A carer's assessment looks at your role as a carer: how being a carer affects you, how much caring you can realistically do while still allowing you to be involved in other activities outside caring, and any help you may need.

What is a carer’s assessment?

Carers have a statutory right to their own assessment, even if the person they care for does not wish to engage with services. Carers often feel that if the person who is ill is receiving the right services then their needs are being met. It is important to realise that this is not an assessment of your ability to care or your financial status.

For many people who see themselves as ‘just getting on with it’, discussing being a carer and talking about how much it involved and the impact on you, as a person, can be difficult. However, if the assessment is offered at the appropriate time and by someone willing to spend time going through your assessment with you, it should enable you to identify where you may need support and how to get it. This should improve your ability to cope with your role.  The assessment is about you. A carer may be able to speak more freely on their own without the person they care for being present. If there is more than one carer providing regular care in your household, you are both entitled to an assessment.

 

What does it assess?

The assessment is an opportunity for you to help the social worker, or the mental health worker undertaking it with you, to understand the impact caring has on you, and talk about the services they may be able to provide to help you. If an assessment has not been offered to you by a health or social care professional, then it is perfectly alright for you to request one when you feel comfortable about it. If it is offered in front of the person you care for you might feel uncomfortable accepting it. If you do turn it down, this does not stop you approaching the care co-ordinator later to accept the carer’s assessment. Also ask that whoever carries out the assessment will actually spend time with you, helping you to fill out the form. You may find that discussing different issues helps you to be clearer about your role, your needs, and what, if anything, can be done to lighten the burden.

A carer’s assessment should not be given to you as a form that you fill in by yourself. A representative from your local health and social care trust should spend time with you, discussing your needs and will fill in the assessment forms. You should receive a copy of the assessment soon afterwards.

You can request a carer's assessment by contacting the Carers’ Co-ordinator within your local health and social care trust.

 

Carers’ benefits and entitlements

Knowing what other practical and possible financial help you are entitled to as a carer is crucial.  It can be one of the first steps in effectively managing every day as a carer.

If you are unsure about what you are entitled to or have questions about benefits if your circumstances change, get help from a local advice service.  Don’t go it alone trying to navigate benefits or entitlements systems or applications if you don’t feel you know enough about them or are even uncertain about where to start.  There are excellent local advice centres across Northern Ireland to help you.  We have put some useful links overleaf to services and advice guidance.

Here is a short video promoting Carers' Assessments (support plans) that provide support to carers.