what they should do and how they should do it. It may also be an individual doing something like taking their medicine regularly.

  • Confidentiality

    Keeping information about someone safe and private, and not sharing it without the person's knowledge and agreement. Any information you provide about yourself should be protected carefully, and should only be shared with people or organisations who genuinely need to know it. Your personal details should not be discussed without your agreement.

  • Congenital disorder

    A condition that a person is born with rather than something they develop during their life.

  • Consent

    When you give your permission to someone to do something to you or for you.

  • Consultation

    An invitation to express your views and opinions about a particular service or proposed change, before any final decisions are taken. Your local council, NHS and organisations that provide services may consult you before making a change that will affect you. You may be able to give your views in writing or in discussion at a meeting.

  • Continuing health care

    Ongoing care outside hospital for someone who is ill or disabled, arranged and funded by the NHS. This type of care can be provided anywhere, and can include the full cost of a place in a nursing home. It is provided when your need for day to day support is mostly due to your need for health care, rather than social care. The Government has issued guidance to the NHS on how people should be assessed for continuing health care, and who is entitled to receive it.

  • Continuity of care

    There are two meanings to the phrase 'continuity of care': seeing the same doctor or other care professional every time you have an appointment, or having your care well coordinated by a number of different professionals who communicate well with each other and with you. It is particularly important if you have a long-term condition or complex needs.

    See also:

  • Coordinated care

    A way of joining up all the care and support offered to someone with complex needs by getting people and processes to work together. It means considering what you need as a whole person, not just treating each type of symptoms separately.

  • Co-production

    When you as an individual are involved as an equal partner in designing the support and services you receive. Co-production recognises that people who use social care services (and their families) have knowledge and experience that can be used to help make services better, not only for themselves but for other people who need social care.
  • Cost-effectiveness

    A comparison of how much something costs in relation to how much benefit you get from it. Looking at cost-effectiveness can help you decide what to spend money on. Councils and other organisations do the same thing.

    See also:

  • Counsellor

    Someone who is trained to listen and help you think through particular problems or issues and how you feel about them.

  • Court of Protection

    An English court that makes decisions about the property, finances, health and welfare of people who lack mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. The court can appoint a 'deputy' to make ongoing decisions on behalf of someone who lacks capacity. It is also able to grant power of attorney.

  • Crisis intervention

    A way of helping people cope at a time of crisis when they are overwhelmed, and enabling them to remain in their home. It is used with people who have mental health problems, and with families who are facing challenges.

  • Cross-border placement

    When your local council finds a place for you in a care home in another council area. This may be because you have requested it, in order to be nearer your family or friends, or because there is no suitable place available in a care home in your home area. You should be involved in any decision to move to a new area, and it cannot happen without your agreement. If you move, your council should let the other council know that you are there, and they should agree which council is responsible for your care.

D

  • Daily living costs

    An amount you have to pay to cover things like rent, food and bills if you live in a care home. When the cap on care costs is introduced in April 2020, daily living costs will be excluded from your care account. When you reach the cap and the council is paying for your care and support, you will still be responsible for contributing to your daily living costs.

  • Day services

    Opportunities to do things during the day, while living in your own home. These may include social activities, education, or the opportunity to learn new skills. What your local council offers will vary, depending on what you need and what is available in your area. You may have to pay something towards the cost.

  • Decommissioning

    Removing or replacing a service. In the case of a local service that provides care or support, the council as commissioner may stop using it or paying for it. This may mean the service will close.

  • Deferred payments

    If you need residential care, the council will assess what you need and whether you can afford to pay for a care home. You may only be able to pay care home fees if you sell your house. If this is the case, the council may help pay the fees while you wait for your house to be sold. You would still have to pay as much as you can during this time, based on your income or available capital. Once the house is sold, you would then have to repay the council. In certain circumstances councils will have to offer this scheme to people. Broadly this is when someone has limited savings other than the value of their property.

  • Deficit model

    A traditional approach to assessing your needs that looks primarily at what you are unable to do and what your weaknesses are. It should no longer be used, as it is the opposite of an asset-based approach and the reverse of personalisation, where you have control over your life.

    See also:

  • Dementia advisor

    Someone who knows a lot about dementia and supports you if you, or someone you are close to, has been diagnosed with dementia. The advisor will listen to your questions and concerns, and offer signposting to services that might help you.

  • Deprivation of assets

    When you deliberately reduce the amount of savings or property you have, in order to qualify for help from your council with paying for care costs or for various benefits. Your council may judge that you have deliberately reduced your assets if it believes that you knew you would probably need care and support.

  • Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

    Legal protection for people in hospitals or care homes who are unable to make decisions about their own care and support, property or finances. People with mental health conditions, including dementia, may not be allowed to make decisions for themselves, if this is deemed to be in their best interests. The safeguards exist to make sure that people do not lose the right to make their own decisions for the wrong reasons.

  • Developmental disability

    A type of disability that affects the development of a person's brain, causing them difficulties throughout their life with things like

    speaking, moving, learning and living independently.

  • Dignity

    Being worthy of respect as a human being and being treated as if you matter. You should be treated with dignity by everyone involved in your care and support. If dignity is not part of the care and support you receive, you may feel uncomfortable, embarrassed and unable to make decisions for yourself. Dignity applies equally to everyone, regardless of whether they have capacity.

  • Dignity in Care

    A national campaign to put dignity and respect at the centre of care services in the UK.

  • Direct payments

    Money that is paid to you (or someone acting on your behalf) on a regular basis by your local council so you can arrange your own support, instead of receiving social care services arranged by the council. Direct payments are available to people who have been assessed as being eligible for council-funded social care. They are not yet available for residential care. This is one type of personal budget.

    See also:

  • Disability-related expenses (DRE)

    Money that you have to spend on things because of your disability, that you would not have to spend otherwise. This may be for things like extra laundry, high heating bills or special clothes. The law says that your council should look at these expenses when it does a financial assessment, to work out how much you can reasonably afford to pay for chargeable services.

  • Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)

    A grant you might be able to get from your local council in order to make changes to your home because you have a disability. Changes include things like widening doors, adding ramps or installing a downstairs bathroom. If the person with a disability is an adult, your household income and savings will be looked at, and you may need to pay towards the cost of the work. If the person is under 18, the family can get a grant without the parents' income being taken into account. If you want to apply for a DFG, you should contact your local council. This applies to England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but not Scotland.

  • Discharge planning

    If you go into hospital, this is the process of planning when you will leave, where you will go, what you are likely to need once you are out of hospital, and how your needs will be met. You should expect discharge planning to begin as soon as you go into hospital. You should also expect to be part of these discussions and to know what is happening.

    See also:

  • Discharge summary

    A report or letter that is sent to your GP when you have stayed in hospital, so that your GP knows what has happened and what you need. You should also be given a copy. The report should explain why you were in hospital, what treatment you received, the results of any tests that were done, what changes may have been made to your medicines, and any follow-up care that is needed.

    See also:

  • Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS)

    A government organisation that checks people's criminal records, in order to prevent unsuitable people from working with children or adults who may be at risk of harm or abuse.

