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Adult social care information and advice toolkit: Theme 7. People's experience of getting information and advice

This page draws together aspects of the previous three and looks at the place of information and advice in the person’s overall journey through care and support.

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This theme draws together aspects of the previous three and looks at the place of information and advice in the person’s overall journey through care and support.

The journey has many facets but one important aspect, alongside capturing needs once to avoid repetition, is offering people the right amount of information and advice and the right level of detail for the situation they are facing at the time. Someone in a crisis will not be able to absorb large amounts of detail and may need a very different information and advice offer compared with someone who is starting to think about and plan for their future.

Existing resources – capturing people’s needs

Including information and advice needs and reasonable adjustment/communication needs:

  • NHS England: Accessible Information Standard
  • About Me – this Professional Records Standards Body (PRSB) data standard enables people drawing on care and support to record and share the things that matter most to them.
  • Online apps and platforms such as Hear Me Now and Multi Me can offer ways for people to record information about themselves, which they can share with the circle of people and professionals that supports them in their daily lives.
  • The Experian Support Hub “is a free service for sharing your support needs with multiple organisations in one go." Several reasonable adjustment needs can be shared through the service. At present the organisations are mostly in the financial services sector, but the list appears to be growing. Experian states that "Support Hub is designed by consumers" and they seek feedback on improving it.

Existing resources – using the right language

  • NHS standards and style guidance for writing information and advice content. The standard for creating health content (replacing NHS England's previous assessment and notification scheme known as The Information Standard) sets out six principles for content; there are also useful materials about creating inclusive content.
  • NHS England’s Language matters – language and diabetes provides practical examples of language that will encourage positive interactions with people living with diabetes.
  • Plain English Campaign: Guides to writing in plain English, including a list of suggested alternative words to help you cut down on jargon. These guides are not specific to adult social care (though there is one about medical information) – and you should approach some of the alternative words with caution – but the principles are still relevant and important.
  • Social Care Future: Research report on changing the narrative about social care. This goes way beyond plain English (though plain English is essential) and good information and advice can play an important part in achieving this vision.
  • Style guides – how to write about disabilities (Dementia Voices, Alzheimer’s Society, Scope)
  • Scope's Social Model of Disability is a key element of how they thank and talk – and encourage other to think and talk – about people with disabilities.
  • Guidance from the government’s Race Disparity Unit on writing about ethnicity.
  • Future Care Capital is developing a new mental health language guide, "helping people understand the importance of the words we use and the way we communicate with those with mental health issues".

Existing resources – other

  • Access Social Care has created AccessAva to help people find information and advice about their legal rights.

Points to consider

  • How could you help people to articulate/capture their information and advice needs when they first make contact if they wish to do so?
  • Have you mapped and tested the information and advice journey from the perspective of someone facing a crisis?