Support for Carers
A carer will be entitled to an assessment of their own needs if it appears that they need support. The 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 livelihood and wellbeing.
The carer will have the same rights to an assessment and support as the disabled adult themselves. Their needs will be taken into account and used to shape their support plan.
The carer is entitled to their own assessment even if the person who is cared for chooses not to have an assessment themselves
How to get the support you need
Obtaining advice, information and help:
To help support you and the person you’re caring for, you can access a wide range of information and advice on health, housing, money, benefits and caring locally.
We can give you information, arrange an assessment. to help identify your needs, or refer you to organisations that can help you.
Check out local help from:
- Connected Kingston online support directory. This is a site dedicated to helping Kingston residents find local activities and navigate local services.
- Kingston Carers’ Network (KCN) can provide advice and guidance and put you in touch with other carers you can talk to and they can also offer an assessment.
- Kingston Mencap offers support to people caring for someone with a learning disability
- Kingston Mental Health Carers’ Forum - dedicated to the support of Carers/Families/Friends of those providing unpaid care for someone experiencing mental health difficulties
- Local voluntary and community organisations
- Your GP or health centre
- Faith group or community leader
- Kingston Stronger Together hub or call 020 8547 5000
- Kingston Foodbank 020 8391 1100
- Kingston Council Wellbeing pages
Please also see Carers UK’s free online guide for carers Looking after Someone
Staying safe and well:
To ensure you continue to remain independent, safe and well, we’ll assess and review your needs and the type of support you as a carer are able to provide.
If you share caring responsibilities with another family member or friend, we will need to involve them in our assessment.
Depending on your requirements we will make the necessary provision for your support as quickly as we can.
For the long-term support measures, we will plan and resource this based on your situation and the person you care for.
Should you require urgent support, we can provide this but may require a contribution to cover some costs.
- Conducting your own assessment - to ensure you are able to maintain a balanced life while providing care to another person, we can help carers assess their own needs - looking at family commitments, work, education, training or leisure activities, and long-term life goals. This can be done at the same time as the person you care for, or separately if you prefer. If the person you care for doesn't want to answer questions about their needs or they refuse services, or withhold their permission, as a carer you may still get support although this can limit the options of support the council can provide.
- Kingston Carers’ Network (KCN) undertake Carers Assessments on behalf of the Council for carers aged 18 and over providing care and support to adults living in the borough of Kingston. Parallel to this the council continues to undertake combined (user and carer joint) assessments involving all carers.
- Young carers - if you’re under 18 and care for an adult you’re referred to 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 if you’re between the ages of 16 to 18. We can offer you your own assessment to help you plan for when you become an adult. Where young carers under the age of 16 or who look after a disabled sibling need a statutory “Young Carers Needs Assessment”, this is dealt with by Achieving for Children - contact 020 8547 5000.
- If you are under 16, you are eligible for a Young Carers’ Needs’ Assessment, should you wish to have one
- If you’re already getting support - we’ll review your plan once a year, but if your needs change in the meantime don’t hesitate to review your needs and get in touch.
Planning for emergencies
Having a plan in place can help ease your worries if you are not able to care for those you look after at any point in the future. Carers UK has information on how to create a Carers Emergency plan.
Carers Emergency Alert Card - a scheme designed to provide emergency support to a carer who’s suddenly unable to fulfil their immediate caring duties. The card gives a 24/7 contact telephone number and unique ID code that links to a call centre. Calling this alerts an emergency response team who respond by arranging immediate care for the vulnerable person.This service allows the carer to pre-select the alternative options for the emergency care provision. To apply for a Carers Emergency Alert Card.
Support for your Wellbeing
Looking after your own wellbeing may feel like the last thing on your list when you are caring for someone. It is important that you take care of yourself and your own wellbeing so you can do the things you enjoy doing as well as your caring responsibilities.
- NHS Talking Therapies are available for you even if you don’t have a diagnosed mental health condition – and you can refer yourself. Further information is available here
- King’s College London has developed a free, online course for those caring for someone with psychosis and/or schizophrenia.
- E-Learning for Healthcare is offering a free online resource that aims to support unpaid carers carry out their caring role whilst also taking care of themselves.
- The South West London carers peer group is an online forum for mental health carers in London Boroughs of Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth. The group allows carers to network and provide a safe environment to share stories and experiences.
- Mind in Kingston provides a range of services designed to support people with mental health issues to maintain and improve their mental wellbeing, increase their self-esteem and self-confidence, make meaningful connections with others and be able to live independently in their local community. Telephone: 020 8255 3939
- Carers UK: Advice Line 0808 808 7777 from Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm or you can contact us by email ([email protected])
Have a say
Kingston Council is working in partnership with Kingston Carers' Network, other voluntary and community sector partners, residents, carers and health partners to create together the next Kingston Carers Strategy. This strategy will help shape the information and support services we offer carers across Kingston over the next 3 years.
We have a Carers Board to drive this work forward and we are keen to hear from as many carers as possible who live in the Royal Borough of Kingston.
To get involved and for further information please contact Adults Commissioning at [email protected] or call 0208 547 7000.
Checking in with you :
We aim to review your support plan and needs at least once a year. If there are any changes to your situation before the planned review date you can contact us beforehand to schedule an earlier meeting. The review is an opportunity for us to talk with you about the support plan and will cover:
- How well the support plan is working, and if any changes are required
- If the support needs and your help requirements have since changed
- Checking that you and the person you care for are maintaining a safe and healthy lifestyle
- Confirming any additional requirements for support
- Discussing new and future goals.
Preparing for the review beforehand ensures you can make the most of your review meeting and focus on aspects that are important to you, and you have the necessary information and any questions to hand. If you intend to discuss major changes to your plan, please let us know in advance of the meeting.
Your rights in work
Many carers juggle work and caring but without the right support, the pressures this causes can lead people to leave their jobs. It is therefore important to find out about your rights at work and about other support available to you and your family.
People’s rights at work come from two sources:
- The law gives you the same ‘statutory rights’ that everyone has and also some additional rights as a carer;
- Your contract of employment also gives you ‘contractual rights’, which can be more generous than statutory rights.
The following information summarises your statutory rights and provides a link to more detailed information. It is always worth checking your contract of employment, staff handbook or letter of appointment to see if you have any contractual rights on top of your statutory rights.
All employees have a right to request flexible working after they have worked for the same employer for 26 weeks, as long as they have not made a flexible working request within the last year. Employers can only refuse requests for certain specified business reasons.
Examples of flexible working include:
- home working
- part-time working
- term-time working
- working compressed hours
- job sharing
- shift work patterns that match with your caring responsibilities
The Equality Act 2010 also provides carers with protection from some forms of discrimination, so employers must not treat carers less favourably than those without caring responsibilities.
All employees have the right to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off work to deal with an emergency or unforeseen problems involving a dependant. This could include your partner, child or parent, or someone living with you as part of your family. The time off is unpaid unless your employer is willing to give paid time off as a contractual right.
If you have worked for the same employer for 12 months and you are responsible for a child aged under 18, you are entitled to 18 weeks’ parental leave per child, which must be taken by the child’s 18th birthday. This time off is unpaid unless your employer is willing to give paid time off as a contractual right.
These employment matters can sometimes be complex and confusing. Please contact Kingston Carers Network for further advice and support.
A good source of further information about caring and work is available from Carers UK.
Further advice may be available from your employer or from a trade union.
Support for carers who are out of work but want to get back into employment is available from Working for Carers, which works in partnership with Kingston Carers Network.