    See also:

  • Discretionary services

    Services that your council may offer that it doesn't have to provide by law. These are also known as 'non-statutory services'. (Services that the law says councils have to provide are called 'statutory services'.) Examples of discretionary services include leisure centres, libraries and lunch clubs.

  • Discrimination

    Treating a person, or a group of people, differently to other people because of their sex, age, race or other things. It usually means treating the person unfairly and not offering them the same opportunities as other people.

  • Diversity

    Recognising and respecting people's differences in race, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, and other things. Valuing and including people from different backgrounds, and helping everyone contribute to the community.

  • Dual diagnosis

    A combination of severe illness and problematic drug or alcohol use. These two things are closely linked for many people. People with a dual diagnosis often have serious physical, social and psychological problems.

  • Duties

    In relation to a public organisation such as your local council, duties are things that the law tells the organisation it must do. (Services that the council has a duty to arrange or provider are known as 'mandatory' services.) With regard to care and support, your council has a duty to assess your needs, arrange care and support if you are entitled to it, and provide you with information about what care and support is available.

  • Duty of candour

    When something goes wrong with the health or social care that is provided to you, the organisation that provides the care has a legal duty to be open with you, to explain what has happened and to apologise to you.

E

  • Early intervention

    Action that is taken at an early stage to prevent problems worsening at a later stage. It may apply to children and young people, or to help that is offered to older people or people with disabilities to enable them to stay well and remain independent. See also preventive services.

  • Education, Health & Care (EHC) plan

    A legal document for a child or young person up to the age of 25 if they have a disability or special educational needs (SEN). It describes the child or young person's particular educational, health and social needs, and sets out the support and extra help they should have to meet those needs, and how this will support them to achieve what they want in their life. EHC plans replaced SEN statements on 1 September 2014. Children who currently have a SEN statement are being gradually transferred to a EHC plan. EHC plans are developed by the child or young person's local council, which is responsible for carrying out an education, health and care needs assessment and deciding whether a EHC plan is needed.

  • Eligibility

    When your needs fit the criteria that allows you to receive a service.
  • Eligible care and support needs

    The needs you have for care and support that your council is required by law to meet. Under the Care Act 2014, councils no longer decide for themselves what type of needs they will meet, and now have to follow the new national minimum eligibility threshold. You are likely to have 'eligible needs' if you need a lot of help to do things like washing yourself, getting dressed, getting in and out of bed, and keeping your home safe.

  • Enablement

    A way of helping you to become more independent by gaining the ability to move around and do everyday tasks for yourself. You may be offered an enablement service if you have lost some daily living skills because of poor health, disability or a hospital stay. It usually lasts for around six weeks, takes place in your own home, and you won't have to pay.

  • Enforcement action

    Action that can be taken to make sure that organisations such as care providers do what the law says they should. A regulator such as the Care Quality Commission can issue warnings to services that are not up to standard, make them pay a fine, or ultimately close them down if they do not improve.
  • Equality

    When every individual person has an equal opportunity to make the most of their life and is treated fairly, regardless of their race, gender, disability, belief, sexual orientation or age.

  • Evidence-based practice

    When doctors or other care professionals use the best available evidence about what works most effectively, including evidence from people who have lived with a particular health condition, when deciding what treatment, care or support to offer you as an individual.

  • Exchange model

    A form of assessment that is based on a two-way discussion of what your needs are and how they could be met. This approach recognises you as an expert in your own needs, and expects you will work in partnership with a social worker who can help you find solutions.

    See also:

  • Expert Patients Programme (EPP)

    A programme of weekly classes to help you manage your own health and live as well as possible with a long-term condition. EPP courses take place across the country and cover all types of health conditions. You can find out about them by calling Self Management UK on 0333 445 840.

  • Extra-care housing

    Similar to sheltered housing, but with additional care and support available for people with illnesses or disabilities who wish to have a home of their own. Extra-care housing may be an option if living alone at home is difficult, but you do not wish to opt for residential care. It allows you to have your own home, either rented or bought, with personal care and domestic help readily available.

    See also:

F

  • Fairer charging

    Guidance to councils from the Government on how much they should charge you for things like home care and day services (but not a care home). You should not be charged more than is 'reasonable' for you to pay, or more than it costs to provide the service.

  • Family group conference

    When family members are invited to get together to make a plan to support and protect a child or adult who is at risk of abuse or neglect. Families can choose whether or not they wish to take part in this process, and are helped by an independent person. The aim is to make it possible for families to problem-solve, and to avoid blaming anyone.

    See also:

  • Financial assessment

    A discussion that your council may have with you to work out how much you can afford to pay towards the care and support you need. It involves looking at your income, savings and individual circumstances. This will take place after an assessment of your care and support needs.

  • Fluctuating needs

    Care and support needs that change over time, or that vary from day to day. A new law in England (the Care Act 2014) says that councils should ask, as part of your assessment, how your needs vary, and should look at you over a long enough period of time to get a complete picture of your needs. If you have fluctuating needs, your care plan or support plan should say what you want to happen if you have a sudden change or an emergency.

  • Formal patient

    Someone who is held in a mental health ward in hospital and is not allowed to leave - by law - for their own safety or the safety of others. This is sometimes described as being 'sectioned'.

    See also:

G

  • Gap analysis

    The process of looking at what exists and what is needed. This can apply to looking at what services are needed for people in a particular area, comparing it with what already exists, and seeing where the gaps are. This enables commissioners to plan for the future.

  • Gateway worker

    A mental health worker such as a nurse, social worker, occupational therapist or psychologist, who can help you with problems such as mild depression, anxiety or stress. Gateway workers work closely with GPs and can give you information and advice about support services in your area that may be helpful for you. You may see a gateway worker at your GP surgery or in your own home.

H

  • Handyperson service

    A local service that offers help with small, practical jobs in your home, to make your life easier and your home safer. It includes jobs like putting up curtain rails, replacing light bulbs or fitting smoke alarms. It is not an emergency service. It may be run by the council, a charity or a private company, and you are likely to have to pay something towards it.

  • Health Action Plan

    A personal plan for young people and adults with a learning disability about how to stay healthy and what help and support they may need to look after their health.

  • Health and Wellbeing Board

    Every council area in England has a Health and Wellbeing Board to bring together local GPs, councillors and managers from the NHS and the council. Their job is to plan how to improve people's health and make health and social care services better in their area. Members of the public have the chance to be involved in the work of their local Health and Wellbeing Board through your local Healthwatch.

  • Healthwatch England

    A national organisation that represents people who use health and care services in England. It is independent, and exists to gather and represent the views of the public, but does not have the power to change how things are done. It reports problems and concerns to the Care Quality Commission, which has the power to make changes. There is a local Healthwatch in every council area.

  • Holistic care

    Care and support that treats you as a whole person and considers all your needs at the same time - physical, psychological, social and spiritual.

  • Home care

    Care provided in your own home by paid care workers to help you with your daily life. It is also known as domiciliary care. Home care workers are usually employed by an independent agency, and the service may be arranged by your local council or by you (or someone acting on your behalf).
  • Homeshare

    An arrangement where someone who needs some help to live independently in their own home (the householder) is matched with someone who needs a place to live in return for the help they can provide (the homesharer). Homesharers help around the house and provide company, but do not provide personal care. There are homeshare organisations in a number of areas to match up householders and homesharers.

