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Young Carers Assessments in England

Young carers have a right to an assessment of their needs separate from the needs of the person they care for. Assessments must be requested and young carers have to be providing or intending to provide a substantial amount of care on a regular basis.
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingIntegrationCarer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Health careCarers servicesSocial careEducationCommissioning
I work with: 
Young carers
Location: 
England
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 11:45
Body: 

What rights do young carers currently have to assessment?

Young carers have a right to an assessment of their needs separate from the needs of the person they care for (Carers Recognition and Services Act 1995 and Carers Equal Opportunities Act 2004).

Assessments must be requested and young carers have to be providing or intending to provide a substantial amount of care on a regular basis.

Where appropriate, young carers are also entitled to assessment as a child in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989.

Proposed new rights to assessment

Proposed new rights to assessment from April 2015 (Care Act 2014 and Children and Families Act 2014) include:

  • All young carers under the age of 18 will have a right to an assessment regardless of who they care for, what type of care they provide or how often they provide it.
  • A young carer has the right to an assessment based on the appearance of need – which means that young carers will no longer have to request an assessment or be undertaking a ‘regular and substantial’ amount of care.
  • An assessment can still be requested but should also be offered.
  • Local authorities must take a whole family approach to assessing and supporting adults so that young carer’s needs are identified when undertaking an adult or adult carer’s needs assessment.

Local authorities should ensure that adult’s and children’s social services work together to ensure assessments are effective. 

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Young Carer Services

Young carers’ services provide a level of expertise in supporting young carers that universal services, by virtue of being universal, cannot provide.
Area of Care: 
Mental HealthPhysical illness
Outcomes: 
PreventionCarer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Health carePrimary careHospitalsMental health careHealth and wellbeingCarers servicesCarers involvementCarers breaksInformation and adviceCommissioning for carersCommissioning for young carersSocial careEducationCommissioning
I work with: 
Young carers
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 11:45
Body: 

Young carers’ services provide a level of expertise in supporting young carers that universal services, by virtue of being universal, cannot provide.

Many are able to be flexible and creative in how they deliver services. By championing the needs of young carers and families, many local services have also driven forward strategic change and workforce development in local areas.

Early intervention

Young carer services offer a range of early intervention and prevention support to young people with caring responsibilities aimed at:  

  • identifying and supporting young carers early
  • reducing inappropriate or excessive caring roles
  • improving young carers physical, mental and emotional health
  • reducing barriers to accessing and sustaining education, training and employment
  • Improving young carers’ life chances and helping them reach their potential.

Young carer services range in size and services offered, with funding coming from a range of sources including local authorities and voluntary sector grants.

Many young carer’s services have now also adopted a whole family approach. Many are now assessing and responding to the needs of the whole family by directly supporting families or by actively coordinating the support of other services.

Different types of activities offered include

  • activities and breaks
  • peer and community support, including young carers groups and peer mentoring schemes
  • information, advice and guidance, including 1:1 support and age appropriate information
  • emotional support
  • advocacy
  • brokerage and support planning
  • training in subjects such as health and safety, wellbeing and life skills
  • supporting families and young carers to apply for appropriate benefits
  • emergency planning support
  • whole family support
  • raising awareness and upskilling the workforce, including engagement with education, health and social care professionals
  • Young carers informing service development.

Where are young carer services located?

The Children's Society website has a map of young carers projects around the UK. Use the postcode, address or county search to zoom in to find local projects.

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Who are young carers?

Young carers are children and young people under 18 years old who provide unpaid care to a family member who is physically or mentally ill, disabled or misuses substances.
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingCarer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Health carePrimary careHospitalsMental health careHealth and wellbeingCarers servicesCarers involvementCarers breaksInformation and adviceCommissioning for carersCommissioning for young carersEmploymentSocial careEducationCommissioning
I work with: 
Young adult carers
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 11:45
Body: 

Young carers are children and young people under 18 years old who provide unpaid care to a family member who is physically or mentally ill, disabled or misuses substances.

The tasks and level of caring undertaken by young carers can vary according to the nature of the illness or disability, the level and frequency of need for care and the structure of the family as a whole.

A young carer may undertake some or all of the following:

  • practical tasks such as cooking, housework, shopping
  • physical care such as lifting, helping up the stairs and physiotherapy
  • personal Care such as dressing, washing and helping someone go to the toilet
  • emotional support such as listening, calming someone and being present
  • household management such as paying the bills, managing finances and collecting benefits
  • looking after siblings such as putting to be and walking to school
  • interpreting for parents with hearing or speech impediments or English as an additional language
  • Administering medication such as insulin needles and preparing daily tablets.

