Carers Support & Advocacy

What support is available to me?

We recognise that the role of a carer can be very demanding, difficult, and isolating. The following information provides guidance on how to access support that you may need.


Your GP

It is important that you let you General Practitioner (GP) know that you have caring responsibilities. They will be able to advise you how
to reach the appropriate support to meet your needs.


Carers’ assessment

Anyone who provides unpaid regular and substantial care is entitled to have a carers’ assessment. This is an assessment of your own
wellbeing and how caring has affected you. You are entitled to an assessment of your needs as a carer, even when the person you support refuses to use the services they need.

An assessment should happen at least once a year, and when there are any major changes to your circumstances or those of the person you care for. After the assessment, you should receive a written support plan setting out how any identified needs will be met. Local services may vary.

The following information offers information depending on whether you care for an adult or child.


For adult services:

Local councils can provide care and support for carers. 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 your physical, mental, and emotional needs, and whether you are able or willing to carry on caring.

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.

For further information about carer assessments, visit: https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/practical-support/getting-care-and-support


For child and adolescent services:

Local councils are required to assess parent carers on the appearance of need or where an assessment is requested by the parent. This is
called a parent carer needs assessment. 

The local council must be satisfied that the child and their family come within the scope of the Children’s Act, i.e., that the child is a
child in need.

The local council must then assess:

·      whether a parent carer has needs for support and what those needs are

·      whether it is appropriate for the parent to provide, or continue to provide, care for the disabled child, in the light of the parent’s needs for support, other needs and wishes

Parent carers’ needs assessment must also consider:

·      the wellbeing of the parent carer

·      the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child cared for, and any other child for whom the parent carer has parental
responsibility

For further information about parent carer assessments,
visit: https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/practical-support/getting-care-and-support/young-carers-and-carers-of-children-under-18


Carer advocacy

There are groups which may be able to act as an advocate for you, or the person you care for, when you make a complaint. Advocacy is when
someone makes sure that your opinion and experiences are properly heard by health or social services. They can also contact organisations on your behalf if you are not comfortable doing this and will make sure that none of the things you want to say get forgotten, missed or ignored.

Contact your local carer service and ask if advocacy is something they can support you with. Or they may be able to put you in touch
with other local organisations that provide advocacy.

Carers UK has a self-advocacy guide for carers which provides information and suggests way to help carers advocate for themselves Being Heard: a self-advocacy guide for carers – Carers UK

 

Personal budgets for carers

Personal budgets for carers are available where services that have been identified through the carers’ assessment process can be bought
by the carer. Personal budgets can give people greater control and flexibility in the support they receive. For more information visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/money-work-and-benefits/personal-budgets/


Useful links (carer support)

Carers UK has a telephone helpline available on 0808 808 7777 from Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm or you can contact them by email (advice@carersuk.org).
For more information, visit https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/talk-to-us.
They have also put together a simple tool for people who are new to caring https://www.carersuk.org/upfront/.

For details of local carers’ organisations, visit https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/get-support/local-support.

Support from other carers is available from Carers UK via an online forum https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/get-support/carersuk-forum.

Citizens Advice provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice in England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland www.citizensadvice.org.uk.

Contact is a national charity that supports the families of children with additional needs in England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland www.contact.org.uk. Call 0808 808 3555 or email helpline@contact.org.uk


Mental Health

NHS England has produced a secure carer toolkit which sets out how carers of people who use secure mental health services
should be engaged, supported, and empowered. 
To access the toolkit visit: www.England.nhs.uk/securecarerstoolkit

The Mental Health Foundation have produced an excellent A-Z of everything mental health which you can access here: 

www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z

Mind provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness, and promote understanding. www.mind.org.uk

The aim of Rethink is to improve the lives of people severely affected by mental illness through local groups and services, expert information, and successful campaigning. www.rethink.org

Carers Trust is a major charity for, with and about carers. They work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems: www.carers.org

 

Learning Disabilities and Autism

NHS England have produced resources about involving people with a learning disability, autistic people and family carers:
https://www.england.nhs.uk/learning-disabilities/about/get-involved/involving-people/

The National Autistic Society offers impartial, confidential information along with advice and support for people on the autism spectrum and their families and carers. www.autism.org.uk

 

Neurological

Headway is the UK-wide charity that works to improve life after brain injury by providing vital support and information services: www.headway.org.uk

The Stoke Association offers resources to families and survivors of stroke: www.stroke.org.uk/peer-support

The Encephalitis Society improves the quality of life of all people affected directly and indirectly by encephalitis by providing support and information and raising awareness: www.encephalitis.info

The Huntington’s Disease Association helps people living with Huntington’s disease to live a better life. They work to improve care and support services for people with Huntington’s disease, educate families and professionals, and champion people’s rights: www.hda.org.uk

The Multiple Sclerosis Society (MS) offer information on support groups and ways to connect with people who understand what life’s like with MS: www.mssociety.org.uk

The Motor Neurone Disease Association funds and promotes global research into MND and provides support to people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland: www.mndassociation.org

 

Children and Education

If you’re worried about a child or need advice and support for coping with anything affecting your child’s emotional or mental health,
there are different ways to seek help.

www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/mental-health-services/camhs-information-for-parents-and-carers/

The NSPCC is a charity who work to protect children and prevent abuse: www.nspcc.org.uk