How to get a carer’s assessment?
Anyone who regularly provides a substantial amount of care, or intends to do so, is legally entitled to a free carer’s assessment. Even in cases where the person being cared for refuses to be assessed, the carer can still have an assessment. If the responsibility of caring is shared with someone else, you can both have a carer’s assessment if you both provide a substantial amount of care regularly.
How to Get an Assessment
The social services department of the local authority where the person being cared for lives is responsible for carrying out carer’s assessments, so you need to contact them, preferably in writing or via email, and request an assessment. Whether you are just about to start caring or have been caring for someone for a while, you can ask for an assessment of your needs.
What a Carer’s Assessment Involves
A social worker or other professional nominated by social services will normally carry out the assessment at a face-to-face meeting. Sometimes a carer will be asked to fill in a self assessment
questionnaire prior to the meeting to provide some background information. The meeting should be held somewhere private and convenient for you usually your home or a social worker’s office. If it would be better for you for the assessment to be carried out over the phone, this can be done. You are entitled to have a family member, friend or professional person with you, and should discuss this when the meeting is arranged. It is up to you whether the person you care for is at the meeting.
It is important that you provide as much information as possible about your caring role, and it may be helpful to make some notes before the meeting covering the following topics.
Health – Whether you or the person you care for has any health problems, whether you find any
nursing care difficult to cope with, if you are sleeping well and if you feel depressed or stressed.
Time – How long you spend providing care. What you do if you have to help at night. If anyone else
helps and whether you would like help with anything.
Choice – Whether you feel you have any choice about being caring and if you need to change anything about the situation.
Housing – Whether you live with the person you look after and whether this is satisfactory. Do you have to help them move around and if so can you manage this without hurting yourself. Do you need any special equipment?
Work and leisure – Do you work or study and if so how long each week? How are you managing and is there anything that would make it easier? Have you had to give up any social activities as a result of your caring responsibilities? What you would need in the event of an emergency which meant you could not carry out your caring duties.
This will help to identify any areas where you need help to continue caring. If you need some respite from caring, either for a few hours a week or for a residential nursing care assessment, the social worker may be able to help you arrange this. Similarly, if you need extra equipment or advice from a professional such as an occupational therapist, they can help you to access this.
After the assessment, you should be notified in writing about the support needs identified and how they are to be addressed. You can choose how much to accept of the help that is offered as you know best what you need.