How many young carers are there in the UK?

The 2011 census identifies over 200,000 young carers in the UK, but research by the BBC in 2010 indicates that there are as many as 700,000 young carers living in the UK.

Hidden carers

Carers remain hidden for many reasons including:

  • they do not realise that they are a carer or that their life is different to their peers
  • their parent’s do not realise that their children are carers
  • they worry that the family will be split up and taken into care
  • they don’t want to be any different from their peers
  • their parent’s condition is not obvious so people don’t think that they need any help
  • there has been no opportunity to share their story
  • They see no reason or positive actions occurring as a result of telling their story.

Why do young carers need your support?

Young carers often go unnoticed in their communities, but the negative impacts of caring on young people can be very real and enduring. If left unsupported young carers can take on responsibilities that will have a lasting effect on their health and wellbeing, friendships and life opportunities.

Many young carers experience issues with their:

  • physical health: often severely affected by caring through the night, repeatedly lifting a heavy adult, poor diet and lack of sleep
  • emotional wellbeing: stress, tiredness and mental ill-health are common for young carers
  • isolation: feeling different or isolated from their peers and with limited social opportunities
  • Lack of a stable environment: traumatic life changes such as bereavement, family break-up, losing income and housing, or seeing the effects of an illness or addiction.

The wider impacts of these effects can be felt on a young carer in their education, employment and their health and wellbeing.

Find out more

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Carers assessments

Different kinds of carers assessments are often carried out by or on behalf of different agencies – for example, local authorities, the NHS, and local carers organisations.
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingIntegrationCarers in employment
I work in: 
Health careCarers servicesCarers involvementInformation and adviceCommissioning for carersCommissioning for young carersSocial careCommissioning
I work with: 
Adult carers
Caring for: 
Adults
Location: 
England
Date Revised: 
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 11:30
Body: 

What kind of carers assessment?

Different kinds of carers assessments are often carried out by or on behalf of different agencies – for example, local authorities, the NHS, and local carers organisations. 

The information below and on the purpose of a carers assessment page relates to carers assessments carried out as a statutory responsibility of the local authority. Sometimes these are carried out by another organisation (such as a carers centre) on behalf of the local authority.

Currently adult carers have rights to an assessment under the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000. In April 2015, the Care Act 2014 will come into force which will change the way in which carers assessments need to be offered and provided.

Functions of carers assessment

A carers assessment performs two functions: firstly it is a gateway to support provided by a local authority, and secondly it is an opportunity for a carer to express whether they wish to continue caring, how their life is, and what would help them.  

If it is done well, it can also be a positive intervention in its own right, with carers feeling they have been listened to and valued, and that they know who to contact if they need help in the future. 

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.

Currently under the law, a carer needs to be undertaking “regular and substantial caring” and needs to request an assessment in order to have a right to an assessment. This was problematic as the definitions of “regular” and “substantial” were unclear. Under the Care Act 2014, all carers should be offered an assessment, based on the appearance that they have a need for support. 

Carers who refuse an assessment

If a carer says they do not want an assessment, it is a good idea to 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). 

Often, carers worry about having an “assessment” and fear that they are being assessed as to whether they are a “good enough” carer. It is important to explain the purpose of an assessment and that they might be able to get support as a result. 

It is also important to explain what the assessment is for in order to enable to carer to think about it in advance.

Further information

The purpose of a carers assessment

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What is a Carer Friendly Pharmacy?

Led by Carers Trust and partners PSNC and CPPE, the Carer-friendly Pharmacy model was designed by carers, carers organisations, Local Pharmaceutical Committees, community pharmacy staff, a GP Champion for Carers and a local authority Carers Lead.
Area of Care: 
Primary Care
Outcomes: 
Carer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Primary carePharmacy ServicesCarers servicesCommissioning
Location: 
England
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 10:45
Body: 

Picture of Pharmacy leaflet

What makes a pharmacy 'carer-friendly'? 

  • Staff are trained to be carer aware, sensitive to carers’ needs and the challenges they face and are confident in engaging with and supporting carers.
  • Staff are pro-active in identifying, referring and supporting carers.
  • The pharmacy team has a Carers Champion,  along with a deputy, whose role it is to encourage and facilitate carer referrals, act as a contact point for external agencies such as the local carers organisation and GP practices and maintain stocks of resources.
  • Posters and/or other related materials encourage carers to self-identify, where space allows.
  • There are agreed carer pathways and procedures in place using PharmOutcomes software (or similar) to refer the carer to their local carers organisation, notify the carer's GP and offer the carer pharmacy services to support them in their caring role.
  • Where available, carers are offered a flu vaccination.

 

 

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Carer Involvement

Carer involvement and participation means carers being fully involved in service design, delivery and review – not simply relying on consultation. It places carers in a much more active role and should be based on power sharing.
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingIntegrationHealth inequalitiesCarer awarenessIdentifying carersCarers in employment
I work in: 
Health carePrimary careHospitalsMental health careHealth and wellbeingCarers servicesCarers involvementCarers breaksInformation and adviceCommissioning for carersCommissioning for young carersEmploymentSocial careEducationCommissioning
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 08:00
Body: 

Carer involvement and participation means carers being fully involved in service design, delivery and review – not simply relying on consultation. It places carers in a much more active role and should be based on power sharing.

Why involve carers?

Involving carers in planning and improving services makes good sense: they understand their needs and role. Carers undertake tasks and duties that most people don’t have the first idea about.

Talking to carers can also provide feedback about services that you could not get in any other way. Apart from their obvious knowledge about their own needs, carers are very often best placed, next to the person receiving care themselves, to talk about the needs of services users.

Carers should be key partners in planning and commissioning not only carers’ services but also services for the person being cared for.

Further information

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Carers in the Workforce

There are around seven million carers in the UK, of whom 4.27 million are of working age. Nearly one in eight workers is a carer.
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingCarer awarenessIdentifying carersCarers in employment
I work in: 
Health carePrimary careHospitalsMental health careHealth and wellbeingCarers servicesCarers involvementCarers breaksInformation and adviceEmploymentSocial careEducationCommissioning
I work with: 
Adult carers
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 16:15
Body: 

What employers should know

Key facts

  • There are around seven million carers in the UK, of whom 4.27 million are of working age.
  • According to the 2011 census, 42% are men and 58% women.
  • Every year in the UK over 2.3 million adults become carers and over 2.3 million adults stop being carers.
  • Three in five people will be carers at some point in their lives in the UK.
  • Nearly one in eight workers is a carer.

There is constant change as people move in and out of caring – so the proportion of your workforce likely to be affected at some time or another will be large.

The peak age for caring is 45-64 – when many employees, after years of developing their skills and increasing their experience, will be reaching the peak of their usefulness to you.

Why should we care about carers?

Recognising that there are carers in your workforce, and supporting them to manage their caring responsibilities and work can:

  • reduce stress and improve job performance
  • improve job satisfaction
  • improve commitment to the organisation
  • decrease staff turnover.

How can we support carers in our workforce?

Recognise them

Unlike parents, many carers are invisible in the workforce, reluctant to discuss their personal situation and unaware of the support available to them.

  • Quote “carers” specifically in policies and other documentation.
  • Nominate a key contact in the workplace.
  • Set up an internal carers group or forum – to allow carers to meet together occasionally – for mutual support, information sharing and to raise the profile of caring in the organisation. Depending on the type and structure of your organisation, this might be a face to face or virtual group.  Allow time for the carers you employ to attend the group.

Offer practical support through your employment policies and practices

Caring is often less predictable than child-care. Flexible working policies need to include the flexibility to change arrangements as caring responsibilities change. They also need to recognise the possibility of emergencies arising.

Implement flexible working policies compliant with the current law, and allowing as much flexibility for change as is consistent with business needs. Review all your employment policies to ensure they are ‘carer friendly’ – for example, does your policy on stress management recognise the complex linkages between work related and home related stress?  Also organise training for managers in carer awareness.

Ask them what will help them to successfully combine work and caring

The people who know best what will really make a difference to their ability to do a good job for you and keep up with their caring responsibilities at the same time, are the carers themselves.  There are often small and inexpensive things employers can do to help – such as:

  • allowing employees to leave mobile telephones on in meetings in case of emergencies
  • flexing start and finish times to help people deal with caring commitments before and after work
  • allowing people time and access to a telephone to check on the person they care for from time to time while working. 

So ask them.  Surveys, focus groups and employee carer groups are all useful ways to find out what the carers you employ would value.

Then develop a specific Carers in Employment policy setting out the various ways your organisation will support carers in the workforce.

Inform them

The impact of caring can be much better managed and controlled if carers have good information about services and support available.

  • advertise contact information about the local Carers Support Organisations
  • share Carers Trust website links
  • provide resources to support the internal Carers Group
  • hold information events
  • forge formal links with service provider organisations (including Carers Trust’s local Network Partners).
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