Carers unaware of support available to them

Many unpaid carers in Essex are not aware of the support available to them, according to a report published by Healthwatch Essex today.

The report highlights the findings of a survey about Carer Assessments – one of the mechanisms through which unpaid carers can access support, such as respite care and extra help.

As a result of the Care Act 2014, which came into effect in April 2015, Local Authorities now have a legal duty to assess any unpaid carer who requests an assessment or who appears to need support.

But many people who took part in the survey did not know about these assessments, and were unclear about how they might help them.

To find out about carers’ experiences of Carer’s Assessments, Healthwatch Essex carried out a short online survey in November and December 2015. Carers didn’t need to have had a Carer’s Assessment to take part. The survey explored, from the carers’ perspective, the knowledge and awareness of Carer’s Assessments, as well as the experiences and expectations of outcomes.

Although three-quarters of participants had heard of the assessments, less than a third had actually had one.  Almost half of those who had, had found it hard to get one, with some people having to reach ‘crisis point’ before being offered support.

A key recommendation from the report is to raise awareness of how Carer’s Assessments can benefit people who are caring for others, including those who might not consider themselves to be ‘a carer’.