- What is Preventing, Reducing or Delaying Needs?
- Why is it important?
- Who is involved?
- How is it put into practice?
The term ‘prevention’ covers many different types of support or services. These can range from promoting health in the general population to interventions that are aimed at one person, a particular group of people or a carer.
There are three different levels of support or service.
- First is primary prevention. These services are aimed at people who do not currently have any particular health or care and support needs. They aim to help people avoid developing needs for care and support or help a carer avoid needing support, by keeping their independence and good health. They are usually available to everyone, for example exercise, weight and money management groups.
- Second is secondary prevention or early intervention. These are services aimed at people who already are at risk of developing care and support needs, but the provision of services or other resources may help slow down or reduce any further deterioration, or prevent other needs from developing. Providing support at an early stage can help stop someone’s life tipping into crisis, for example a few hours support to help a parent who is caring for their son or daughter with a learning disability and behaviour that challenges at home.
- Third is tertiary prevention. These are services aimed at reducing the effect of disability or deterioration for people with long term or multiple health conditions (such as dementia and heart failure for example), supporting them to regain skills and manage or reduce need where possible. Councils must provide or arrange services that support someone to be as independent as possible if they already have such needs. This may include paid home carers visiting to help with a person’s care and support needs or having equipment installed or making changes in their home to help them stay for as long as they want and is possible.
It is really important that the council’s care and support system actively promotes people’s wellbeing and independence and does not just wait to respond when there is a crisis. It is also vital that the council gets involved early to support people, helps them keep or regain their skills and confidence, and prevents or delays any worsening of their physical and mental health wherever possible. This is because it improves people’s quality of life and helps them stay at home for as long as possible rather than go into a care home for example. This is important for the person, their family and friends but it also benefits the wider community.
Prevention is ongoing; it is not a single activity or intervention. For example, a change in the person’s circumstances or that of their carer may mean there has to be a change to the type of prevention activity they are receiving.
Prevention is often seen as something that usually happens when a person has a diagnosis or assessment which identifies there has been a change in their condition. However, prevention services are something that should always be considered.
The council’s responsibilities for preventing, reducing and delaying needs apply to all adults, including:
- those who do not have any current needs for care and support;
- adults with needs for care and support, whether their needs are already being met by the council; and
- carers, including those who do not currently have any needs for support.
There are many ways in which the council can achieve its aims of promoting wellbeing and independence and reducing dependency for individuals, groups or the general public in its area.
The Care and Support Statutory Guidance, which accompanies the Care Act 2014, sets out how councils should carry out their responsibilities, both individually and in partnership with other local organisations, communities, and people themselves.
It should work in partnership with other agencies in relation to:
- providing prevention services and resources;
- identifying those who may benefit from such support; and
- helping them access those services.