Why do carers need assessments?
A carers’ assessment gives carers the opportunity to say what could help them with their caring role. Carers have a legal right to an assessment.
All professionals who are in contact with any carer, or who meet new carers, should ensure that they are given the option to have this formal opportunity to talk about their needs. This is a statutory obligation for social care and other council staff.
If a carer says they do not want an assessment, find out why. It may be that they cannot see the point, do not understand what is on offer, or don’t feel comfortable talking about their needs (as opposed to those of the person they care for). You must be able to explain to them why a formal conversation about their needs for support might be valuable to them and not just another pointless bureaucratic process.
Having their own assessment al
lows the carer to meet with a social worker or health worker to:
- look at what help they need to support them as a carer
- find out what help and support may be available
- make a decision about the future
To be eligible for a carer's assessment they must:
- be looking after, or intending to look after, someone who may have community care needs (even if that person has not had a community care assessment or isn’t receiving any services); and
- be providing, or intending to provide, a substantial amount of care on a regular basis
Note that “regular” could mean once a day or once a month. “Substantial” does not have a definition in the law: this is deliberate, because how substantial a caring role is felt to be depends on the carer’s personal circumstances, such as whether or not they are working and how physically able they are. It is important to remember that the carer’s needs may not match those of the person they care for; for example, someone using community care services that has moderate needs may have a carer who is experiencing critical need.
Don’t forget: A carer’s assessment under carers’ legislation should be seen as part of the overall assessment process.
More information about the legislation and guidance that drives carers’ assessments is available here: legislation and policy.
Further guidance on the availability of carers’ assessments in Scotland is available on Carers Scotland