Fair access to care services (FACS): prioritising eligibility for care and support

Support planning - Working with carers as expert partners

The National Carers Strategy includes a ten year vision for carers, a commitment to move carers’ issues to “the centre of family policy” and to reflect this by promoting the concept of whole family care planning following separate assessment. Undertaking effective carers’ assessments is a key part of making this a reality. The national strategy also calls for recognition of carers as expert partners in care.

(‘Carers’, DH, 2010, para 93) The government made further commitments to carer support in its cross-government document ‘Recognised, valued and support: next steps for the Carers Strategy’ (DH, 2010) [11]

Preethi’s story, part 2 – the extended family in different caring roles

Although not providing day-to-day care for her mother, Preethi is responsible for ensuring that her elderly father, the main carer, does not become exhausted looking after his wife, who has dementia. Her knowledge of and role in the family are integral to assessing her parents’ care needs. She knows it is vital that her mother receives culturally appropriate support, which alone will be acceptable to her father. The worker at the Carers’ Centre understands Preethi’s central role in arranging support for her parents, and ensures she is involved in the assessment of her mother’s needs and the carer’s assessment for her father.

The ‘Carers’ section in ‘Prioritising need’ [1] identifies the need to take account of the support from carers when determining eligibility for individuals. Table 2 sets out nationally defined levels of risk and criteria for assessing sustainability in the caring role.

When working with adult carers and young people providing care to family members, staff will need to:

The Care Bill sets out the local authority’s duty to assess a carer’s needs for support, the approach to be adopted and the factors to be taken into account. It also outlines the duty to meet the carer’s eligible needs, the options of providing support to the carer or care and support to the individual, and the conditions applying to charging. The Care Bill includes powers that will allow the Secretary of State to prescribe in regulations that the needs of the family should be considered when assessing an adult for care and support. There is wide support for this proposal – particularly from young carers and from carers with multiple caring responsibilities.

The Bill proposes that everyone who has a care and support plan, or a support plan for carers, will have a personal budget. The person receiving care and support and their carer will be able to ask for part or all of the personal budget as a direct payment and, subject to specified conditions, the local authority must meet the request.


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