Carers Assessments

A series of blog posts for Carers Rights Day – 25th November 2021

As the Carers Assessment liaison worker at Carers Leeds, it has been my role to spread the word about Carers Assessment, increase access for carers as well as train social workers and wellbeing workers in all aspects of caring and how to undertake an assessment. I’m so pleased to have this opportunity in Carers Rights Week to share information more widely about something that is after all, the right of all carers to have.

Parent CarersWhat is it?

Under previous social care legislation, carers could request an assessment but not always be able to access one or have their needs recognised. The Care Act 2014 ensured that carers were recognised in law and now have the right to access support in the same way as the person they care for. The Act places carers on an equal footing with the cared for person in regards to assessment and provision of services once eligibility is established – more about eligibility later.

Carers have a right to request a Carers Assessment which focuses on their needs as carers and can consider the impact of the caring role on their mental and physical health. It is based on the principle of promoting well-being, preventing needs developing and reducing existing need. Leeds City Council has a responsibility to undertake an assessment for all carers who request one and must meet any eligible needs identified though the conversation.

Carers Two Young MenWho does the assessment?

In Leeds this is completed by a social worker or wellbeing worker employed by Adult Social Care during a conversation with the carer. This definitely is not an assessment of a carer’s abilities….far from it!! The aim is to learn about the current situation in a supportive way, what strengths and support a carer already has, what is more of a challenge and how the situation effects their health and well-being.

This can be done with a member of the Leeds City Council social work team who already supports you at the same time as a Needs Assessment for the person you care for, or at a separate appointment. You can also request a Carers Assessment through Carers Leeds if you don’t have a social worker. You can ask your support worker at Carers Leeds or request one by calling the Advice Line 0113 380 4300.

Man using a laptop for a meetingCould I be eligible for some help and support?

Although everyone who considers they are a carer has the right to an assessment, not everyone will be able to access support. A carer will be eligible if …..

  1. They are providing necessary care which the person they care for couldn’t manage without.
  2. Their mental or physical health is being affected
  3. They may be unable to achieve one of the following outcomes
    1. Carrying out any caring responsibilities the carer has for a child;
    2. Providing care to other persons for whom the carer provides care;
    3. maintaining a habitable home environment in the carer’s home (whether or not this is also the home of the adult needing care);
    4. Managing and maintaining nutrition;
    5. Developing and maintaining family or other personal relationships;
    6. Engaging in work, training, education or volunteering;
    7. Making use of necessary facilities or services in the local community, including recreational facilities or services; and engaging in recreational activities
  4. And this is having a significant effect on a carer’s mental or physical wellbeing

Support meetingIf I am eligible, what support could I get??

This will depend on your individual circumstances and it could be help with cleaning or with the garden, help to access the gym, help with driving lessons…something which supports a carer in their role. The conversation you have with the worker doing the assessment with you will help identify anything which might be of help.

Many assessments don’t result in a carer being given an additional service but it may be that some further information or advice about what might help them can be provided. Many carers also tell us that they have found it helpful to have had the opportunity to talk to someone about their situation- the focus is completely on the carer and their experiences and feelings, which doesn’t always happen as the focus is often so much on the person they care for.

Please do ask your Carers Leeds workers about a Carers Assessment, or ring the Advice line and ask to be referred. Even if you are not eligible for any specific help, it’s always good to talk and explore other ways to get support for you in your caring role.

Helen Sutcliffe