Is it time for a carers assessment? (my story)
I have never had a carers assessment, but was aware that I might be entitled to one (Care Act 2014). I took the opportunity to ask other carers on Twitter and the Carers Coaching Space Facebook Group about their experiences. The response was very mixed, some had one annually, others had never heard of it and a few had negative experiences, finding their carers assessment to be unhelpful.
“A carer’s assessment is for carers over 18 years old who are looking after another adult over 18 years old who is disabled, ill or elderly. It is an opportunity to record the impact caring has on your life and what support or services you need. The assessment will look at for example, physical, mental and emotional needs, and whether you are able or willing to carry on caring.” Find out more from Carers UK
Curious to know what my experience would be and what was available in my area I started the process. Starting with my county council website I logged a request. I received a voicemail message a couple of days later, phoned back and had a chat with Greg.
It was reassuring to talk to someone, I felt listened to and Greg helped me work out if I needed a carers assessment at this stage or if some next steps, information and signposting was more relevant. My caring role isn’t having a big impact on me, my wellbeing is good but I want to be prepared for the future, so we agreed it was the latter.
My key take-aways:
- Informed about the “Take a break service” - up to 3 days of respite care, no charge for this service
- Reminded about our local carers hub and emergency care planning - through Princess Royal Trust for Carers - I’ve already signed up for this
- Directed to website https://www.connecttosupporthampshire.org.uk/carersupport and highlighted “Ask Sara” who help with equipment that might make caring easier
- Explained Financial Threshold is currently £23,250 (ie if you have savings over this amount you will need to pay for your own care
- Reassured about the future. My husbands care needs will increase and I want to plan for the future, what if we have used up all our savings to pay for care, we own our own home, which our children also live in. Care won’t be funded by our home.
I think I already had worked most of this out by looking online, although I had not pinned it down to these key points. I feel more in control and reassured that I can pick up the phone and start the process when needs change. I was encouraged not to leave things to the point of carer breakdown and to get in touch if things were stressful, difficult or my health was impacted. “Don’t be a stranger” said Greg.
Advice for other carers?
Your situation may be similar or very different - we are all unique. I think I would at least find out what the process is to have a carers assessment in your area, make contact, have a chat and check you have all the info and support you need for now. The person you are caring for can also be assessed for support, the 2 assessments can be combined, which might make sense if you have similar thinking about how you want to be supported.
NICE guidance on supporting adult carers (draft) “Be aware that a well-conducted carer’s assessment may in itself be a therapeutic intervention or a means of preventing future problems.”