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Fact sheet

Good practice examples: Carers Assessments

1. The Princess Royal Trust Carers of West Dunbartonshire

In November 2007 Carers of West Dunbartonshire was asked by the local authority to carry out Carers Assessments, or Carer Support Plans (CSP) as they are known as in West Dunbartonshire. A member of staff from Learning Disability services was seconded to the Carers Centre indefinitely to assist with the process. It was important that this worker was not only carrying out assessments but that she was also able to provide the follow up support detailed within the plan as well. She therefore underwent the same induction training as all other Carer Support Workers (CSW), including shadowing and visiting partner agencies. This allowed her to build on her already substantial knowledge of Carers’ needs. We also took the decision that all the organisation’s CSW would carry out the assessments rather than one particular person.

A support plan is offered to most carers, as appropriate. In some instances the CSW may not feel that offering a CSP is appropriate e.g. the Carer may only be making a very specific inquiry for information and feel that their support needs are already being met. Although we try to encourage the uptake of assessments we are not supporters of turning assessing carers into a target! Once a CSP is started, it is very much a process undertaken by working with the carer. We believed that affording Carers this opportunity would allow them to focus on their own needs, tell their story, and provide the chance to offer them emotional support. 9 months on we believe that we can evidence this, and there is definitely strength of feeling amongst the staff that the benefits of providing emotional support are regularly underestimated. There is a mixture of both anecdotal and written evidence. The written evidence is gathered from questionnaires which are sent to the Carer following the completion of the assessment process. These are returned anonymously to the SSA team who compile a report.

Completion of the assessment and plan can vary depending on the individual Carers’ situation but it would generally take 2 to 3 visits with the Carer. On completion the plan is signed by both Carer and worker, and a copy given to the Carer. A copy is sent to the SSA development team for recording purposes and to any other agency if the Carer is being referred on. (Part of the plan is to discuss with the Carer sharing of their information).

Soon after commencing CSPs, we highlighted some difficulties both with the process and with the document. This resulted in us becoming involved in a review of how CSPs are processed within the authority and developing a new document. We are also in the process of piloting a Review of Assessment document, as one of the gaps was that there was no mechanism for this.

COWD Carers Assessment Outcomes (48 KB)

Carer Assessment and Support Plan (162 KB)

2. Stirling Carers

After an initial pilot carrying out Carers’ Assessments in partnership with Stirling Council, Stirling Carers Centre is now offering Carers’ Assessments as part of their Service Level Agreement. Whilst the legal duty to carry out assessments lies with the Council, the Carers Centre is able to offer an unrushed, quality Carers’ Assessment with the carer at the heart of the process. Feedback from carers indicates high levels of satisfaction. The organisation’s Carers Support Officers are ideally placed to do assessments, being immersed in carers’ issues locally and working actively with the many organisations and people who contribute to supporting carers in their communities.

The Carers Centre led the way in designing the Carers’ Assessment form and also designed leaflets explaining the process of assessment. This ensures that carers are aware of the process and do not go into it with false expectations of what may result. Some carers are quite happy for a Social Worker to carry out their assessment, and as part of its Service Level Agreement, the Carers Centre carries out Carers’ Assessment training for Social Care staff. They also take part in the induction of new Social Work staff.

The local Health Board, NHS Forth Valley, has supported this work and the Centre has also carried out Carers’ Assessment training for district nurses who will carry out an assessment for those Carers in the large rural area and with whom they may already have built up a positive relationship. This partnership working between the professionals in the council, health and Carers Centre ensures Carers have a choice of who they would most prefer to carry out an assessment and strengthens the organisation’s person centred approach to this service.

Carer Assessment Leaflet side 1 (342 KB)

Carer Assessment Leaflet side 2 (395 KB)

Stirling Carers Assessment Form (627 KB)

3. The Princess Royal Trust Bristol & South Gloucestershire Carers Centre

Care Direct is part of Bristol City Council Adult Community Care and is a service for vulnerable adults, older and disabled people, their families, friends and carers. It provides information about - and access to - social services, benefits and other resources.

The assessment form collects data about the carer's commitments, their family's health and well being, and about the person being cared for. The form goes on to ask the carer to provide information about their own feelings about their caring role and the assistance they provide, including specific information about the tasks they carry out.

Following a series of questions around the kind of support and respite that the carer would find helpful, the form closes by giving the carer the opportunity to say what they think about the form.

The accompanying preperation guide for carers completing the self-assessment form was developed by carers in partnership with Bristol City Council. The guide begins by explaining what an assessment is.

The guide sets out the two types of assessment: self assessment, involving the carer completing a form; and a face to face interview with a professional. The rest of the leaflet deals with face to face assessments explaining that carers have a right to a face to face assessment separately from the person they care for.

Carer's self assessment form (92 KB)

The carer's assessment: A preparation guide for carers (146 KB)

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