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Choosing and comparing care and support

What care and support is available?

Care and support to help people live well can range from local activities and community groups, equipment, alarm systems and care at home through to care homes. This wide spectrum of support services gives people options about how best to meet their particular needs. The majority of people can continue to live well in their own homes, especially if they plan early on.

There are two kinds of care and support services available on West Sussex Connect to Support.

  • Local groups and activities
  • Stores in the marketplace offering services and products

Local groups and activities

This is a directory of free or low cost activities and services in your local community, such as support groups, advice services, community transport and clubs relating to interests or hobbies. 

Stores offering services and products

This is an online marketplace of products and services that you can buy from different companies, such as equipment, care at home, transport, respite services and care homes. Once you’ve registered for an account you can ask the company questions about their products and services and order through the website. When you are searching, don’t forget to click the visit store button to browse and find out more about the organisation and the range of products and services they offer.

To help you refine your search, you can filter by:

  • Location – click on the nearest town(s) to where you live
  • Category – choose from the list
  • Day - choose from the list
  • Kitemarks - choose from the list 
  • Age group – choose from the list
  • Condition or disability – choose from the lis

Where do I start?

Consider free or low cost solutions first. Think about using your existing support networks and taking part in local community activities. If you have a particular condition or are caring for someone who does, perhaps join a local support group. Search for what is available in your area under Local groups and activities.

What if I want to buy a product or service?

If you are thinking of buying any products and services, read our buyer’s guide first. Also we suggest Set up an account so you can ask questions about the products and services you are interested in.

What do I need to think about if i'm choosing a care home or care at home service?

  • West Sussex County Council’s concerns about care homes page provides information about homes where they have suspended placements due to safeguarding concerns.

Care homes and personal care services are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). When you have your shortlist of possible care homes or care at home services, don’t forget to check the latest inspection report on the Care Quality Commission website.

Whatever you are buying through the online marketplace, it pays to do your research first.

How can I find out more about care services?

Companies that set up a store to sell products or services in the online marketplace on West Sussex Connect to Support have to register their details and agree to follow a code of conduct.

They can also display kitemarks in their stores which tell you more about their values or commitments.

Care homes and services that deliver personal care (such as washing and dressing) will be inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). You can read their latest inspection reports on the CQC website.

The NHS Choices website contains comprehensive information about health and social care options.

Healthwatch West Sussex is the consumer champion for people who use heath and social care services in West Sussex. You can read its reports and share your experiences on the Healthwatch West Sussex website.

What else can I do?

Have a look at the self-assessment area. Self-assessment can help you consider what you are struggling with and what you would like to achieve. There are is a self-assessment questionnaire for people in need of support and one for people who are caring for someone else.

You may find that some equipment is available to borrow. Go to Occupational therapy to find out more about equipment loans and occupational therapy assessments.

If you think you may need an adaptation to you house to help you stay independent at home, go to Housing matters section for more information.

Consider getting a professional assessment of your social care needs. People in need of support and carers can both have their needs assessed. To find out more, go to westsussex.gov.uk

Ask for help – none of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by the amount of choice on offer. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear.

Last reviewed: 28/03/2019

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