  • Horizon scanning

    A way that organisations plan for the future by looking ahead at how an area might change, what people's needs are likely to be, and which services are likely to be available and which will need to be developed.

'

  • 'I' statements

    What good care and support looks like from your perspective, with your feelings, beliefs and experiences expressed as a statement that begins with the word 'I'. For example: 'I am in control of planning my care and support.'

    See also:

I

  • Impairment

    A physical or mental problem, caused by an injury, illness or condition you were born with.

  • Implied consent

    When you are not specifically asked if you agree to something being done to you, but you behave as if you understand and agree. For example, putting your arm out when a nurse or doctor comes to take a blood sample suggests 'implied consent' on your part. Implied consent also applies if you are unconscious in an emergency. Medical staff may assume that you would agree to treatment if it is necessary to save your life.

  • Inappropriate care

    Care that is not best for you and does not meet your particular needs, that is not in a place where you need or choose to be.

  • Inclusion

    Meeting the needs of everyone in a community by taking action to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable, respected and able to achieve their potential. It means treating people as equals and removing barriers that may stop them participating in an event or activity.

  • Independent living

    The right to choose the way you live your life. It does not necessarily mean living by yourself or doing everything for yourself. It means the right to receive the assistance and support you need so you can participate in your community and live the life you want.

  • Independent Living Fund (ILF)

    A government organisation that provided financial help to people with a severe disability who chose to live in their own home rather than in residential care. Payments were made directly to individual people, in addition to any funding they received from their council. The ILF is due to close in June 2015. If you currently receive ILF payments, your council will be responsible for discussing with you what your needs are and how they may be met.

  • Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA)

    An independent person who is knowledgeable about the Mental Capacity Act and people's rights. An IMCA represents someone who does not have capacity to consent to specific decisions, such as whether they should move to a new home or agree to medical treatment. The law says that people over the age of 16 have the right to receive support from an IMCA, if they lack capacity and have no-one else to support or represent them.
  • Independent personal budget

    A statement provided by your council, if you arrange and pay for your own care, which sets out what it would cost the council to meet your eligible care and support needs. From April 2020, the costs set out in your independent personal budget will count towards the cap on care costs.

  • Independent sector

    Organisations that are independent of the NHS, councils and other publicly-run bodies. Independent sector organisations may be voluntary and non-profit-making, or they may be private organisations that exist to make a profit. The majority of care and support services are provided by the independent sector (even if they are funded by your local council). Some health services are also provided by the independent sector, with NHS funding, so that they are free for you when you use them.

  • Independent supporter

    A trained person who provides advice and support, independent of the local council, to parents whose child is being assessed for an Education, Health and Care plan. Independent supporters often work for a charity. They can explain the process, help you to work out how the Local Offer can help, and ensure you have all the information you need.

  • Indicative personal budget

    An approximate guide to how much money you may receive in your personal budget to help meet your care and support needs. It is estimated by the council using the Resource Allocation System, following their assessment of your needs and your finances. It is not an exact figure: the final amount is agreed later, based on the actual cost of the support you need, as set out in your support plan.

  • Individual Service Fund (ISF)

    If you want to use your personal budget from the council to pay for support (such as home care) from a particular provider, the money can be held by that provider in an Individual Service Fund. You remain in control of what the money is spent on, but you don't have the responsibility of managing the budget yourself.

  • Informal patient

    Someone who is in a mental health ward in hospital who is there by choice and can leave if they wish. This is different to a formal patient, who does not have the freedom to leave.

    See also:

  • Informed consent

    When you have received the right information to enable you to decide whether to allow someone to do something to you or for you. You should only give consent if you understand what you are being asked to agree to, what the benefits and risks might be, and what the alternatives are if you do not agree. See also capacity to consent.
  • Integrated Care

    Joined up, coordinated health and social care that is planned and organised around the needs and preferences of the individual, their carer and family. This may also involve integration with other services for example housing.
  • Integrated personal budget

    A single personal budget that covers the health and social care services you may need. It is being introduced gradually, and is currently only available in some areas. Also known as a 'joint personal budget', it means you have a single care plan, control of the money needed to fund your care and support, and can make decisions about how this money is spent to best meet your needs.

  • Integrated Personal Commissioning

    A programme that is available in some areas that combines health and social care funding for you as an individual, if you have complex needs. It allows you to decide and plan for yourself how the money should be spent to meet your needs, keep you well and avoid a crisis.

    See also:

  • Inter-agency

    Where more than one organisation is working together on something.

  • Interim provision

    Care arrangements that are made while you are waiting for a permanent arrangement to be put in place.

  • Intermediate care

    A wide range of services aimed at keeping you at home rather than in hospital, or helping you to come home early from hospital after illness or injury. It is normally made up of a specific programme of care for a fixed period of time, usually up to six weeks, and is free of charge. See also reablement.

  • Intervention

    Action of some kind where someone gets involved to improve a situation or prevent it getting worse.

J

  • Joint assessment

    There are two possible meanings to the term 'joint assessment': having the needs of the person who cares for you assessed at the same time as your own needs, or having an assessment carried out by more than one type of care professional at the same time.

    See also:

  • Joint commissioning

    When two or more organisations in a local area - usually the NHS and local council - work together to plan services to meet the needs of people who live in the area. Together the commissioners plan what kind of services should be available, who should provide them and how they should be paid for.

    See also:

  • Joint strategic needs assessment

    The process of identifying the future health, care and wellbeing needs of the population in a particular area, and planning services to help meet those needs. This process is led by your council, working with the NHS and private and voluntary organisations in your area.

K

  • Key worker

    A person who acts as a single point of contact for you, helps coordinate your care and can give you information and advice.

    See also:

  • Kinship care

    When family or friends care for a child on a full-time basis if their parents are unable to do so. This may be for a short period or permanently.

L

  • Learning disability

    A term that is used to describe a brain impairment that may make it difficult for someone to communicate, to understand new or complex information, or to learn new skills. The person may need help to manage everyday tasks or live independently. Learning disability starts in childhood and has a lasting effect on a person's development. It can affect people mildly or severely.

  • Local area coordination

    An approach that is being used by some councils to help people live better, less isolated lives in their home area. Local area coordinators help people make the most of what is available locally, and make sure that communities are supportive and welcoming to older people and people with disabilities, mental health problems or other needs.

  • Local offer

    This relates to services for children and young people up to the age of 25 who have special educational needs or a disability. All councils are required to publish a local offer that sets out in a single place what services are available in their area, so that parents and carers can see what exists and how to access it.

  • Locality commissioning

    When a group of organisations in a local area come together to combine their funds and create a single process to plan and pay for the services that are needed in that area.

    See also:

  • Long-term condition

    An illness or health condition that you live with, that cannot be cured but can usually be managed with medicines or other treatments. Examples include asthma, diabetes, arthritis, epilepsy and other things.

M

  • Mainstream services

    Services that are open to everyone. These are the opposite of specialist services, which are designed for people with specific needs. They include education, employment, housing and health services.

