Carer’s assessment for unpaid carers

What is a carer’s assessment?

A carer’s assessment is a focussed conversation that provides an important opportunity for an unpaid carer to be helped to look at all aspects of their life in relation to their caring role.

The purpose of a carer’s assessment is to identify:

  • the impact that their caring role is having on their health and wellbeing
  • the strengths that the carer has
  • areas where the carer may need more guidance or support
  • how best to provide advice and support

An assessment involves a confidential and sensitive conversation.

The carer shouldn’t feel rushed during the assessment and should be in a private space where they feel comfortable and able to discuss the topics the assessment will focus on.

The assessment is expected to clearly reflect the voice of the carer and their own unique experience of their caring role.

Who can have an assessment?

Anyone over the age of 18 who is looking after another adult/s over 18 who has:

  • a physical disability
  • a learning disability
  • sensory impairment
  • dementia
  • a mental health condition
  • substance dependency
  • is frail due to old age and couldn’t manage without support from a carer

Young carers and carers of children under 18 have different assessments to adult carers of adults.

What happens if you are not a full-time carer and / or are also working?

The assessment looks at individual situations where unpaid care is being provided. It doesn’t matter:

  • how much care the carer provides
  • what their existing financial situation is
  • whether or not they live with the person they are looking after
  • whether they are caring full or part-time
  • whether or not the person they are looking after has had an assessment of their needs
  • whether the Council has decided that the person they care for is not eligible for support

What duties to carers has the Care Act 2014 placed on local authorities?

It’s a legal duty for local authorities to offer a free carer’s assessment if it appears that the carer may have any level of needs for support, irrespective of whether the council believes the carer has eligible needs.

The Council must not presume that individuals are willing or able to take up or continue in caring roles.

How to request an assessment

The local authority where the person being looked after lives is responsible for carrying out the assessment.

If the person being looked after lives in Hackney and is known to adult social services, then they should offer the carer an assessment.

If the carer hasn’t been offered an assessment, the carer can ask for an assessment by contacting one of the following services:

  • the social worker allocated to the person they look after
  • if there’s no allocated social worker, contact the adult information and assessment team on 020 8356 6262 or
  • Carers First can request an assessment from adult social services on behalf of the carer and can also help prepare the carer for their assessment

What happens during the assessment?

The aim of the assessment is to help the carer get the support that they need, so it’s best for them to give as honest as possible an opinion about their caring role, the care they provide and their feelings about being a carer.

During the assessment the carer should be asked about all of the following issues:

  • their caring role and how it affects your life and wellbeing
  • their health – physical, mental and emotional
  • their feelings and choices about caring
  • work, study, training, leisure
  • relationships, social activities and your goals
  • finances – including any debt
  • housing
  • planning for emergencies

You will need to prepare for the assessment and allow time to consider what they are hoping to achieve from going through the process.

If you aren’t asked about all of the issues listed, you should prompt the assessor or raise the issue at the assessment.

What happens after the assessment?

The assessment process and the written part of the assessment are for and about the carer.

Once the assessor has written up the assessment they should send this to the carer to check out that the carer feels the assessor has reflected the conversation fully and accurately.

Any changes should be made by the assessor at this point.

Once changes are made the carer should be sent a copy of the final version.

If this isn’t offered then the carer should request this.

How can a carer plan for emergencies?

In Hackney, carers can create a ‘what if plan’ which can, with their consent, be held by the local authority.

This plan can either be completed as part of the assessment process or the person who is carrying out the assessment can link the carer in with Carers First, Hackney adult’s commissioned carers service, who can help think through and draw up a plan.

More information on assessments including support plans and possible outcomes

For information, advice and options –  including one to one advice:

Visit Carers UK for information and advice on:

  • what to expect from an assessment
  • how to prepare for an assessment
  • deciding if a carer has eligible needs
  • possible outcomes of an assessment
Page updated on: 5 July 2021

Carers First