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Practical support

Care at home

This section provides information on support available within the home. How this support is paid for is discussed in the financial help with support section.

There are many people who can come into the home to help with a person's care. There are paid workers who may be employed by the local authority or by, or on behalf of, the person who needs care. This section contains information on what they do and how they are regulated. It also contains information on volunteers, befriending, nursing care at home and people who help with intermediate care (care which promotes independence).

Equipment and facilities that can be installed in the home are also available. These can help someone to be more independent and be of assistance to carers.

You can gain access to this equipment through social services by getting a community care assessment for the person you're looking after (or an assessment under the Children Act, if the person you're looking after is a child). You can also buy equipment privately. See Equipment and alarms, above, for more information.

There are many ways in which your home or the home of the person you're looking after can be changed to allow them to remain there and help you to continue caring for them. This section includes information on possible sources of support such as adaptations by the local authority, Disabled Facilities Grants and how to get a parking bay outside your home.

Ordinary residence

Before receiving some community care services, you or the person you are looking after may have to show that you are “ordinarily resident” in an area. This does not apply to all services.

You will be ordinarily resident in an area if you are settled there despite temporary absences. You can be considered as being settled after quite a short period of time, but it depends on your individual circumstances.

Carers’ assessments

If you live in a different local authority area from the person you are looking after it can be difficult to know which local authority should carry out your carer’s assessment. However, local authorities have instructions telling them that the local authority in which the person you are looking after lives should carry out the assessment. It will also be responsible for the provision of any services for you as a carer.

Residential care

When a person goes into residential care funded by the local authority, they are regarded as continuing to be ordinarily resident in the area in which they lived before they moved to residential care. This is the case even if the care home they are placed in is outside the local authority boundaries.

This principle also applies to self-funders if their local authority helped arrange the placement.

If a local authority is not involved in the placement, the person going into residential care would become ordinarily resident in the area of the care home.

When a person goes into residential care outside of the area in which they are ordinarily resident, the funding can become problematic if they leave residential care to go into a more independent living form of accommodation in the new area. This is because their place of “ordinary residence” might be considered to have changed.


Martha lived in East Sussex. When she needed residential care she received help with the fees from her local authority which then found a suitable home for her in Kent. Despite the move, she continued to be considered “ordinarily resident” in East Sussex and the responsibility of that local authority.

Ordinary residence and children

The normal rule is that children are presumed to be ordinarily resident wherever their parents are. However, local authorities have a legal obligation to children in need “within their area”. In some cases this may mean that a child is considered ordinarily resident in one local authority’s area but actually lives in another local authority’s area. Local authorities should liaise with each other to resolve any problems this may cause.

Emergencies or urgent needs

Local authorities have some responsibilities to people who are in urgent need in their area even if they are not ordinarily resident there. This could be relevant, for example, if the person you are looking after comes to stay with you on a temporary basis and they have an urgent need for services. It may be possible to argue that your own local authority could assist them even if they are not ordinarily resident in that area.

Disputes between local authorities

If local authorities disagree about which of them should take responsibility, there is a procedure which provides for central government to resolve the dispute. This mainly relates to disputes about residential placements.

If you disagree with a decision made by a local authority or there is a dispute between local authorities which affects you, you may need to use the statutory complaints system or get legal advice.

While the dispute is taking place the main priority should be the individual involved and any services or accommodation that they need mustn’t be delayed or adversely affected.


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Page last reviewed: 11/12/2013

Next review due: 11/12/2015

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Media last reviewed: 12/07/2013

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