  • Managed budget

    When your council allocates an amount of money to you as a personal budget, you can take this either as cash through a direct payment or as a managed budget (also known as a virtual budget). If you take it as a managed budget, the council manages the money for you to arrange the services you choose, and you aren't responsible for paying directly for the services you receive.

  • Market facilitation

    The process by which councils make sure that there is a variety of care and support services in their area to meet all the different needs of everyone who lives in the area. Councils need to have a good understanding of what people need, where the service providers are, and where the gaps are.

  • Market management

    When a commissioner such as a council controls which care and support services are available in their area, through the choices they make about who they place contracts with.

  • Market position statement (MPS)

    A description of what care and support services are available in a particular area, what services will be needed in the future, and what the commissioner will do to make sure that the services people need are available (regardless of who funds them). Every council has to produce a MPS, which should contain detailed information on what is needed in the area and what the council's plans are.

  • Market shaping

    The way in which a council looks at what people's care and support needs are in the local area, considers what care and support services are available in that area, and works out where the gaps are and how they can be filled. The aim is to make sure that people can find care and support that meets their needs, and that a variety of options are available to suit people's individual circumstances and preferences.

  • Means-tested contribution

    If the council assesses your needs and finds you are entitled to care and support, it will then carry out a financial assessment. This is to work out how much you can afford to pay for the services you receive. The amount you pay is your means-tested contribution, based on how much money you have.

  • Mediation

    A way of solving disputes or disagreements without going to court. It involves meeting with the person you have a disagreement with, alongside a mediator who is a trained, independent person. The aim is to find something you can agree on. Mediation can take place between family members, or between an individual or family and a care professional.

  • Medical device

    An object - not a drug - that is used to diagnose, prevent or treat illness or look after your health. There are many kinds of medical device, from the simple to the highly complex. A thermometer, an implant, an artificial limb and a wheelchair are all examples of medical devices.

  • Mental Capacity Act

    A law that is designed to protect people who are unable to make decisions about their own care and support, property or finances, because of a mental health condition, learning disability, brain injury or illness. 'Mental capacity' is the ability to make decisions for yourself. The law says that people may lose the right to make decisions if this is in their best interests. Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards are included in the law, to make sure that people are treated fairly.

  • Micro-commissioner

    An individual who commissions their own care and support through personalisation and direct payments or a personal budget.

  • Minimum income guarantee

    A way of keeping some of your income when you have to pay for all or some of the care you receive in your own home. When the council carries out a financial assessment, it must make sure that your care costs do not cause your income to fall below a certain level. There is a different arrangement if you live in a care home, where you will have a personal expenses allowance.

  • Mixed budget

    If you want to arrange and manage some of your personal budget yourself, and want the council to arrange the rest, you may have the option of a mixed budget.

  • Model of care

    A way of providing care based on a set of beliefs and principles about what is right and works best. There are various different ways of providing care, and each organisation will decide which model to use.

  • Monitor

    An organisation set up by the Government to make sure that NHS foundation trusts in England (NHS bodies that have been given greater independence) are run well. It sets the prices that hospitals are allowed to charge commissioners and works closely with the Care Quality Commission. It does not have the power to investigate complaints about an individual person's treatment or care.
  • Morbidity

    A state of poor health, due to a specific illness. 'Co-morbidity' refers to several different types of illness that you may have at once.

  • Motability

    If you receive a mobility allowance from the Government, you can use the payments you receive to hire a car, scooter or powered wheelchair from a specially established charity, Motability. Your mobility allowance payments then go directly from the Government to Motability. The scheme includes the cost of insurance, breakdown assistance and repairs. You do not own the vehicle, and it is replaced every few years.

  • Multidisciplinary team

    A team of different professionals (such as doctors, nurses, therapists, psychologists, social workers, and others) working together to provide care and support that meets your needs. The team brings together many different types of knowledge, skills and expertise, and should look at you as a whole person.

  • Mutuality

    People working together to achieve something that they both, or all, want to achieve. Everyone has something they are responsible for doing, and something they can expect to receive.

N

  • Named social worker

    A single social worker who is allocated to you as a point of contact.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

    An organisation that provides advice and guidance to improve health and social care services in England and Wales. It looks at all the evidence on what works and what doesn't and how much it costs, and advises on what treatment and care should be offered to people. It doesn't have the power to insist that its guidance is followed in local areas.

  • National minimum eligibility threshold

    The level at which your needs reach the point that your council, by law, has to meet them. From April 2015, every council in England will have to offer care and support services to adults who have a lot of care needs. This replaces the previous situation, where each council made its own decision about what level of need it would meet.

  • Natural support

    Support that may already be there for you, provided informally by your family or friends. It exists 'naturally' and in the relationships you have, and does not have to be formally planned or commissioned.

  • Necessary care

    Care and support provided by an unpaid carer - a family member or friend - to help the person being cared for to do things that they are unable to do for themselves. If you are a carer and provide necessary care to someone, your council should consider paying for you to have some support. You may wish to request a carer's assessment.

  • Needs assessment

    The process of considering whether you need help or support because of your age, disability or illness. Anyone who appears to have a need for care or support - regardless of how severe those needs are or how much money they have - is entitled to a needs assessment, which can be arranged by contacting the adult social services department at your local council and requesting it.

    See also:

  • Needs-led provision

    When care and support services are adapted to your particular needs, rather than your needs having to fit into the services that already exist. This approach can apply to health and care services and to education.

  • Neglect

    When you are mistreated by not being given the care and support you need, if you are unable to care for yourself. It may include not being given enough food, or the right kind of food, being left without help to wash or change your clothes, or not being helped to see a doctor when you need to.

    See also:

  • Neurodiversity

    Variations between individual people in the way their brains and minds work. The neurodiversity movement campaigns for acceptance and equal rights for people with conditions such as autism and ADHD.

  • Neurotypical

    A word to describe someone who has a brain that functions in a typical way and who does not have an autistic spectrum disorder or a developmental disability.

  • NHS Local Area Teams

    Teams in each council area that are responsible for buying services for local people from GPs, dentists and pharmacists.

    See also:

  • Nominated individual

    A person who leads a care service (such as a care home or home care agency) and makes sure that the service is safe and good enough quality. The nominated individual is the service's main point of contact with the Care Quality Commission. (The term 'nominated person' means something different, and is defined separately.)

  • Nominated person

    If you receive direct payments from the council to arrange your own care and support, you can choose someone you trust to receive these payments on your behalf. This person is called your 'nominated person' and is different to a 'suitable person', who receives direct payments on behalf of someone who does not have mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.

  • Non-chargeable services

    Care and support services you receive in your home or in your community that the local council does not charge you for. The law prevents councils from charging for certain things, including assessments and advice about services. On other things (including day care, home care, domestic help and equipment and adaptations), each council makes its own decisions about which services it will charge for and how much the charge will be.

O

  • Occupational therapist

    A professional with specialist training in working with people with different types of disability or mental health needs. An OT can help you learn new skills or regain lost skills, and can arrange for aids and adaptations you need in your home. Occupational therapists are employed both by the NHS and by local councils.
  • Older people

    Older people are the largest group of people who use adult social care services. Many councils define people over the age of 50 as 'older', but social care services for older people are usually for people over the age of 65 - unless you have particular needs that make you eligible before this age.

  • Ombudsman

    Someone appointed by the Government or Parliament to investigate your complaints about an organisation or service. In England, if you have made a complaint about the NHS that you think has not been fully dealt with or you are unhappy with the response, you can ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to look at your complaint. If you have made a complaint to a council, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman if you haven't had a response within a reasonable time or if you are unhappy with the result.

  • Ordinary residence

    The place where you live, or main home, which determines which council will assess your needs and potentially fund any care and support you need. If you have more than one home, councils follow guidance from the Government to help them decide which one is your main home, and which council should fund your care.

  • Out of area placement

    If you need residential care and your council is arranging this, you may be offered a place outside your home area. This may be because there is nowhere suitable for you to move into in your home area, or because you want to move to a different area. Your home council remains responsible for checking that the care you are receiving is right for you and continues to meet your needs.

  • Outcomes

    In social care, an 'outcome' refers to an aim or objective you would like to achieve or need to happen - for example, continuing to live in your own home, or being able to go out and about. You should be able to say which outcomes are the most important to you, and receive support to achieve them.

  • Outputs

    The things that an individual or organisation produces as a result of the work they do. Outputs are not the same as outcomes, which refer to the things you hope to achieve. For example, the output of a care agency is the number of hours they spend providing you with a care service. The outcome for you is that you remain in your own home.

  • Outreach

    Support that you may be offered in your home or community, to help you with a particular condition or course of treatment or to help you take part in activities outside your home.

  • Overview and Scrutiny

    The part of your local council that looks at decisions - including decisions affecting people with care and support needs - made by the council's elected decision-makers. In many councils, the main decisions are made by councillors in the Cabinet. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which is made up of councillors who are not in the Cabinet, reviews these decisions, asks questions, investigates issues affecting the local area, and makes recommendations. If you are unhappy about your council's policy on some aspect of the care and support you need, you could contact your local councillor or the chair of your local Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

P

  • Palliative care

    Care that you receive if you have an advanced, progressive illness for which there is no cure. The aim is to manage pain and other symptoms and to help you have best quality of life you can. It may be provided in your home or in a hospital or hospice.

  • Panel

    A group of people with different backgrounds and areas of expertise who jointly make decisions - or agree decisions made by others - about services and funding.

  • Parent Carer Forum

    A group of parents and carers of disabled children who work with councils, schools and health and care providers in a local area to help parents have a say and make sure services meet the needs of children and their families. There is a Parent Carer Forum in most local council areas in England.
  • Participation

    Taking part in decisions about things that affect you and other people. This may be about your own day-to-day life, such as what to eat or how to spend your time, or about how a service or organisation is run. It is more than consultation: you should not just be asked your view, but should be able to have an influence over the final decision.

  • Patient activation

    Where people take action to develop their knowledge, skill and confidence in managing their own health condition. Research shows that 'activated' patients are likely to have better health, spend less time in hospital and take part in more activities than people who have not learned as much about how to manage their health needs.

    See also self-directed support, self-management

  • Peer challenge

    Where a council invites senior people from other councils to look at the work the council is doing - for example in adult social care - and how it could improve. It is not an inspection, but a discussion about what could be done differently and better, using other people's experiences.

  • Peer support

    The practical and emotional help and support that people who have personal experience of a particular health condition or disability can give each other, based on their shared experience. People support each other as equals, one-to-one or in groups, either face-to-face, online or on the telephone.

  • People who use services

    Anyone who uses care services, whether you are in your own home, in residential care or in hospital. The NHS is likely to describe you as a 'patient', while the council and other care providers may also describe you as a 'client' or 'service user'. You may also be described as a 'cared-for person', in relation to your carer.
  • Performance indicators

    Ways of checking that an organisation is doing what it is supposed to be doing, by measuring progress towards particular goals. An example of a performance indicator might be how long people have to wait after requesting an assessment.

  • Personal assistant

    Someone you choose and employ to provide the support you need, in the way that suits you best. This may include cooking, cleaning, help with personal care such as washing and dressing, and other things such as getting out and about in your community. Your personal assistant can be paid through direct payments or a personal budget.
  • Personal budget

    Money that is allocated to you by your local council to pay for care or support to meet your assessed needs. The money comes solely from adult social care. You can take your personal budget as a direct payment, or choose to leave the council to arrange services (sometimes known as a managed budget) - or a combination of the two.

    An alternative is an individual service fund, which is a personal budget that a care provider manages on your behalf. A personal health budget may also be available: it is a plan for your health care that you develop and control, knowing how much NHS money is available.

  • Personal care

    Help with personal matters such as eating, drinking, washing, going to the toilet, getting up, getting dressed, going to bed, taking medicines and other things.

  • Personal expenses allowance

    The amount of money you are allowed to keep for your own personal needs if you move into a care home and paying for care takes up all of your income or savings. The allowance is currently £24.40 per week (in January 2015).

  • Personal health budget

    An amount of money to pay for your specific health needs, given to you - or managed for you - by the NHS. It is based on your own individual care plan, which sets out your health goals and how your budget will help you reach them. You can spend it on things like therapies, personal care and equipment. You cannot use it to pay for emergency care or care you usually get from a family doctor. Using a personal health budget is a choice: you do not have to have one unless you want to. See also personal budget.

  • Personal Health Budget peer network

    A group of people in a particular area who use a personal health budget and are interested in connecting with other users and in working with professionals to help personal health budgets develop further in their area. There is also a national personal health budget peer network, through which users can contribute their views and experiences.

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

    A regular benefit payment to help you with some of the extra costs caused by long-term illness or disability if you are over 16 and under 65. (PIP has replaced Disability Living Allowance, or DLA, for adults, although children under the age of 16 still receive DLA.) How much you get depends on how your condition affects you and how much help you need, not on the condition itself. You will be assessed on how well you can manage your activities of daily living and on how easily you can get around. It is dependent solely on your needs, not on your income or savings, and can be paid whether or not you are in work and alongside other benefits.

  • Personalisation

    A way of thinking about care and support services that puts you at the centre of the process of working out what your needs are, choosing what support you need and having control over your life. It is about you as an individual, not about groups of people whose needs are assumed to be similar, or about the needs of organisations.
  • Person-centred care

    An approach that puts the person receiving care and support at the centre of the way care is planned and delivered. It is based around you and your own needs, preferences and priorities. It treats you as an equal partner, and puts into practice the principle of 'no decision about me without me'.

  • Pooled budget

    When two different organisations, such as an NHS organisation and a council, agree to each put an amount of money into a single pot to pay for a particular health or care service.

  • Positive behaviour support

    A method of addressing challenging behaviour, with the aim of improving a person's quality of life. It involves looking at things from the perspective of the person whose behaviour is challenging, working out how their environment could be improved, and helping them to learn new skills. People with challenging behaviour are treated with dignity and are not punished.

