Our top tips for preparing for a DST assessment

People are often launched into the health and social care maze at a time when they are stressed about the next stage of their loved one’s care and worried about their needs being met.

The process can feel daunting and overwhelming, so we have prepared some top tips to help when preparing for an assessment.

We cannot stress enough how important care records are. They are key to understanding a person’s care needs, and the quality of the records can often be a determining factor on whether someone is found eligible for continuing healthcare funding or not, resulting in the difference of thousands of pounds a week in care fees.

Moore & Tibbits Top Tips

Check the care plan

The care plan sets out an individual’s care needs at a particular time under specific health and social care areas. These areas are broadly similar to the domains used in the continuing healthcare assessment process.  It is usually reviewed and updated by care staff on a monthly basis or sooner if needs change, such as following a significant event.  

The care plan will also include a range of risks. Check that any significant incidents such as falls, bed sores or challenging behaviour have been recorded correctly.

If other professionals are involved in the person’s care, e.g. speech and language specialists, this should also be incorporated into the care plan with a record of their visits and support and advice given.

Does the care plan accurately reflect the needs of your loved one?


If necessary, ask the care home manager to review the care plan, attend care plan review meetings and read through the care records to familiarise yourself with your loved one’s care needs.

Daily records | it’s all in detail 

All too often, the daily records do not include sufficient details about an individual’s level of care. Common entries we see are “has been fine today” or “had their usual day”. A very common behaviour that is often not recorded in sufficient detail in daily records is calling/shouting out constantly or ringing a bell constantly.

Often, for care staff, this can become the “norm” for the individual, and so the detail of that level of behaviour is not recorded sufficiently enough. If there is an area of care that is particularly intense, complex or unpredictable, it may be useful to ask the care staff to keep a detailed log of this for a week in the lead-up to the assessment. Records should be legible, with a time and date and signed.

Keep your own diary

Whether your loved one is in a care home, at home and cared for by a family member or a care agency, we would recommend keeping your own diary. If you are looking after your loved one at home without formal care from an agency, it is helpful to jot down specific areas which are challenging, e.g. physically, emotionally and mentally.   

This could be their behaviour, e.g. they become extremely agitated, or perhaps they are prone to wandering. If you feed your loved one a meal, note whether they ate it and how long it took. Don’t forget to jot down any swallowing difficulties/choking/coughing symptoms that occur during feeding as well.  

Keeping a diary of the day-to-day challenges is extremely beneficial to ensure there is as much information as possible.

Be organised  

Collate all correspondence you have received from the Integrated Care Board (ICB) previously CCG.  It is useful to have these in date order, so the paperwork is easy to find.


Do not be afraid to ask questions and be an active participant in the process.

If you would like help and support at any stage of an assessment, our continuing healthcare clinical advisor can provide representation, advice and guidance.  Contact Judy today on 01926 354704.


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