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Coronavirus - Advice For Carers To Help You During This Time

Carers matter too. If you are involved in providing regular care or support to a vulnerable friend or relative, it is essential that you are able to take care of yourself as well, especially during the uncertainty of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

It is also important to ensure that both of you are receiving any benefits or tax credits that you may be entitled to.

If the person for whom you are caring may be losing the capacity to make their own decisions, it will be useful to find out more about Lasting Power of Attorney, as this will help you to protect their interests in the future. There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney, Health and Welfare, which will enable you to make decisions regarding the health and medical care of the other person; and Property and Affairs, which allows you to look after their finances, as well as make decisions regarding any property that is held in their name.

Having an assessment

An assessment is the route that can enable both carers and the people they look after to access help and support from their local authority social services department. If you are providing regular and substantial care for someone else, you can ask to be assessed by your local authority, in order to agree the support that you need.

The department may be able to carry out a community care assessment of the needs of the person you are looking after, as well as conducting a separate assessment of your own needs as a carer.

Community care assessment for the person you care for

Social services should carry out an assessment of the person you are looking after if it appears they may be in need of community care services. This may be due to a disability, health condition, or simply the fact they are frail in old age.

In some cases, health services (such as the NHS) and social services will work together to ensure that a thorough assessment is carried out.

As a carer, you would usually be consulted as part of the community care assessment, unless the person you care for has any objections to your involvement.

There is guidance relating to specific groups of vulnerable people (including older people, people with learning disabilities and people with long-term conditions); which sets out how carers should be involved in the assessment and planning process for the person they are looking after.

Carers' Assessments

What is a Carers Assessment?

If you provide substantial and regular unpaid care for someone such as a relative, partner or friend, you may be entitled to a Carer's Assessment.

A Carer's Assessment is designed to identify your needs as a carer. This may be carried out in your own home by a social worker or other professional, or it may take place in your local Carers' Centre with a member of their trained staff. The assessment focuses on you and what you need to continue in your caring role. A Care Needs Assessment should also be offered for the person you care for if they have not yet had one, or a re-assessment should be arranged if their needs have changed.

What happens during the assessment?

The person carrying out the assessment will discuss with you your caring role and your own needs aside from caring, in order to understand the that you may need.

The assessment will consider:

  • Choice - whether the amount of care you that provide is actually your own choice
  • Health - the impact that providing care has upon your own health and wellbeing
  • Daily routines - the impact upon your own domestic needs, work and relationships
  • Involvement - your right to be involved in decisions made by the Social Work Department regarding the person you care for
  • Your needs - your own needs for time to do other things such as leisure and social activities

The person carrying out the assessment will fill in forms with the information you give them and ask you to sign them.

What happens after the assessment?

A copy of the outcome of your assessment will be sent to you, with details of the support the Social Work Department can offer you to meet your assessed needs. The support may include things that will benefit the person you care for as well as you as their carer. It may also cover aspects that will benefit you directly such as training and support at a Carers Centre.

How do I get it?

You can ask for a Carer's Assessment by contacting your local Social Work Department or Carers Centre. You can also drop in to your local Carers' Centre during opening hours to ask about this. Your GP, district nurse or health visitor can also request a Carer's Assessment for you.

You will also find advice and information on what should happen during and after an assessment for people living in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland via the Carers UK.

Because of COVID-19, no face-to-face assessments will be carried out for the time being and reassessments are temporarily on hold. For details of the latest changes visit the Gov.uk. We will update our information as soon as the situation changes.

Things you can do now

Government resources for information on coronavirus:

National health services

Go to the NHS 111 coronavirus service

England

Read NHS England guidance

Northern Ireland

Read Public Health Agency guidance

Scotland

Read NHS Inform information

Wales

Read NHS Direct Wales information

ACAS

Read ACAS' advice for employers and employees

Carers UK

Find support where you live on the Carers UK website

Read about support for carers on the Carers UK website

COVID-19 Mutual Aid

Find local community groups on COVID-19 Mutual Aid