If you care for a family member or friend, it is important that you understand your rights and are able to access the appropriate support as soon as you need it.
Carers Count works alongside other local and national organisations to help:
- ensure carers are aware of their rights
- let carers know where to get help and support
- raise awareness of the needs of carers
As a carer, you have the right to ask for help
Being a carer can take its toll on you. We rarely ask for help we think it’s all our responsibility.
But we can ask for help and there is help out there it's just finding the right help. That’s where Carers Count comes in. We can help you navigate what help is out there and find the right support. We can also offer time for you, this is important to allow you the chance to recharge your batteries. Have a look at our wellbeing page and see if you can find something that suits you and your needs.
As a carer, you have the right to a carers assessment
If you are providing care to someone, you may be entitled to an assessment of how that caring role impacts your life. This assessment is called a carer assessment.
It looks at how your wellbeing is impacted in many areas of your life and its purpose is to identify any support that can be put in place to make your caring role easier and lessen the impact on your life.
The assessment can be completed yourself and posted or emailed back to the local authority. It can also be completed by a professional either visiting you in person or over the phone. For parent carers, the carer assessment is usually completed at the same time as any assessment of your child’s needs.
This website explains more about carer assessments and how to access them in more detail, in plain language:
This link takes you to a website explaining the areas of your life where your wellbeing may be affected by your caring role. The person you are caring for does not need to have had an assessment of their care needs in order for you to be eligible for a carer assessment.
As a carer, you have the right to look after yourself
As a carer, you have the right to take a break. It is important to look after your own welfare in order to be well and able to continue to care for your loved one.
There are many ways that you can do this:
Starting with a carers assessment which can be requested from social services Gate Way to Care: 01484 414933. Based on your needs, they will inform you what is available in the form of respite breaks, day service or a personal assistant for your loved one.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to funding to cover these costs. Respite provides you with free time to look after your own wellbeing so you can remain healthy and continue to care and comes in many different forms.
Carers Count can signpost you to organisations that can help your wellbeing and allow you to have a better balance between your caring role and personal needs.
We work with many organisations from parent carers groups such as Kirklees Wellness Service, PCAN, CLEAR community links engagement and recovery service, Carers Trust Mid Yorkshire, The Kirkwood and CareFree to name just a few.
Our trained team can help to point you in the right direction to access wellbeing support, respite, local support groups and sessions. The service is open to all unpaid carers over 18 who live in Kirklees.
As a carer, you have the right to choose
Choose not to be a carer - a carer has the right to choose what elements of care they are willing and able to carry out.
Choose to have an assessment - a carers assessment outlines what support the carer needs for their own wellbeing. It is carried out by the local council and considers:
- If the carer is willing and able to provide care
- If caring is impacting the carer’s wellbeing
- If the carer needs support, help or aid
This helps the local council form a support plan to help support carers.
Choose (with the cared-for where possible) what care services are accessed - in many cases, the carer knows the cared-for person closely and can make decisions with them or on their behalf to ensure that their wishes and best interests are put first.
This can sometimes contradict the opinions of other people, organisations and agencies. That is why, under the Care Act 2014, carers have the right to information and advice about all relevant services available to their loved ones and to be able to make informed decisions on which services would be most suitable.
Carers and their loved ones have the right to choose the provider of care (or care home) and do not need to accept the first one offered by the local authority.
Being a carer or providing care is not a one size fits all role. It must be tailored to meet the needs of not only the cared-for person but the carer themselves.
As a carer, you have the right to register as a carer with your GP
Did you know that you can register as a carer with your GP Practice?
If your Practice knows that you are a carer, they can help you in many different ways:
1. Access to their Carers Champion, who can signpost you to your local carers support service.
2. Offering appointments at convenient times.
3. Offering double appointments to enable you and the person you care for to be seen at the same time, rather than having to make two visits.
4. Free annual health checks and Flu vaccinations.
5. Sharing of information about the person you care for, subject to their consent. (Where a person lacks capacity to give consent, this may still be possible if you have a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health).
6. Involvement in the care planning of the person you care for.
7. Being kept up-to-date about relevant events and information.
8. Referral to a Social Prescriber who can refer you to other services or support groups, or simply provide a listening ear.
9. Keeping a check on your physical and emotional wellbeing and the impact of your caring role on your health.
Some Practices also run carers groups, or occasional carers coffee mornings.
Contact your Practice today and ask to be added to their carers register.
As a carer, you have the right to request flexible working options
Juggling care and work can have its challenges, but flexible working can be of benefit. It can help you stay in your job by helping you balance work with other responsibilities like caring.
You may assume your employer would not allow this or you would not be eligible. You may just not be aware of what your company has to offer, the policies it has or even how to start the conversation.
Did you know? 87% of people want more flexibility in their work, but many don't know how to ask.
Carers UK, supported by Barclays LifeSkills, have a new guide “Let’s talk about flexible working”. This has practical information to help you start the conversation with your employer.
This Carers UK film guides you through some useful steps you could take to begin the conversation. It explains how a little bit of forward planning could help prevent much stress from arising in the future.
We understand that it can be difficult to know where to begin when it comes to understanding carers' rights. To help get you started, we have answered a few common questions below...
Helping carers to be recognised and supported in health and care settings
Carers Rights Day
Find out more about Carers Rights Day - a national campaign held annually to raise awareness of the rights of unpaid carers
Carers UK guide to self-advocacy
This guide provides practical guidance on how to get your voice heard when you care for someone in what may be complicated and challenging circumstances.
Our organisation has been involved in producing a report, 'Valuing Voices: Protecting rights through the pandemic and beyond'.
This is the result of a survey of nearly 450 advocates across the UK. Read it here:
Take a look at our Carers Count groups and wellbeing sessions for 2022