For Families and Carers : Getting ready for a Carer’s Assessment

This information is for people who provide unpaid care to an adult over 18, in England, who has Down’s syndrome. The adult the carer supports does not need to be in receipt of social care support themselves for a carer to be found eligible for carer’s support.

Though it is not strictly necessary to plan ahead for the assessment, as it is possible to work with the assessor to gather information about your situation, many people find it helpful to gather this information beforehand.

You can contact the DSA helpline if you have further questions about assessments.

What is The Care Act (2014)?

The Care Act (2014) sets out the way local authorities must work when assessing and meeting the care and support needs of their local population. Local authorities must consider a Carer’s needs and the impact of these on their wellbeing. They must consider the outcomes the carer themselves wishes to achieve from their day-to-day life. This means considering whether the provision of support is necessary to enable the carer to maintain their caring role and achieve their own goals.

What are the ‘eligibility criteria’?

The local authority will use national eligibility criteria to find out if you are eligible for care and support to be provided.

Where a carer has fluctuating needs the local authority must take the person’s circumstances into account over such a period as it considers necessary to establish accurately the carer’s level of need.

To be eligible a carer’s needs must meet the following three criteria:

  1. The carer’s needs arise as a consequence of providing necessary care for an adult.
  2. The effect of the carer’s needs mean:
    a.) The carers physical or mental health is, or is at risk of, deteriorating
    b.) The carer is unable to achieve one or more of the following:
    i.     Carrying out any caring responsibilities the carer has for a child
    ii.    Providing care to other persons for whom the carer provides care
    iii.   Maintaining a habitable home environment in the carer’s home (whether or not this is also the home of the adult being cared for)
    iv.   Managing and maintaining nutrition
    v.    Developing and maintaining family or other personal relationships
    vi.   Engaging in work, training, education or volunteering
    vii.  Making use of necessary facilities or services in the local community, including recreational facilities or services
    viii. Engaging in recreational activities
    A person would be regarded unable to meet these outcomes if they are unable to achieve them:
    * Without assistance
    * If achieving them would cause significant pain, distress or anxiety
    * If achieving them is likely to endanger their health or safety or that of others
  3. There is, or is likely to be, a significant impact on the person’s wellbeing.
What does wellbeing mean under the Care Act (2014)?

Wellbeing relates to a person’s:

  • Personal dignity (including treatment of the individual with respect)
  • Physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing
  • Protection from abuse and neglect
  • Control over day to day life (including over care and support and how this is provided)
  • Participation in work, education training or recreation
  • Social and economic wellbeing
  • Domestic, family, and personal relationships
  • Suitability of living accommodation
  • Contribution to society
What can I expect from the process?

The assessment should put the carer at the centre. This means the carer’s wishes and preferences should be sought and the outcomes they have for their own day-to-day life considered. The carer should be involved with every stage of the assessment and support planning process. Carer’s are entitled to have their assessment in private, i.e. away from the adult they care for.

By law the local authority must:

  • Ensure the carer is able to participate as fully as possible in the process, (this may be achieved through the support of a family member or friend or through the provision of an advocate)
  • Consider whether the carer is able and willing to provide care for the adult needing care and is likely to continue to be able and willing to do so
  • Take the carer’s views, wishes, feelings and beliefs into account
  • Consider the outcomes the carer wishes to achieve in their day-to-day life
  • Consider whether the carer works and/or participates in education, training or recreation or wishes to do so
  • Consider the impact on the carers wellbeing and take the view the carer is best placed to judge their own wellbeing
  • Consider how the carer’s circumstances affect their wellbeing
  • Consider how the provision of information or support may prevent or delay further needs from developing

Local authorities must also consider the Care and Support Statutory Guidance when assessing people’s needs and providing support and services. You can access this guidance here.

What information about your role as a carer does the local authority need?

The local authority will need to understand your circumstances. You will therefore need to provide them with evidence about:

  • How your needs arise due to delivering ‘necessary care’ to an adult
  • How your needs affect your physical and/or mental health
  • Whether you are ‘unable’ to meet any of the outcomes i-viii above
  • The impact of your caring role on your wellbeing

To identify the things you do as a carer it might help to think about what would happen if you were not able to fulfil your caring role and what would need to be organised to support the person you care for. You may find it helpful to keep a diary of a week in the life of the person you support to capture the support that you and others provide to them.

Who can provide information/evidence of your needs as a carer?

The local authority must take into account any relevant information that is provided to them when undertaking a Carer’s Assessment. It is advisable to provide evidence of your needs and wishes in writing. In addition to any information you provide, information can come from:

  • Family members
  • Friends who know you and your situation well
  • Any relevant professionals, for example, your GP

You may also want to contact some national carers’ organisations who may be able to help you get ready for an adult carers assessment. You’ll find details here.

Carer's benefits

Carers may be able to claim Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Premium/Addition. For more information see our Benefits: an Overview leaflet.

Our Benefits Advisors can offer more information about how to apply for benefits. For help with this please call the Down’s Syndrome Association Helpline on 0333 1212 30 and ask to speak to a benefits advisor or email info@downs-syndrome.org.uk.

Final note

Remember to collect all the information gathered from the relevant people (friends, family, and professionals) and provide this to the assessor during your carer’s assessment. Remember to keep copies of this information.

If you have any questions about assessments please call our Helpline on 0333 1212 300 or email info@downs-syndrome.org.uk

Click here for more sources of information

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