  • Power of attorney

    A legal decision you make to allow a specific person to act on your behalf, or to make decisions on your behalf, if you are unable to do so. There are two types. Ordinary power of attorney is where you give someone the power to handle your financial affairs for you, but you continue to make decisions about your money. This depends on you continuing to have mental capacity to make these decisions. Lasting power of attorney is where you allow someone to make decisions on your behalf about your property and finances or health and welfare, if the time comes when you are unable to make these decisions for yourself.

  • Pre-assessment

    The point at which you make contact with your local council and a decision is made about whether a full assessment is necessary. This is based on the information given by you or the person who refers you to adult social care. It is often conducted over the phone.
  • Prevention

    Any action that prevents or delays the need for you to receive care and support, by keeping you well and enabling you to remain independent.

  • Preventive services

    Services you may receive to prevent more serious problems developing.
    These services include things like reablement, telecare and befriending schemes. The aim is to help you stay independent and maintain your quality of life, as well as to save money in the long term and avoid admissions to hospital or residential care.

    Also known as 'Prevention'.

  • Primary care

    The first point of contact in the health service, usually your GP, practice nurse, local pharmacist, dentist or NHS walk-in centre. Primary care doctors deal with a wide range of health problems. They treat common illnesses, help you manage long-term conditions and refer you to a specialist doctor when necessary.

  • Privacy

    Being able to spend time alone or with your family or friends without other people seeing you or overhearing your conversations. It also means respect for confidentiality and your personal information and not sharing this with anyone unless you agree.

    See also:

  • Procurement

    The process by which organisations such as councils find and pay for things such as goods and services, check that the service can genuinely be provided, and make sure that money is well spent.

  • Professional body

    An organisation that represents a group of people who are all part of the same profession, such as doctors or social workers. A professional body supports its members and may also make sure that the work they do is of a high enough standard. If you are unhappy with something that an individual professional has done, you may be able to complain to their professional body.

  • Profound and multiple disabilities

    A description of someone's condition if they have severe disabilities and complex needs that mean they need a lot of care and support. People with profound and multiple disabilities often have great difficulty communicating and need a high level of support with most aspects of their daily life.

  • Property disregard

    When your home does not have to be sold to pay for residential care. This applies if you are in a care home for a short time, and expect to go back to your own home. It also applies if you have moved permanently into a care home, and the house you own is lived in by your partner, a relative who is over 60, or a child under the age of 16 who you are responsible for. There is also a 12-week property disregard, when the council will not charge you - based on the value of your home - for the first 12 weeks that you are in a care home. You would still have to make a contribution to the cost of the care home based on your income or available capital.

  • Proportionate assessment

    A way of assessing your needs that tries to find out as simply as possible what your needs are and avoids asking for unnecessary amounts of information.

  • Protected characteristics

    A list of factors that people are not allowed to use as a reason to treat you differently to anyone else. These factors are set out in the Equality Act 2010 and include things like age, disability, marital status, gender, race, religion and sexual orientation.

    See also:

  • Provider

    An organisation that provides services, such as care and support services.
  • Public health

    Helping people stay healthy and preventing illness. Public health is about the health of the population as a group, rather than about individuals. People's health is affected by the individual decisions they make, and by decisions that are made by local councils and national governments.

  • Public sector

    The full range of organisations that provide government services, such as health, education, police, etc, that are available to everyone.

Q

  • Quality Assurance Framework

    A structure for explaining, measuring and improving the quality of services provided by an organisation. Quality is measured in a variety of ways, including hearing the views and experiences of people who use services.

  • Quality of life

    Your satisfaction with your life in terms of wellbeing and happiness. The way you define your own quality of life will depend on the things that matter most to you as an individual and make your life enjoyable and meaningful. The care and support you receive should make a positive difference to your quality of life.

    See also:

R

  • Reablement

    A way of helping you remain independent, by giving you the opportunity to relearn or regain some of the skills for daily living that may have been lost as a result of illness, accident or disability. It is similar to rehabilitation, which helps people recover from physical or mental illness. Your council may offer a reablement service for a limited period in your own home that includes personal care, help with activities of daily living, and practical tasks around the home.
  • Reasonable adjustments

    Changes that public services, buildings and employers have to make to make it possible for people with disabilities to use a service or do a job. These changes include things like adjusting your working hours or providing you with a special piece of equipment to do the job. It is against the law to discriminate against you because you have a disability.

  • Reciprocity

    When you get something back for doing something for someone else. This may be some kind of formal 'reward' for your involvement, or it may be something more informal, such as the development of more positive relationships.

  • Recording system

    The way in which information about you is collected and looked after by an organisation such as a council or the NHS.

  • Recovery approach

    If you need support with your mental health, the professionals working with you may take this approach to help you live your life the way you want to. Your mental health challenges may not ever go away entirely, but this approach can help you to think about the strengths and abilities you have, and the changes you want to make in your life.

  • Referral

    A request for an assessment of a person's needs, or for support from a social care organisation. A referral to adult social care may be made by your GP, another health professional or anyone else who supports you. You can also refer yourself, or a member of your family, by contacting the adult social care department at your local council.

  • Regulator

    A person or organisation that has legal power to supervise a particular type of service, activity or organisation, and to make sure that services provided to people are safe and good quality. Regulators do not usually investigate people's individual complaints about their own experience, but look at the service as a whole.
  • Regulatory action

    Action that a regulator takes to make sure that services improve, if necessary.

  • Replacement care

    Care that replaces the care you normally receive from a regular carer, or would normally give to the person you care for. It may be needed either on a planned basis or in an emergency. Replacement care may be offered by your council, if the person needing care has had an assessment and is entitled to care and support services, or if the carer is entitled to help. Otherwise, you may have to pay for it.
  • Residential care

    Care in a care home, with or without nursing, for older people or people with disabilities who require 24-hour care. Care homes offer trained staff and an adapted environment suitable for the needs of ill, frail or disabled people.
  • Resource Allocation System

    The system some councils use to decide how much money people get for their support. There are clear rules, so everyone can see that money is given out fairly. Once your needs have been assessed, you will be allocated an indicative budget - so that you know how much money you have to spend on care and support. The purpose of an indicative budget is to help you plan the care and support that will help you meet your assessed needs - it might not be the final amount that you get, as you may find that it is not enough (or is more than enough) to meet those needs.

  • Respect

    Being treated well and as if you and your views and feelings matter to the person or organisation you are dealing with. The Care Act 2014 says that your council should always consider your wellbeing when making decisions that affect you, and that treating you with respect is part of considering your wellbeing.

    See also:

  • Respite care

    A service giving carers a break, by providing short-term care for the person with care needs in their own home or in a residential setting. It can mean a few hours during the day or evening, 'night sitting', or a longer-term break. It can also benefit the person with care needs by giving them the chance to try new activities and meet new people.
  • Responsive care

    Care that is flexible enough to meet your particular needs and can adapt to changes in your situation.

  • Restorative justice

    Where someone who has been the victim of harm such as abuse or neglect has the opportunity to talk to the person who has harmed them about the impact their actions have had. The person who has caused the harm then has an opportunity to try to put things right.

  • Restraint

    When your movements or behaviour are deliberately restricted by someone. Restraint may be used in an emergency, to prevent someone harming themselves or other people. It may also be used in a planned way to prevent someone who is unable to make decisions for themselves causing harm. If restraint is used wrongly, it may be abuse.

