Many people are Carers although they may not recognise this as the task they undertake. Carers are people looking after relatives or friends (though not always sharing their home) who, because of disability, illness or the effects of old age cannot manage at home without help.
If you do decide to become a Carer, and the person you care for appears to need community care services, then you can ask Social Services to assess both your needs. Needs will be matched to the service priorities. Contact your local Social Services department to ask for an assessment. This may take various forms and involve different agencies including health, depending on the needs of the person being assessed. People who need care, and those who care for them, can be assessed separately.
In April 1996, a new law came into force to help Carers. This is called the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995 (referred to after this as the Carers Act). The Carers Act aims to make sure that you are listened to and are offered the help you need in your caring role. Your ability to continue caring must be taken into account when Social Services decide what services are needed. The Social Services department is there to help and support both you and the person you care for.
If you are caring for someone leaving hospital then the hospital team should have carried out discharge planning to prepare support for their patient. In non-emergency cases, when it is known the patient will need support after discharge, this planning should start even before admission. If you have concerns, speak to the hospital social worker.
The care plan which outlines the form which care will take should follow on from the assessment. It should be based on the agreement reached between the person for whom you care, you the carer, and the social worker / care manager, about what services are needed and what can be provided. If disagreements arise, use the representations and complaints procedure set up by Social Services. The care plan should have provision for the assessment to be monitored and reviewed. We know that the health of Carers can suffer because of their responsibilities and so services, such as respite care to give you a break from caring, can be built in. You should remain in contact with the person responsible for the care plan (social worker / care manager) and tell them if your circumstances change and you need additional help. The person receiving the service may be charged.
21 Egerton Street,
Telephone: 01978 312556
Social Services Department,
Telephone: 01978 292066