The Care Act has been hailed as the biggest change in health and social care since its origins 60 years ago. It will do this this by replacing numerous outdated pieces of social care legislation, Fair Access to Care (FAC’s), the Chronically Sick and Disabled Person Act 1970 are two such pieces of legislation which have been repealed for adults, which has been at the forefront of Occupational Therapy professiona within social care. This article will look at,
The Care Act is attempting to address the confusion and often-conflicting piecemeal Social Care legislation by empowering and trusting people to take responsibility for their own health and social care needs. The Care Act is also making a bold statement by making well-being the focus of social care provision, yet does not give Occupational Therapists a clear definition on which to work with. Though the guidance does not define wellbeing as such, it does provide what commentators are calling the wellbeing principles as set out in Act under Clause 1(2) and the guidance states clearly that Local Authorities MUST promote wellbeing.
Independent living is not one of the key principles but is a crucial part of the Act and covers the key components expressed in the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities Article 19, supporting everyone to ‘live as independently as possible, for as long as possible’. The Act also affirms the need for the outcomes to be focused on what truly matters to the end user. Suitable housing is key to independent living as is a client centred approach and a core part of a community OT’s practice.
Housing is mentioned throughout the Act and its guidance. It is seen as a crucial health- related service. The key areas of note for any OT working in Social care are:
The World federation of Occupational Therapy defines OT as a ‘client-centered health profession concerned with promoting health and wellbeing through occupation,’ – wellbeing is at the heart of what we do and the Act supports our professional role.
The OT Profession needs to understand the legislation and be able to clinically reason occupation based assessment of need of the individual clients we are working with.
As a profession we need to embrace change and look at ways of promoting our services, which will put the client at the centre and promote true wellbeing as defined by our users. The Care Act should enable us to achieve this outcome.
The OT Service