Social care and assessments

Support for Carers

Key rights for carers

The Care Act sets out the following rights for people who care for an adult with support needs:

  • A carer will be entitled to an assessment if it appears that they need support. The carer’s assessment must establish whether the carer is willing and able to continue providing care to the disabled person they are caring for, what impact this has on the carer’s wellbeing, what outcomes the carer wishes in day-to-day life, and whether the carer wishes to access education, training, or recreational activities.

  • The carer will have the same rights to an assessment and support as the disabled adult themselves. Therefore once a carer’s assessment has been carried out, the local authority will see which of the carer’s needs are eligible for support, and will then produce a support plan to meet the carer’s needs.

  • Local authorities are under a duty to meet a carer’s eligible needs, subject to a financial assessment.

Our five step process should help you in getting the support you need:

1. Get advice, information and help

There are various places you can go for help and support if you want to make a difference to you or the person you care for, like:

  • local voluntary and community organisations
  • your GP or health centre
  • a faith or community leader

You might want information about your health, housing, money and benefits, help with caring, or other things that are important to you.

Many carers find it useful to talk to other carers. Amongst other things, Kingston Carers’ Network might be able to help and put you in touch with other carers you can talk to as well as offering an assesment.

How we can help

We can give you information about organisations that can help you. We might be able to look at your situation in more detail by offering you an assessment.

To find support organisations that could help or be of interest to you please visit the Connected Kingston online support directory

For more information about local and national organisations visit our page - Where to get further help.  

2. What you need to stay safe and well

We can work out with you, and the person you care for, what you need to stay independent, safe and well. We do this in a meeting or assessment which looks at both your needs, including what you as a carer are willing and able to provide. 

If you or the person you care for are entitled to our support, it will normally be provided within a few working days. However, if your needs are urgent we will arrange it sooner. We will tell you if you will need to pay a contribution towards the support you receive from us.

You should be very clear about:

  • how much care you can provide
  • what support you need so you can continue this role in the future.

We aren’t judging your ability - this information helps us understand what you do, and what might make a difference to you as a carer. If you share caring with family or a friend, we’ll ask them similar questions.

Your own assessment

We can give carers their own assessment, looking at things like family commitments, work, education, training or leisure activities, as well as any goals in your life. We can assess your needs at the same time as the person you care for, or you can have a separate carers' assessment which might be particularly useful if you find it difficult speaking freely in front of the person you care for.

As a carer you may still get support if the person you care for doesn't want to answer questions about their needs, or they refuse services. However, we may be limited to providing you with any support involving the care of the person you care for without their permission.

Care Act changes

With the change in the law Kingston Carers’ Network (KCN) will run a year long pilot project to deliver ‘trusted’ assessments of carers aged 18 and over providing care and support to adults living in the borough of Kingston.

We will continue to undertake combined (user and carer joint) assessments, support planning and review or reassessment of need. We will also continue to review carers who are already known to them.

You may find it useful to make notes before the assessment to make sure you use the opportunity to talk about what's important to you.

Carers Emergency Alert Card

The Carers Emergency Alert Card is a free scheme set up to give carers peace of mind by ensuring that the people they care for will continue to receive the care they need if the carer is unable to provide it due to an emergency.

A card is issued to the carer with the contact number of a 24/7 call centre and a PIN number which is unique to that carer. Anyone can call that number and inform the emergency response team that alternative care is required for the cared for person.

A Carers Emergency Card also gives the carer the opportunity to outline their preferences for alternative care for the person they care for. Apply for a Carers Emergency Alert Card.

If there are any changes to your circumstances, such as updates to your details or you would like to cancel a card, please inform us as soon as possible. You can send us an email with the subject line: 'Carer's emergency alert card' to [email protected] or call us on 0208 547 5005.

Young carers

If you’re under 18 and care for an adult you will be known as a young carer. You can still take part in their assessment, but we don’t want the caring you do to impact on your health, education or social life. We might be able to offer you your own assessment if you’re a carer aged 16 to 18.

If you’re already getting support

If you or the person you care for is already getting our support, we are likely to want to review your needs and check how things are going. We’ll talk about what your needs are, and whether there have been any changes and agree with you what happens next.

3. Work out how much funding and other support you need

The answers you both give in the assessment allow us to work out roughly how much support we think you and the person you care for need to keep independent, safe and well.

To make things as fair as possible, we use a system to decide how much it’s likely to cost. This uses the information you give us to work out the rough cost of the care and support for the person you care for.

We’ll also look at your role as their carer, and calculate a final amount, or ‘indicative budget’. We’ll then let you know how much this will be.

Questions to ask

  • How do you work out how much our support will cost?
  • Is there a maximum amount?
  • What if we don’t feel this is enough? (If you don't think your needs can't be met with the amount we calculate, tell us. We may be able to add more if we agree it is needed). 
  • How long will it be before we know what our indicative budget is? 
  • If either of us already gets support, will it stay the same?

4. Plan and organise the type of support and services you need

When we’ve told you roughly how much your support needs will cost, you can start to think about the type of care and support you’d like. We’ll ask you and the person you care for to make a plan which shows how you’re going to meet your various needs. You can do this yourself, we can help, or you can ask other support organisations like Kingstons Carers Network

Your support plan could include:

  • care and support services for the person you care for
  • carer breaks and services for you, the carer
  • plans for what will happen in an emergency if you are unable to provide care

We’ll agree the plan with you, and confirm the final amount of your budget, which will then be known as your personal budget.

Managing your personal budget

When the support plan and personal budget is agreed, there are different ways that you and/or the person you care for can manage the budget:

  • we can manage it for the person you care for, and arrange their care and support
  • the person you care for can manage all or some of it themselves. They’ll receive it as a direct payment
  • the person you care for can nominate you or someone else to receive and manage it as a direct payment on their behalf
  • some local organisations may be able to assist with the management of direct payments. Contact us for more information about this.

If you or the person you care for decide to have some or all of the personal budget as a direct payment, we’ll work with you to choose and set up your services. We’ll also advise you on what you can or can’t spend it on, and how often you’ll get paid.  We will also make sure you know what records you need to keep and put you in touch with people who can help you set up your own care or support.

5 .Check how things are going

We aim to review your support plan and needs at least once a year. But if anything changes with your situation you don’t have to wait until the review date, just contact us and ask to have it sooner.

The review is an opportunity for us to talk with you about the support plan. It should include:

  • how things are going – is the support plan working? If not, what needs to change?
  • telling us if there have been changes to your help and support needs
  • making sure you and the person you care for are keeping safe and well, and have the right amount of support
  • telling us if there is anything else you and the person you care for might need
  • an opportunity to set new goals

You may find it useful to make notes before the review to make sure you use the opportunity to talk about what's important to you.

If you want to make any big changes to the plan, ask us about it first

There are many local groups and activities that may be of help to you and the person you care for: 

Connected Kingston is a site dedicated to helping Kingston residents find local activities and navigate local services.

Kingston Carers' Network supports over 3,000 adult carers and over 700 young carers in Kingston through a wide range of services. KCN provide independent information, advice, advocacy and support to people who care for someone living in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames.