Practice example: BeaClose
Putting in place early support
Background information (identification)
Bea is a woman aged 46 and her daughter (aged 17) has a physical disability. Bea and her daughter went to a Carers Fun Day event. They had seen the posters relating to the event and wanted to know more about support available to carers. Bea was not known to social care and nor was her daughter.
During a discussion with the family, a carer’s development officer informed Bea that she was a carer due to the support she offered to her daughter. As she had not had a carer’s assessment, she was offered a transition assessment.
A carer’s transition assessment for an adult carer supporting a 17-year-old
During the transition assessment (which took place some days after the Carers Fun Day event), Bea was asked about and provided information on the following:
- the care and support she provided to her daughter
- whether she was willing and able to continue caring for her daughter (including when her daughter became an adult at 18)
- the impact that the caring role had on her
- the things that she would like to achieve (including in life outside her caring role)
- her support networks.
Based on her responses, Bea was advised to:
- seek a needs assessment for her daughter from Children and Young People’s Services (CYPS)
- contact social care if the situation/her needs changed between the assessment date and when her daughter turned 18.
Bea was also given information on the following:
- support groups where she could meet with other carers offering similar care
- (likely) changes when her daughter reached 18 (in about 10 months from the carer’s assessment date – this information was provided because it was likely that CYPS would refer her daughter to the transition team after assessing her needs
- support and services she may be entitled to after her daughter turned 18 and if still providing care to her
- where to obtain benefits advice.
Outcome of the carer’s transition assessment
- Bea’s daughter had her needs assessed.
- Bea started attending a carers group for people offering similar support. This improved her wellbeing as she found that she was not alone, and benefited from good practice shared at group meetings.
- Bea asked to join the Carers Emergency Card scheme (based on information provided at the transition assessment).
- Bea received benefits advice and started claiming appropriate welfare benefits.
- Due to support provided to her daughter, Bea’s social life and health improved as she had more time to socialise and to keep fit.
Following her own transition assessment, Bea’s daughter was assessed as having some needs that were eligible for support from adult services. As Bea was meeting some of those needs within her caring role, Bea could obtain a personal budget to continue meeting her daughter’s needs before she turned 18.
Practice example: AnnaClose
Supporting carers beyond their caring role
Anna cares for her daughter (aged 17, who has learning difficulties, is attending a local college course and lives at home). Anna’s mother, who lived locally and had given Anna emotional support, died suddenly. Since her mother’s death, Anna has become depressed. She is also lacking self-esteem and is worried about how to juggle caring with her job in a local shop.
Anna requested a carer’s assessment to establish her own support needs so that she could continue caring for her daughter. Several solutions were agreed with Anna. These included:
- contacting the local carers’ support group for advice on flexible working
- advising Anna to seek bereavement counselling
- registering her as a carer with her GP
- requesting a carer’s break payment.
By making contact with her local carers’ support group, Anna also received advice on benefits and was invited to join a social group so that she could befriend people in a similar situation and take part in local activities.
A transition assessment of her daughter identified that she had some needs that were eligible for adult social care support. Some of these needs were currently being met by Anna. An assessment of Anna established that she was willing to continue caring but also gained satisfaction (and the opportunity to meet people) by working at the local shop.
A transition plan around Anna could involve:
- supporting her to continue working part time
- accessing bereavement counselling via her GP
- accessing a carer’s break payment
- information and support to join a local carers’ group.
Qualification for direct payments would depend on how much Anna earns. However, she would be eligible for a carer’s break payment.
Practice example: AdamClose
A carer who will provide care after a transition, but not before
Adam was attending an out-of-borough education college. He was on the autistic spectrum with behaviours that challenge the system. He had also been diagnosed with Pica (an eating disorder), which had led to a bowel condition. Adam had no verbal communication and used gestures and objects of reference.
Mother/father/brother – family relationships were good, however it was decided that it would not be possible for Adam to return home.
Adam’s assessment identified that he required supported living with 24/7 care and support. A ‘circle of support’ was developed to help Adam to develop links within the community.
Finding the right support was crucial in ensuring that the ‘support plan’ could work. Case workers developed a personal assistant (PA) profile with the family and an advocate. They advertised for staff but during the circle of support meetings it became clear that the brother would be the perfect PA and could in fact ‘train up’ other PAs to work effectively with Adam. A decision was agreed that the brother would work part time and recruit a second PA. Also, Adam’s brother and the family worked with supported living staff to develop a bespoke service.
- Adam has transitioned back into his community and is accessing the local further education college (three days a week on a team enterprise course) with his PA. This has been a great success.
- Supported living staff have been fully supported by Adam’s brother and family to create the right environment and support for Adam that is appropriate for his needs and effective. Such support has led to a more settled environment for Adam and incidents of behaviour that challenge the system have reduced significantly.
- The supported living organisation that Adam has hired for his care needs has recruited the staff. The family have been involved in this recruitment process and supported the team with induction training.
- The family feel that they are supported and empowered in terms of how support is delivered to Adam.
- The circle of support remains strong and keeps Adam connected with activities, family and friends.
- Adam’s brother has a part-time job, which he enjoys, and is thinking that his new skills can help other PAs to develop.
Practice example: Leanne Close
A young adult carer who has a parent whose needs are below the local authority thresholds
Leanne is 18 and is a carer for her mother who has fibromyalgia and depression. On bad days her mother is bed-bound due to her physical condition. Leanne lives in the next street to her mother. She has a younger brother called Alan who is eight years old and has autism.
Leanne’s mother spends a lot of time in hospital, sometimes for several weeks at a time. While her mother is in hospital, Leanne takes care of Adam full time. She says that she has tried to make sure that he keeps to his routine.
Leanne works and often has to take time off work to support her brother and mother. Her employer has not been supportive of this situation. In the past, Leanne’s mother was assessed by adult social care for support. However, she did not meet local authority thresholds and Leanne made the decision to care for her mother and juggle her job at the same time. However, she found this very difficult and did not know what to do about this.
Following a recent admission to hospital by Leanne’s mother, Leanne referred herself to the young adult carers service. She was assessed using the carer’s self-directed assessment. Taking part in this assessment, Leanne said that she felt listened to and supported by the service. The carer’s self-directed assessment included a question around whether she was happy to continue with her caring role. Leanne said that she was not happy to continue with her caring role to the same extent as she had been.
As her mother’s condition became worse and it was expected that her recovery process would be long, Leanne’s mother was assessed by a hospital social worker who decided that her needs were complex and she was referred to adult social care. Her mother was assessed as being eligible for care support. However, the support that was being offered involved packages of care that only addressed her mother’s needs and appeared to not recognise her mother as a parent. The young adult carers service was able to liaise with the professionals involved with her mother and Adam (Leanne’s brother) to conduct a professionals meeting to look at the needs of the whole family.
- Leanne’s mother was eligible for direct payments so that she could hire a personal assistant to support her to meet her own needs with regard to her health conditions.
- She also received help to support her with her parenting role as sometimes due to her health she was unable to meet all of her son’s needs.
- With this support, she was empowered to care for Adam with limited support from Leanne.
- Given the change in circumstances, Leanne can take on more hours at work and she now feels that her life is much more under control.