How to access support for independent living/personal care at university
What is personal care support?
Personal care support refers to any practical help or assistance you require for daily life, regardless of student status – in other words, non-study related activities or tasks such as:
- getting up, going to bed, or adjusting position overnight (and during the day)
- washing/bathing and getting dressed
- help with eating or medication
- using the toilet
- domestic activities – cleaning your living area, shopping, preparing meals
- leisure or extra-curricular activities
- driving or helping you to get around outside study hours
Things to consider
If you are unable to live independently without help with daily living tasks or personal care, it will be especially important for you to arrange support through your home Social Services department well in advance of coming to University (as soon as you apply to University). When considering whether you need to contact Social Services to discuss a care package, please consider help currently received from family members or friends, no matter how small. Whilst the University will make reasonable adjustments to access to study, we are unable to provide either funding or support for independent living or residential or personal care.
Please also consider the hilly (and windy!) nature of Bangor as a city, and the impact this will have on your daily living tasks. We strongly advise that you come and visit Bangor ahead of applying for university.
Social Services assessment
Students who require daily personal care or assistance to live independently and who are based in the UK, should contact the Social Services team from their local authority to discuss the options available to them. It is likely that your Social Services team will carry out an assessment of your care needs.
While you are participating in the assessment please ensure that it is based on living independently in a university hall of residence or rented accommodation without parental / family support. Once Social Services have conducted the assessment they will prepare a report recommending the type of support or care package that you will require, the cost of this support and how it will be funded.
It is extremely important to note that organising a support package can take between 6 and 12 months. It is vital therefore that you contact your local Social Services team as early as possible to allow the funding to be organised and the appropriate support package to be in place from your first day at University. Funding for care and support from your local Social Services is not guaranteed.
You must also let the Disability Services and the Student Halls Office know as soon as possible if your home social services have agreed funding for additional accommodation for a live-in carer and you therefore need an additional room in Halls of Residence.
Further information about state benefits assistance is available from https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits
and from Disability Rights UK.
The University does not provide support or funding for personal care or medical treatment (including medication, medical supplies or mobility equipment) because these things would be required even if you were not a student so they are not related to your studies. Travel costs to receive medical treatment are also your responsibility.
However, you should provide the Disability Services with as much information as possible about your needs before you arrive.
International students should make sure that they have funding in place if they require care before starting university – see the section at the end of this document.
If you experience difficulties on setting up your social care package
If you have any concerns that support may not be in place for the start of your studies, please contact the Disability Services as soon as possible. We can advise you about how you may be able to speed up the process or, if necessary, support you to defer your course until the care package is in place, so that you can fully enjoy and participate in your student experience.
It is your responsibility to ensure that an independent living/personal care package is in place before you join the University - the University will not be able to put in place a social care package for you. The University will make reasonable adjustments to accommodate your access to educational and other services but this cannot extend to the care your social services department will be able to arrange. If necessary social care is not in place and/or you have not provided the Disability Services with relevant information when you commence your course and/or it is not possible or reasonable for the University to provide such assistance as you need, it may not be possible for you to move into or remain in halls of residence or to commence your course. In these circumstances we will endeavour to discuss all options with you before a decision is made and provide such support as is appropriate.
International students are not eligible for financial assistance with care costs from the British government, and the University is unable to fund personal care support. Therefore it is essential that you have included these additional costs in your budget, and that you have sufficient funding in place for the duration of your course before you come to the UK.
You will need to organise an individual assessment of your care needs in the UK prior to getting a full quote as costs can vary considerably, ranging from £40,000 to more than £100,000 over a 10 month period, depending on what type and level of support you require.
You should also check that appropriate provision within your budget is available locally in Bangor as costs will vary depending on need and location. Variables include the need for: 24-hour care or more intermittent support at particular times of the day; waking or sleeping support overnight; one or two carers for manual lifting/hoist operation*; accommodation for overnight carer(s); any mobility equipment you are able to bring from home; the duration over which support is needed (ie the length of the course); whether you will be travelling home or to other destinations during vacations; and whether local agencies have appropriately trained carers.
*UK care costs and regulations might be different from what you are used to at home, and can mean that more than one carer is needed for manual lifting or the operation of a hoist.
Some students might want to bring their own carer with them from their home country. The International Education Centre can guide you to information and offer general advice about any relevant immigration routes: https://www.bangor.ac.uk/international/
The Home Office have information on their website for domestic workers which includes carers: www.gov.uk/domestic-workers-in-a-private-household-visa/overview .
International students should establish whether any prescription medication they need is licensed for use in the UK, and if not, how they will get it sent to them. Similarly, they should consider whether it is more cost effective to ship specialist medical equipment rather than purchase it in the UK.
There are also specific things to consider if you want to bring a guide/assistance dog with you: https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/services/guide-dog-services/assistance-dog-travel-guide/advice-on-entering-the-uk-for-international-visitors#.WSfzjU0UXoo
Because it might be difficult for you to visit Bangor before your course starts, it is important that you contact the Disability Services as soon as possible so we can find out more about what you might need, and so we can help you think about what arrangements you will need to make.