Carer's needs assessments
If you are an adult, and provide care to a relative, partner or friend, you are entitled to an assessment of your own needs, whether or not the person you care for is receiving any social care services.
Many carers have a carer's needs assessment at about the same time as the person they care for is getting their needs assessed. But you can ask for a carer's needs assessment at any time, even if the person you care for doesn't want any help from Social Services, or if they are already getting help.
The carer's needs assessment is a conversation with a trained member of staff. The assessment will focus on your needs and concerns as a carer and not those of the person you care for. You should feel free to ask questions and tell us if there is anything you don't understand.
For the majority of carers, the support that is provided will involve understanding their needs through a discussion of their caring role, and signposting to appropriate information and community services to assist them.
How does the assessment work?
A trained member of staff will meet with you to talk about how you are coping with looking after the person you care for.
The assessment is not a test to see if you are doing it well enough, but an opportunity for you to talk about how you feel and what effect caring has on your own life.
The carer's needs assessment is also a chance for you to find out if there is any support available to help you in your role as carer.
The assessment may cover such things as:
- how long you have been caring;
- your current physical and emotional health;
- what would happen if you were ill, or if there was some other emergency;
- how much help you receive;
- how often you do or don't have a full night's sleep;
- the physical, emotional and practical impact of your caring role;
- any other responsibilities you may have such as dependent children;
- whether you are in paid employment or would like to work or take up training while continuing with your caring role;
- what effect the caring role has on your other relationships and friendships;
- whether you have any 'free' time outside your caring role, and whether you have any time for leisure activities;
- any other aspirations you have which are currently limited by your caring role.
Preparing for the assessment
You can prepare for the carer's needs assessment by thinking about the kind of support that would make it easier for you to care, or to continue caring. It may help you to think about the things you do to help the person you care for, such as housework, helping them to have a bath, or just popping in to check they are safe and well. It will also help you think about what impact this has on your other day-to-day responsibilities.
If you wish, you can also tell us how you feel about the things you do, and whether you find any of them difficult or stressful.
Why should I have a carer's needs assessment?
The carer's needs assessment could:
- provide an opportunity to talk through issues, consider your own needs, and think about planning for the future;
- provide information on practical support, benefits, grants, carers groups and voluntary services.
If the person you care for is getting help from Social Services, the carer's needs assessment also gives you a chance to say what you can and can't provide as part of their care.