Caring can be a rewarding experience, but it’s often challenging and there’s no manual. But knowing your rights can make your journey easier.
The Care Act 2014
The Care Act 2014 and the Children & Families Act 2014 strengthened the rights and and recognition of Carers in the social care system, and came into effect in April 2015.
The Care Act 2014 recognised the importance of Carers’ wellbeing including physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. It moves away from ‘providing services‘ and towards ‘meeting need‘ instead, which encourages diversity and individuality as each person’s needs will be individual to themselves. The Act outlines the way local authorities provide support to Carers, and how they can use other organisations such like the Carers’ Support Service to do so.
Most significantly, the Act states that all Carers who provide or intend to provide care are eligible for a Carer’s Assessment and can request one at any time.
Watch this video for more information about The Care Act 2014.
What is a Carer's Assessment?
Adult Social Care can provide care and support for those who require care, and their Carers. The way they make a decision about the support that they can provide is by carrying out assessments.
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 the Carer’s life and what support or services could help. The assessment will look at
- your caring role and how it affects your life and wellbeing
- your health – physical, mental and emotional issues
- your feelings and choices about caring
- work, study, training, leisure
- relationships, social activities and your goals
- planning for emergencies (such as a Carer Emergency Scheme)
The aim of the assessment is to help you get the support that you need. So it’s best to give your honest opinion about your caring role, the care you provide and your feelings about being a carer.
Any carer who appears to have needs for support can have an assessment in North East Lincolnshire by calling Single Point of Access on 01472 256256. As a carer 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 can have an assessment whether or not the person you care for has had their own needs assessment, or if the local council have decided they are not eligible for support.
Parent Carers who care for a child with additional needs are also able to access a needs assessment in their own right, and Young Carers are able to have their needs assessed as part of an assessment of the family. For more information call us on 01472 242277.
Caring & Working
Did you know that 5 million people in the UK are juggling caring responsibilities with work – that’s 1 in 7 of the workforce? However, the significant demands of caring mean that 600 people give up work every day to care for an older or disabled relative. (source Carers UK 2019)
It may feel as though your world has been turned upside down when you take on a caring role for a friend or relative. Caring can be unpredictable, it can happen overnight and often cannot be planned and work is important for well-being, income and to keep social contacts.
As a working Carer you may need support at work and often different levels of support at different times. You may find that the best or only way to manage your work and caring responsibilities is to change your work arrangements. You may also need to take leave at short notice for emergencies. Employers may also be able to offer additional flexibility through their own policies and procedures. Click here for the latest flexible working guide
Flexible working patterns can allow employees to manage both work and their caring responsibilities. Flexible working could include:
- Flexible starting and finishing hours
- Working from home
- Compressed working hours e.g. work a 35 hour week over four days instead of five
- Term-time working
- Job sharing and part time working
If you are thinking of leaving work, consider whether or not you really want to, and if not, what may help you stay in work.
First think about the things you would be giving up, and whether you really want to lose them
- will you manage with less money?
- do you want to give up the independence and social contact you have through your work?
- will you lose valuable skills if you leave?
- how would leaving work affect your future pension entitlement?
Then, think about ways around the problem, could you
- make a request for flexible working?
- take a career break?
- ask for extra help from social services?
- buy in care?
Remember that employers value skilled, experienced and committed members of staff and are keen to keep them. Your employer may be able to help in ways you have not considered. Talk to them about your situation.
Remember, you can request a Carers’ Needs Assessment to see what support is available. Call us on 01472 242277.
Caring & Your GP Practice
Your GP (General Practitioner) and primary care team (Practice Nurse, District Nurse, Health Visitor) can provide you with invaluable support, advice and information.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to continue to seek medical advice when needed for all medical issues. You can call your GP surgery or contact them via their website. They can then arrange for you to have a phone or video consultation with your GP who will be happy to advise you on next steps.
You should only visit a surgery if advised to by your doctor. However, do not hesitate to call 999 in an emergency. The NHS website also has some useful guidance on taking care of yourself and others.
There are a few things you can do to help any healthcare professional such as your GP support you better as a Carer.
- Ask your GP or their receptionist to put you on their Carers’ Register. This is the simplest way of getting the support you may need as a Carer. Some GP practices have arrangements in place for Carers, such as a more flexible appointment booking system. You may also be contacted about flu jabs and other services relevant to you as a Carer.
- If the person you care for is also a patient at the same practice as you, make the reception staff aware. If not, you may also want to think about letting the practice that your cared for person goes to know that they have a Carer.