    See also:

  • Review

    When you receive a re-assessment of your needs and you and the people in your life look at whether the services you are receiving are meeting your needs and helping you achieve your chosen outcomes. Changes can then be made if necessary.
  • Rights

    What you are entitled to receive, and how you should be treated, as a citizen. If you have a disability or mental health problem, are an older person or act as a carer for someone else, you have the right to have your needs assessed by your local council. You have a right to a service or direct payment if your assessment puts you above the eligibility threshold your council is using. You and your carers have a right to be consulted about your assessment and about any changes in the services you receive.
  • Risk assessment

    An assessment of your health, safety, wellbeing and ability to manage your essential daily routines. You might also hear the term risk enablement, which means finding a way of managing any risks effectively so that you can still do the things you want to do.
  • Risk enablement

    Being able to make your own choices and do things that other people might consider 'risky', as part of self-directed support. Organising your own care and support means that you are free to weigh up the potential risks of doing something against the benefits you believe it will bring.

  • Risk management

    The process of working out what situations might be risky for your health or wellbeing, and taking steps to help you reduce or prevent the risk of harm.

    See also:

S

  • Safeguarding

    The process of ensuring that adults at risk are not being abused, neglected or exploited, and ensuring that people who are deemed 'unsuitable' do not work with them. If you believe that you or someone you know is being abused, you should let the adult social care department at your local council know. They should carry out an investigation and put a protection plan in place if abuse is happening. Councils have a duty to work with other organisations to protect adults from abuse and neglect. They do this through local safeguarding boards.

  • Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB)

    A formal group set up by your council to prevent abuse or neglect of adults in your area who have care and support needs, and to make sure that action is taken if abuse occurs. Every area has to have a SAB, which is made up of different professionals from the council, NHS and police, working together and sharing information. SABs also include representatives from groups that work with older people and people with disabilities.

  • Secondary care

    Care that you receive in hospital, either as an inpatient or an outpatient. This may be planned or emergency care. It is more specialist than primary care.

  • Self- assessment

    A form or questionnaire that you complete yourself, either on paper or online, explaining your circumstances and why you need support. A social care worker or advocate can help you do this. If your council asks you to complete a self-assessment form, it will use this information to decide if you are eligible for social care services or if you need a full assessment by a social worker.

    See also:

  • Self-advocacy

    Speaking up for yourself about what you want and how you want to live your life. This may be about the care and support you receive yourself, or it may be about the way that services are organised in your area. You do not always have to do this on your own: you can have a supporter with you, or there may be a self-advocacy group in your area. See also advocacy.

    See also:

  • Self-determination

    The ability or power to make decisions for yourself.

    See also:

  • Self-directed support

    An approach to social care that puts you at the centre of the support planning process, so that you can make choices about the services you receive. It should help you feel in control of your care, so that it meets your needs as an individual.

    See also:

  • Self-funding

    When you arrange and pay for your own care services and do not receive financial help from the council.
  • Self-management

    An approach that encourages people with health and social care needs to stay well, learn about their condition and their care and support needs, and remain in control of their own health.

  • Sensory impairment

    When one of your senses - sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste - does not work properly. It does not necessarily mean a total loss of one or more of your senses. You may be born with a sensory impairment, or develop it later in life.
  • Service redesign

    Changing the way that health, care and support services are provided in a local area to reflect the changing needs of people in that area. Services often need to change as people live longer, and as more people live with ongoing health conditions.

  • Service user

    A person who receives services from a care and support provider. Not everyone likes this term, and may prefer to be described simply as a 'person who uses services' rather than a 'service user.'

  • Shared endeavour

    The task of commissioning care and support services and 'shaping' the range of services that are available in a particular area. The term is used in the Care Act 2014, which requires councils and service providers to work together, with local people at the centre of all their planning.

  • Shared Lives

    A type of care for people who are unable to live independently or may not wish to live alone, and an alternative to supported living, home care or residential care. Shared Lives carers offer care and support in their own home to older people, people with mental health problems, or people with physical or learning disabilities. This may take the form of regular visits, or the individual who needs care and support may live with a Shared Lives carer on a permanent basis. Shared Lives schemes are usually managed by local councils or voluntary organisations, and overseen by the Care Quality Commission.
  • Sheltered housing

    Your own home, which you either rent or buy, in a development with other older people. You have your own front door, and there may be some shared facilities such as a lounge, laundry or garden. Many sheltered housing schemes have a manager who can be called to assist residents in an emergency. Staff do not provide personal care or help with things like shopping. Any additional care you need can be provided in the same way as if you were living in your own home elsewhere.

  • Short breaks

    When a person with care and support needs spends regular short periods of time away from their main carer, in order to give the carer a break and to give the person with needs a chance to do something different. These breaks may take place in the person's own home, in the home of an approved carer or in a place such as a hospice. Councils in England are required to provide short breaks services for children and young people with disabilities.

    See also:

  • Signposting

    Pointing people in the direction of information that they should find useful. Your local council should signpost you towards information about social care and benefits through its helpline or call centre (if it has one), website and through local services such as libraries and health centres.

    See also:

  • Single assessment process

    An attempt to coordinate assessment and care planning across the NHS and councils, so that procedures aren't repeated and information is shared appropriately. It was introduced because people sometimes have a wide range of needs and can end up being assessed more often than necessary, and information can end up getting lost. The single assessment process is widely used for older people, and increasingly for other adults with care needs.

  • Social capital

    The connections that are made between people who live in the same area or are part of the same community, and who are able to do things with and for each other. Strong neighbourhoods, clubs and groups help create a sense of community, enabling people to trust each other, work together and look out for each other.

    See also:

  • Social care

    Any help that you need, such as personal care or practical assistance, to live your life as comfortably and independently as possible, because of age, illness or disability.

    See also:

  • Social enterprise

    A non-profit business that is set up to improve a community in some way, such as by providing care and support services, often in a different way to the way they have been provided before. The business provides a service - such as helping disabled people get back to work - and receives payments. Any profits they make go back into improving the community. It is an alternative to the private sector and is different to a charity because it is not funded by grants or donations.

  • Social exclusion

    When individuals or groups do not have the same rights and privileges that most people in society have, such as employment, adequate housing, health care or education. This is often because of poverty, disability or because they belong to a minority group of some kind.
  • Social group

    A group of friends you meet with who provide you with company. The group may be focused on a specific activity, but it exists mainly for being with other people rather than for gaining skills.

  • Social model of disability

    A way of looking at disability that looks at the person not their physical disability, and says that the person is disabled by the barriers in the world.

  • Social pedagogy

    A way of caring for children that combines education and care, believing that children have rights and that bringing them up is the responsibility not only of parents but also of the society they live in.

  • Social prescribing

    A way of improving your health and wellbeing other than through medicine. Your GP writes a 'prescription' for you to take part in activities in your community that you might benefit from.

    See also:

  • Social support

    Various types of support or assistance that you receive from groups of other people or from individuals. This may be emotional support, where you have people to talk to, or help with things like managing your money or looking after your house. Social support may be provided by statutory organisations such as social services, by local groups such as churches or social clubs, or by your friends and relatives.

