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Getting the best from your Carer’s Assessment

 

One of the biggest challenges to getting a good quality Carer’s Assessment is that so much is ultimately dependent on the skill of the worker doing the assessment. The Challenging Behaviour Foundation spoke to Dalia Magrill, Coordinator of the Sharing Caring Project (Sheffield Mencap), about how to get the best from your Carer’s Assessment, knowing your rights, and what the point of having an assessment is in the first place.

Here’s what we learned from Dalia…

 

The key to filling in a good assessment is to come very prepared – not just to tick boxes with ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses. It is essential to mentally prepare for the assessment, in order to get the best out of it. It can be very hard to think fully about how caring actually impacts on your life, which is why it is so important to think through your answers in advance.

You also need to have some awareness about what is and what is not possible in terms of an outcome of the assessment. There are four potential outcomes from doing a Carer’s Assessment, and sometimes the overall end result will be a combination of the four.

  1. A good assessment can lead to better outcomes for the person you care for, as well as a positive effect on the family carer. When a social worker is doing an assessment it can help them develop a better package if they take into account the impact that caring has on you as the carer. For example, you could explain that you are not sleeping adequately or perhaps that you feel isolated. You might inform the assessor that your relative isn’t being offered activities during the week and this is impacting on your ability to work. In short, a fully-rounded assessment should take into account the impact that caring has on the whole family, not just the person who is receiving the care.
  2. A good assessment can lead to signposting to information about support services in your area that you were not previously aware of. For example, if you lived in Sheffield you might be signposted to the free 3 hour sitting service that exists there.
  3. A good assessment can lead to a small package of care for the carer in their own right. For example, if you have to support the person during the day, or they are also up at night, you might have little time or energy to undertake practical chores like ironing, cleaning, or gardening. A small package of care supporting you with these tasks might be an outcome of an assessment.
  4. A good assessment can lead to greater recognition of the important role you play as a carer. It can make you and the professionals more aware of the way caring is impacting on you and the need for better communication between the family and the services used. It may even highlight the need for advocacy support.

In short, the key message is to be prepared for your assessment. Remember that the threshold for carers’ eligibility is lower than for cared for. There should be questions throughout the assessment process for the person to answer about the impact of caring.

Above all, you should always say ‘yes’ to a Carer’s Assessment. A Carer’s Assessment is an opportunity for you to think about what you do as a carer and have it recognised and valued. It is your chance to say what impact caring has on your wellbeing. It also provides an important opportunity to think about the sustainability of your care arrangements in the future.

 

Thank you to Dalia Magrill for speaking to us about this topic. For more information about Carer’s Assessments, and in particular the right to be assessed for short breaks, you can read the CBF’s new FAQ on ‘Short Breaks.’

 

This article is from the 2016 Summer edition of 'Challenge', the Newsletter of the CBF. You can download a pdf copy of the newsletter, or read it online.

 

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