If you are providing regular care for someone then you are entitled to have an assessment of your own needs by the local authority.

You will be entitled to an assessment regardless of the amount or type of care you provide, your financial means or your level of need for support. You don’t necessarily have to live with the person you are looking after or be caring full-time to have an assessment. You may be juggling work and care and this is having a big impact on your life.

What is a Carer’s Assessment?

As a Carer for a relative or friend you now have a legal right to an assessment of your own needs.

The purpose of a Carer’s assessment is to discuss with social services the help you need with caring, together with help to maintain your own health and balance caring with your life, work and family commitments. It is an opportunity to make sure that your needs are understood and for you to talk about the help you need.

The assessment is free and confidential.

The assessment is not dependent on whether the person you care for receives any support from social services. You do not have to be living with the person you care for to receive an assessment, nor do you have to be the sole Carer.

You also have the right to an assessment if you are planning to provide care in the near future – for example, for someone being discharged from hospital  with ongoing care needs.

How do I get an Assessment?

If the person you care for has a social worker or care manager you can ask them to provide a Carer’s assessment.

Contact Buckinghamshire County Council Social Services on 01296 383 204.

If the person you look after is in hospital, speak to a nurse and ask to be put in touch with a hospital social worker.

If you are a Carer between the ages of 16 and 18 years you can ask the family’s social worker for an assessment.

If you are caring for a person under the age of 18 your needs as a Carer will be considered as part of the Assessment Framework for Children rather than as a separate Carer’s Assessment. However, you can still request your own assessment if you feel that this is necessary.

Please call Carers Bucks on 0300 777 2722 for further advice and support about Carers Assessments.

What does the Assessment involve?

Usually a social worker or care manager will arrange to meet you at a time and place that suits you. You can ask for the assessment to be private, as it may be difficult to speak about your caring role in front of the person you care for. Or you can choose to have your assessment done at the same time as the needs of the person you care for are being assessed. You choose which is most comfortable for you.

A Carers’ assessment should be a face to face discussion with the care professional; it should not be conducted over the phone nor should you be sent an assessment form to be filled in and sent back without discussion or assistance.

Remember the assessment is your opportunity to discuss your caring role and how it affects you. Some of the issues you may want to consider:

  • the type of care you are providing and the time it takes
  • what difficulties you may be having in your caring role
  • what would happen in an emergency
  • planning for the future
  • how caring may be affecting your:
    • finances
    • health
    • housing
    • leisure
    • relationships
    • work

Preparing for the Assessment

A Carer’s assessment is your time to discuss your own needs and concerns. The focus of the assessment will be on you and not the person you care for.

To make the best use of the time available it may be helpful for you to spend some time thinking about your situation and what the main issues are for yourself and, possibly, other family members. For example, you may wish you had more time for yourself or for friends and family; you might want to have some training on lifting and moving or giving medication; perhaps your caring role is causing problems with your work.

You may find it hard to think what is involved in caring, as you just see it as part of everyday life. Carers Bucks staff are available to help you think through some of these issues in confidence and help you prepare for a Carer’s assessment. Contact Carers Bucks.

What Happens after the Assessment?

After assessing your needs, the care professional will discuss with you the best ways to meet them and develop a care plan to support you. The plan may include such things as opportunities for a break, information and advice on local support services for Carers and benefits advice.

Some support services may involve a charge. This will be explained to you at the time. Some services are free.

Further information

For more details on Carers’ Assessments visit the Carers UK website.