  • Social worker

    A professional who works with individual people and families to help improve their lives by arranging to put in place the things they need. This includes helping to protect adults and children from harm or abuse, and supporting people to live independently. Social workers support people and help them find the services they need. They may have a role as a care manager, arranging care for service users. Many are employed by councils in adult social care teams; others work in the NHS or independent organisations.
  • Stakeholders

    People or groups who have an interest in what an organisation does, and who are affected by its decisions and actions. When an organisation such as your local council or NHS trust is planning to make changes to the way it works or the services it offers, it may hold a consultation with stakeholders, to find out what you think and what your experiences are.

  • Statutory guidance

    Information from the Government explaining how specific laws such as the Care Act 2014 should be put into practice and what they mean for people.

  • Statutory organisations

    Organisations that have a legal responsibility to do something, and whose role and powers are defined by law. They are different to voluntary organisations, which may provide some of the same services but which are not set up by law. Your local council is an example of a statutory organisation, as are the NHS trusts in your area. Local charities, care agencies and care homes are not statutory organisations.

  • Strength-based assessment

    An assessment that looks at your strengths and what you are able to do, rather than on your weaknesses. The focus is on your abilities, and on what keeps you well and helps you remain independent.

  • Substance misuse

    Regularly consuming quantities of substances such as drugs or alcohol that affect your mental and physical health and your ability to do the things you need to do.
  • Suitable person

    A person who manages direct payments on behalf of someone who does not have the mental capacity to look after the money themselves. It has to be someone reliable who will manage money in the best interests of person who receives it and make sure that the care they receive is beneficial to them. The council decides if someone is a suitable person, and oversees the arrangement.

    See also:

T

  • Telecare

    Technology that enables you to remain independent and safe in your own home, by linking your home with a monitoring centre that can respond to problems. Examples are pendant alarms that you wear round your neck, automatic pill dispensers, and sensors placed in your home to detect if you have fallen or to recognise risks such as smoke, floods or gas-leaks. The monitoring centre is staffed by trained operators who can arrange for someone to come to your home or contact your family, doctor or emergency services.
  • Telehealth

    Technology that sends information about your health to your doctor from your home, to help manage long-term conditions such as diabetes or chronic heart failure. Things like your temperature or blood pressure can be measured and the information sent via telephone line or broadband to a telehealth monitoring centre, where it is checked against information from your doctor. It means any problems can be picked up before they become urgent, and allows your doctor to monitor you in between appointments. It is also known as telepractice.

  • Tertiary care

    Highly specialist health care requiring particular expertise and equipment, that is available only in specialist hospitals. Examples include cancer treatment, heart surgery and other things.

  • Third party top-up

    If you are moving into a care home funded by the council, and you want to move into a home that costs more than the council believes is necessary to meet your needs, you will be able to move there if someone (a 'third party') agrees to pay the difference. The third party may be a relative, friend or charity, and they will need to have a contract with the council confirming the arrangement.

  • Time banks

    A system where someone volunteers an hour of their time to help someone in their community and in return can have an hour of another person's time to receive help themselves. Time banks exist in many areas and are a way of building stronger communities and helping people manage their lives.

  • Transfer of care

    When you move from one place of care to another, such as from hospital to your home, supported housing or residential care. Your transfer should be properly planned and coordinated, and health and social care services should work together. Transfers of care may be delayed for various reasons. For example, you may be ready to leave hospital but end up staying there longer than you need to, while you wait for community care services or a place in a care home to be available.

  • Transition

    The process by which young people with health or social care needs move from children's services to adult services. It should be carefully planned, so that there are no gaps in the care young people receive. Young people and their families should be fully involved in the planning process.

  • Triage

    The process of deciding whether you need urgent medical attention, and how long you are able to wait. When you go to A&E or to a walk-in clinic, you will be asked questions about your symptoms. A decision will then be taken about how quickly you need to be seen, and who you need to be seen by.

U

  • Universal information and advice

    Information and advice that is available to everyone in your local area. This should cover what care and support services are available in the area, how you can get these services, where you can find financial advice about care and support, and what to do if you are concerned about the safety and wellbeing of someone who has care and support needs. Councils are required by law to make information and advice available to everyone, regardless of who pays for the care and support you need.

    See also:

  • Universal services

    Services such as transport, leisure, health and education that should be available to everyone in a local area and are not dependent on assessment or eligibility.
  • Urgent care centre

    Somewhere you can go without an appointment instead of A&E, if you have a minor injury or illness that cannot wait for a GP appointment. Urgent care centres are usually staffed by nurses and GPs.

  • User involvement

    The involvement of people who use services in the way that those services are designed, delivered and run. It may be an opportunity to use your experiences to make a particular service work better, and to be involved in decisions about things that affect you. User involvement takes different forms in different organisations, from voicing your opinion to getting actively involved in the way a service is run.

    See also:

  • User-led organisation (ULO)

    An organisation that is run and controlled by the people it serves - such as people with disabilities or older people - to help them live independently and have choice and control over their lives.

V

  • Value for money

    A way of working out whether a person or organisation has received the maximum benefit for the money they have spent on something. This applies to your own money as an individual, as well as to public money spent by councils and other public sector bodies.

  • Vanguard sites

    Specific parts of England that have been chosen to develop new ways of providing NHS care. The aim is to bring hospital and community care services together and to keep people well.

  • Virtual budget

    When your council allocates an amount of money to you as a personal budget, you can take this either as cash through a direct payment or as a virtual budget (also known as a managed budget). If you take it as a virtual budget, the council manages the money for you to arrange the services you choose, and you aren't responsible for paying directly for the services you receive.

  • Virtual ward

    A way of providing support outside hospital to people with long-term conditions who may need extra care to avoid being admitted to hospital. The 'ward' is run by the hospital, and treatment and care is provided by nurses and other health professionals.

  • Voluntary sector

    Organisations that are independent of the Government and local councils. Their job is to benefit the people they serve, not to make a profit. The people who work for voluntary organisations are not necessarily volunteers - many

    will be paid for the work they do. Social care services are often provided by local voluntary organisations, by arrangement with the council or with you as an individual. Some are user-led organisations, which means they are run by and for the people the organisation is designed to benefit - e.g. disabled people.
  • Vulnerable adult

    An adult who may need care and support because of their age, disability or illness, and may be unable to protect themselves from harm, neglect or abuse.

W

  • Walk-in centre

    An NHS centre that you can go to without an appointment if you have an illness or injury that is not serious enough for you to go to an accident and emergency department (for example, minor injuries, infections, stomach aches, vomiting and diarrhoea). Many walk-in centres are open every day of the year.

  • Wellbeing

    Being in a position where you have good physical and mental health, control over your day-to-day life, good relationships, enough money, and the opportunity to take part in the activities that interest you.
  • Whole life disability service

    A way of supporting people with disabilities that coordinates a person's care and support between children's services and adults' services. Services such as health, education and housing work together to help the person plan the support they need as they move from childhood to adulthood.

    See also:

If you share a link to our Jargon Buster, please acknowledge the copyright as Think Local Act Personal. Thank you.