- Communication is key. Be open with healthcare professionals about the impact your caring role has on you. The more they know, the better they can support you.
- All patients’ records are confidential! If you need a GP to discuss information with you about the person you care for, speak to the receptionist to find out what arrangements, if any, your practice has in place, and what you need to do to help make this happen.
There are also many services that can support you to look after your own health including occupational therapists, physiotherapists, continence advisers and dieticians which they can direct you to.
GP Carers’ Register
If you want your surgery to know that you are a Carer, click here to download a form which you can complete and hand to your doctor’s reception.
Have Your Say
Carers’ views are currently being sought through the following surveys:
The Carers’ Forum comprises a group of existing and former Carers, representing Carers’ interests; this group acts as an independent voice for Carers across North East Lincolnshire, and has a key role in the planning and development of local services and the promotion of Carers’ issues, rights and involvement.
The Forum is intended to provide a channel of communication between individual Carers, Carers’ groups, Carers’ organisations, the NEL Carers’ Strategy Group, NEL community members, commissioners, statutory services, private organisations and voluntary agencies.
The Forum aims to ensure that Carers are recognised, valued and supported. Its role is to:
- Raise awareness of Carers and Carers’ issues
- Educate the community of North East Lincolnshire to recognise Carers and become a Carer friendly community
- Consult, liaise with and inform all other relevant Carers’ forums, support groups and individual Carers, in order to accurately represent their views and support them to have their own voice
- Offer the unique experience, knowledge and skills of its members, to move the Carers’ agenda forward
- Get involved in the planning, commissioning and monitoring of local services
- Negotiate better terms for Carers across North East Lincolnshire
- Improve support to Carers and those they care for
- Talk about new and on-going issues and opportunities, and actively plan a forum strategy for dealing with them
- Inspire innovation and change across the health, social care and voluntary sector
- Organise publicity and awareness raising campaigns
- Network and be a key stakeholder on relevant boards, groups, bodies and projects – i.e. the Carers’ Strategy Group
The Forum is Carer-led and is open to Carers of people with varying needs. The Forum has a key role in the planning and development of local services and the promotion of issues affecting local Carers.
For more information about the Forum and becoming a member, please call the Carers’ Support Service on 01472 242277.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005
This video explains the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and how it can protect the right to make choices. For people who need the Act, their Carers, and others.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC)
Watch the clip to find out about the We All Care campaign from the CQC and how you can help.
Give feedback on your experiences of care (good and bad) with their online feedback form.
Get involved in their participation platform Citizen Lab
If you want to find or compare care homes, care agencies, hospitals, GPs, dentists or other care services, you can get all the information you need and read inspection reports here.
Beacon provide free expert advice and affordable representation for families who are struggling to navigate the maze of NHS Continuing Healthcare.
Care Sourcer lets you compare care homes in your local area.
Carers UK gives expert information and advice that’s tailored to your situation, to champion your rights and support you in finding new ways to manage at home, at work, or wherever you are.
Carers Trust give Carer’s a voice and highlight their work to the general public. We also campaign and work with politicians and policy holders to create real change for unpaid carers throughout the UK.
Cerebra Toolkit A toolkit is available from Cerebra which aims to support disabled people and Carers, as well as their families and advisers, who are encountering difficulties with the statutory agencies in relation to the provision of health, social care and education support services.
Contact supports families with disabled children with the best possible guidance and information. It brings families together to support each other, and helps families to campaign, volunteer and fundraise to improve life for themselves and others.
Council for Disabled Children An online library of resources that you can access to find out more about disability policy and practice which includes a selection of materials specifically written with parents in mind.
Disability Law Service provides free legal advice, information and representation to disabled people and their families or carers.
Family and Childcare Trust The Family and Childcare Trust works to make the UK a better place for families, focusing on childcare and the early years to make a difference to families’ lives now and in the long term.
Independent Age provides an information and advice service for older people, their families and carers, focusing on social care, welfare benefits and befriending services.
NHS Choices Your Guide to Care and Support Guide for people who have care and support needs, Carers and people who are planning for their future care needs.
Rights of Women A women’s charity working in a number of ways to help women through the law. Their services aim to provide women with the legal advice and information they need to understand and use the law and their legal rights.
SEND Code of Practice Guidance on the special educational needs and disability (SEND) system for children and young people aged 0 to 25.
Which? Later Life Care Free, independent and practical guidance about making care choices across the UK.