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Exploring your own needs as a carer

Carer’s Assessment

If you are 18 years and over and are providing care to someone 18 years and over you are entitled to an assessment of your own needs. This assessment will be carried out by your local adult social care team. How much care you provide and how much money you have is irrelevant. As long as your life is affected in some way by your caring role you are entitled to an assessment. If there are other people in your family providing support to the same person they too may benefit from a carer’s assessment. A carer’s assessment isn’t rationed to one per cared for person.

If you are under 18 you can still be assessed, but this is called a young carer’s assessment. Parent carers of a child under the age of 18 have similar rights to adult carers caring for an adult. 

Don’t be put off by the word assessment. It isn’t about checking up on you, it’s about having a conversation with you, exploring how caring is impacting on you, what your own needs are, and seeing if you are eligible for any help and support. You can ask to have a separate assessment or you can combine your assessment with the social care need’s assessment of the person you care for. It’s up to you.

In Surrey, you can access an assessment by contacting your local social care team:

You can also complete an online carer's assessment.

Asking the person you care for’s GP to make a referral on your behalf.

The assessment can be done over the phone or face to face. However it is undertaken, it should include exploring with you:

  • The level of care you are willing and able to provide
  • How caring is impacting on your life, including work, education, and leisure
  • Which of your needs meet the government eligibility criteria and therefore have to be addressed by the social care team.
  • To help the social care team decide if you have eligible needs, you will be asked three questions:
  • Are your needs the result of providing necessary care?
  • How is your caring role impacting you in terms of your day to day life?
  • Is there, or is there likely to be, a significant impact on your wellbeing as a result of caring?

If the answer is yes to these questions you are likely to be eligible for help and support.

If the assessor decides you do have eligible needs then Surrey County Council is legally obliged to meet those needs and must draw up a support plan for you showing how those needs will be met. This may involve directly providing, or arranging through another organisation, support or services to help you in your caring role and to have a life outside of caring, but it might also be by providing services to the person you care for. It could be a mix of both. Alternatively, you or the person you are looking after can request a direct payment, which is a payment to enable you to buy services to meet your eligible needs.

Although there is a financial assessment undertaken in relation to any social care provided to the person you care for, in Surrey there is currently no financial assessment or charge for services or support to you as the carer.

Things to think about

  1. Consider how you would like the assessment to be carried out. Do you want a separate conversation with the assessor away from the person you care for, so that you can be frank about your caring role?
  2. Think about who else you would like to involve. Would you like another family member with you or someone independent to help express your needs? Action for Carers in Surrey can give you support with the assessment process as well as refer you for an assessment. 
  3. Where would you like the assessment to be carried out? Would you like this to be in your own home, at the hospital or hospice, or at the local social care teams office? 
  4. Prepare for your carer’s assessment by thinking about what you want to cover and discuss with the assessor. Be honest and realistic about the impact of your end of life caring role, including what you are willing and able to continue with.  

For more in depth information about your legal rights to a carer’s assessment and eligibility for social care support see Having a carer's assessment.  

Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool (CSNAT)

All hospices providing palliative and end of life care to adults in Surrey are rolling out the use of a Carers Support Needs Assessment Tool. This short simple tool is designed to enable carers to identify what support they need to help them provide palliative and end of life care for a family member or friend. 

It is not a substitute for a statutory carer’s assessment. Instead, it is a short simple question and answer tool which highlights the 14 most common areas or domains of support that research has shown to be helpful to carers. You can use the tool to indicate whether or not you need more help or support in relation to each of those domains. 

The tool enables you as the carer to identify with a practitioner at the hospice those areas of care which are most important to you at the time. It gives a vehicle for a conversation between you about what your individual support needs are and to create an action plan. 

Social prescribing

Social prescribing is a free service run by either your local borough or local voluntary services for residents in Surrey that can explore your own health and wellbeing and put you in touch with a wide range of local services and activities in your community. It’s designed for people like yourself with a range of social, emotional, or practical needs who could benefit from a little help navigating their way through the community-based services and organisations available locally. 

You can access one to one appointments with a wellbeing adviser or social prescriber where you can talk about your concerns and the factors that affect your health and wellbeing. Referral to an advisor is in most cases via your GP practice, but referral routes can vary depending on where you live in Surrey.  

Two of the hospitals in Surrey (Epsom and St Helier University Hospital and Royal Surrey County Hospital) have also adopted carer passports. The carer passport gives carers concessions for parking, food, and drink at the hospital, and entitles carers to open visiting hours. One of the key outcomes of the passport noted by staff is that carers feel recognised and included as a partner in care. For further details talk to a member of staff at these 2 hospitals.