The Care Act 2014 came into force in April 2015 and created a number of new responsibilities for local authorities in relation to adult social care and the support provided for carers.
The act recognises the importance of supporting carers, raises awareness of carers new rights and puts them on an equal footing to the person they care for.
If you care for a friend or family member, the Care Act means that you should be offered a free carers assessment. And you have a legal right to support if your needs assessment shows that you meet the carers eligibility criteria.
Support offered could be information about support groups, services to give you a break from caring or access to training courses.
The carers assessment isn't about assessing how well you provide care, it's about helping you and making sure you have enough support.
Getting an assessment
Derbyshire Carers Association carry out carer assessments on our behalf. You can contact them to request an assessment, tel: 01773 833833 or fill in the contact form on their website.
If the person you care for has an adult care worker you can ask for your needs to be assessed at the same time they have their care and support assessment or review. Speak to the worker or contact Call Derbyshire, tel: 01629 533190.
If you are enquiring on behalf of someone else, please obtain the carer's consent beforehand.
Assessing your needs
If you request an assessment, a worker will arrange to meet with you to discuss your role as a carer and the ways in which it affects your day-to-day life.
The worker will also record what needs to be done if you are unable to provide support in an emergency and help you come up with a contingency plan.
If you meet the eligibility criteria you may be able to get services which could help support you in your role.
This could be a carer personal budget to help you take a break from caring or purchase something to make your life easier (such as an appliance or home improvements).
If you have very high care needs which cannot be met any other way you may be entitled to a Direct Payment. However, in most cases a carer's needs can be met by providing more support to the person they look after to ease pressure on the carer.
Carers are not charged for services offered to them following a carers assessment. However, if services (such as respite in a care home) are provided to the cared-for person, they may be charged for this under our paying for care policies.
Making the most of a carers assessment
This is your opportunity to help the worker understand the effect caring has on you. It may be a good idea to make a list, or keep a diary, of everything you do to assist the person you support.
Some things you may want to think about:
- Do you get enough sleep?
- Is your health affected by caring?
- Can you leave the person you are looking after?
- Are you worried about having to give up work?
- Do you get enough time to yourself?
- Are you worried about other commitments which are being affected by your caring role?
The assessment can be carried out at your home or at the home of the person you support. If there is more than one carer providing care in your household, you are both entitled to an assessment.
Remember that this assessment is about your needs as a carer. You should be able to talk about the needs of the person you are caring for in their own needs assessment.
If your situation changes, for example, you need more support, you can ask for your situation to be reviewed.
Carer personal budgets
Following a carer assessment, it may be that you are eligible for a carers personal budget as part of your support plan, to help you take a break from caring or asst you in your caring role.