Posterior cortical atrophy support

Local support

This page has information about a number of different sources of support and benefits that may be of help to people with posterior cortical atrophy (PCA). You may also be interested in our list of organisations that provide information and support.

There are a variety of services available for people with PCA and their families to support them in independent living. Most of these are organised by the NHS and Social Services and also by non statutory services such as the Alzheimer’s Society.

There are variations in the types of services offered in different parts of the UK. To find out what is available for you, contact the local Social Services department or your GP.

Community care assessment

The social services department of the local council will carry out a health and social care assessment. Each local authority has its own criteria for eligibility for the assessment and services based on the person’s level of risk for safety and independence. It is essential that adequate information about the person’s circumstances is provided.

The assessment of need usually takes place in the person’s home and it is advisable for the family members or friends closely involved to be present. The process involves assessment of the person’s needs and circumstances, their personal finances and which of the needs identified can be met through the services available. Carers are also entitled for a Carer’s Assessment. This is a separate assessment of the needs of the carer.

After the assessment has been completed, a care plan is written to describe what services are to be provided, when and by whom. If the person’s needs change a review of the assessment and care plan should be organised.

The assessment of the person’s finances determines how much they need to pay towards the services, if anything.

If the person has been assessed as needing help from social services, they can opt to receive direct payments to choose and buy the services needed themselves.

The social services work closely with other services, such as health services and voluntary organisations, to provide services to meet the person’s needs. Examples of services that may be available include:

  • Improvements or adaptations in your home — an occupational therapist assesses whether any safety adaptations are needed at home. For example they can arrange equipment such as a bath seat or hand rails, etc.
  • Meals at home services — if you have difficulty cooking meals for yourself, your council can deliver ready-made meals to your home. This service is sometimes known as ‘meals on wheels’.
  • Home Care — carers can visit you at home to help with cleaning, shopping or personal care.
  • Day centres — can offer organised and meaningful activity in a safe environment from once per week to several times per week.
  • Care homes (residential and with nursing care) — can offer short or long term care. Social services have lists of quality monitored homes.

You can contact social services directly or you can ask your GP or other health care professional to make a referral for an assessment of need.

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Community Mental Health Team (CMHT)

Community Mental Health Teams include psychiatrists, community psychiatric nurses (CPNs), support workers and social workers. CMHTs are experienced in providing help and ongoing support for people with complex needs. They provide assessment, treatment and support for people with mental health problems and dementia.

To access the services provided by the local CMHT you need to be referred by your GP.

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The voluntary services available vary from area to area. Contact your local social services department, Citizens Advice Bureau, council for voluntary service or library for information about the local services and groups. The Alzheimer’s Society and Age Concern may also be able to provide information about services available locally.

Examples of other professionals that may be able to help with specific difficulties or problems include:

  • Admiral Nurses ( or Tel: 020 7874 7210)
  • District nurses and community nurses
  • Physiotherapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Chiropodists
  • Dietitians
  • Audiologists
  • Continence advisers

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