Skip to navigation

Fact sheet

Hints and Tips on discussing assessments

Don’t ask a carer if they want a ‘carers’ assessment’, instead ask if they think there are any ways you can help them in their caring role, anything you may be able to help with. The language of carers’ assessments is often interpreted as meaning that carers are being ‘tested’ to see how well they are caring – and that can be frightening.

Treat each carer as an individual – don’t make assumptions about what carers need.

Be prepared. Find out about the condition of the person the care for, have information about local groups or organisations that may be useful. Ask the carer if you can make a referral to their local carers support service.

Carers often find it hard to speak about their difficulties coping with the caring role, especially in front of the person they care for. Always give them the opportunity to speak separately where possible.

Treat the carers’ assessment as a conversation – don’t allow any forms you have to complete to get between you and the human being you will see. Have a chat and record what you need to of course but remember informality is often the key to a better assessment.

Talk about the most important things to the carer first – they may have agreed to an assessment because they have a crisis. This may mean you need to come back to deal with other issues.

Take into account that significant life changes can affect the way people
understand information and the outcomes of the assessment.

From time to time reflect back to what you have heard, to make sure you have understood what the carer tells you and always allow the carer the opportunity to ask questions.

Take into account that aspects of their lives and identity may be caught up in their role as a carer and this needs to be valued and respected.

If the language of assessment is likely to put them off, only use it at the point of recording the carers’ care plan. It is important that they understand the process has a statutory basis, and that they have statutory rights. When recording their agreement with the summary of needs and carers’ care plan explain that what you have done is sometimes called a carers’ (needs) assessment in the legislation.

Don’t forget: Carers’ assessments should never be a bureaucratic process of ticking boxes, but a clearly helpful process designed to start from where the carer is and help make the carer’s life easier.

What about carers who refuse an assessment initially?

Useful resources:

SCIE has developed the following guides relevant to social care managers and practitioners working with carers:

SCIE practice guide contains good practice tips for those responsible for implemening the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004:

SCIE Resource guide 8: Assessment in social work: a guide for learning and teaching