Discussing your needs as a carer

If you look after someone you have the right to a 'carer's assessment' to identify your own support needs. This is a conversation with you to understand more about your role as a carer and the impact on your life and your family. It should explore your health and wellbeing, employment, other responsibilities and relationships and what support you may need to have a life outside of caring. It's also important to discuss emergency planning in case you are unable to care for whatever reason and it's clear what might need to be done if someone else takes over.

Action for Carers has an online emergency planning form to help carers prepare.

Carers assessment

If we are assessing the needs of the person you look after, we will offer you a carers assessment as part of the process. However, a carers assessment is not conditional upon an assessment of the person you are caring for, so you may be offered or request a carers assessment in your own right. You can also request one by completing our online self-assessment tool so we can look at the impact your caring responsibilities have on your life and what social care support you might be eligible for.

When carrying out the assessment, the council will adopt what is called a 'whole family approach'. This means considering how the needs of the person being assessed impacts on other family members, or anyone in their support network. This is especially important when there are young members in the household.

Young carers assessment

Young carers need assessments will look at the things young carers have to do at home which can have a big impact on the things that are important to growing up: like schoolwork and friendships. The assessment usually takes place as part of a 'whole family assessment' this will take into account the impact of caring for all family members including young carers. However, a young carer may also have a young carer needs assessment on appearance of need. The assessment can also be requested by the young carer or a parent irrespective whether they have parental responsibility or not.

If you are eligible for support from us your needs could be met by a range of options, including paid services and services provided by the voluntary sector, such as training on moving or handling, help with claiming benefits, improving digital skills to manage your caring responsibilities or access to social groups. If you are not eligible we will give you information and advice on where you can get the help you want.

Breaks for carers

Most carers need a break from caring from time to time. This may be a short break for a few hours or a day, or a longer break for a week or two. In all instances you are advised to contact our Adult Social Care helpline. The helpline will be able to advise you on a number of different breaks that may be available.

Crossroads Care Surrey

Crossroads Care Surrey is a registered Charity that has been providing vital respite breaks to unpaid Carers in the county for over 30 years. Their core purpose is to improve the quality of life of unpaid Carers and the people for whom they care and to maintain and improve their physical and mental wellbeing. They support Surrey Carers by enabling them to take a break from their caring responsibilities, with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the person with care needs is in the good, reliable and professionally trained hands of their Carer Support Workers.

Their services operate throughout Surrey and include; a one off preventative offer of up to 35 hours of replacement care; Social Clubs that give Carers an extended break and a variety of self-funded respite packages that offer extended time away from their caring responsibility. In partnership with the NHS, they also provide an unlimited End of Life service.

The preventative offer: Each carer can access up to 35 hours of breaks (per person they care for), which they'll be able to use flexibly. As the 35 hour allocation draws to an end, a review will inform whether a greater level of support on a longer-term basis is required. If this is the case, the carer will be referred for a statutory carer's assessment.

GP Carer Personal Health Budget in Surrey

Caring for someone can be unpredictable. In Surrey, GPs can refer carers for a GP Carer Personal Health Budget. This is a one-off payment that is used to allow you to have some time away from your caring role. Some people use this money to purchase replacement care for their loved one, buy a laptop to keep in touch with people or towards a bigger expense such as a holiday.

How can you access a carer break?

First of all, you need to register with your GP as a Carer. Once your GP knows you are a Carer, they may discuss GP Carer Personal Health Budget with you and make a prescription if they feel this will be beneficial. GPs have some guidelines that they have to follow when giving carers break payments, meaning your GP makes a professional, clinical decision based on your health requirements. The Action for Carers website has more information about GP Carer Personal Health Budget.

Other support services

There are many services available to carers across Surrey which range from information, support and advice, moving and handling support, local carers support groups, benefits advice to name a few.

These are all free services as Surrey County Council and the NHS jointly commission these services. Surrey has also a limited hours free home-based break scheme for carers which provides trained members of staff who are able to go into a carers home to take over the care for a short time while carers take a break.

If a service is not a service to the carer, but provided as part of a package of care for the person that is cared for, depending on the financial situation within the household it may be chargeable.

Further information on this can be found in our Paying for care section.