From 6 April 2016, you no longer need to be providing ‘regular and substantial’ care to be entitled to a carer’s needs assessment.
Under the new law, if you need support in your caring role (or you are likely to do so in the future), your local council has a duty to offer you a carer’s needs assessment. This applies to carers of all ages.
The person who carries out your carer’s needs assessment – usually a social worker, care worker or occupational therapist (OT) – will want to know what matters to you and what help you need to maximise your own well-being. This might include information and advice, training, emotional support or a short break.
You might be asked what your ‘personal outcomes’ are – this just means what is important to you in everyday life, for example, being able to go for a walk or to the theatre.
Your carer’s needs assessment must find out:
- If you are able and willing to continue in your caring role
- How you might balance your caring role with other aspects of your day-to-day life
- Whether or not you wish to work or continue to work
- If you want to participate in education, training or leisure activities.
Your carer’s needs assessment will NOT:
- Judge the way you are looking after the cared-for person (unless their safety – or yours – is at risk)
- Assume you want to carry on in your caring role.
Your carer’s needs assessment is your opportunity to raise any concerns you may have about your caring role and discuss what help, information or advice you might need to continue caring for the other person.
Sharing the caring role
The demands of modern life can mean that families often share the caring role.
You are entitled to a carer’s needs assessment even when there are multiple carers looking after one person – yes, all of you.
Help to get your voice heard
You can ask a friend or family member to support you during your carer’s needs assessment and help you to fully express your feelings and wishes.
If you don’t know someone suitable, you can ask your local council to find an advocate to support you.
When the carer is a child, the assessment will determine what the person with parental responsibility wants their child to achieve.
Recording your data
The new legislation requires local councils to keep a record of all well-being needs assessments where a support need is identified. This means that the information in your carer’s needs assessment may be shared with health professionals.