HEALTH: Make sure you receive the support you deserve from local authority

Health
Health

This week we wanted to continue to talk about carers and how people who are caring for a loved one locally can get the help and support they need and deserve.

If you provide care and support for a family member, friend, parent or partner with additional needs, such as an illness, frailty, disability or a drug or alcohol problem, then help is available to support you.

Local organisation Carers Support West Sussex offers a range of local services for people who are looking after someone, including a helpline to provide information and support, support workers who can offer practical and emotional support, local peer support groups, training, and regular social and information events.

You can find out more about the range of support they can offer on their website www.carerssupport.org.uk or by calling 0300 028 8888.

You may also be eligible for support, such as someone to step in when you need a short break, or financial help to make caring easier.

The new Care Act 2014 makes carer’s assessments more widely available to people in caring roles.

You can read more about the Care Act changes for carers at www.nhs.uk

There is now a legal duty for local authorities to assess any carer who requests one, or who appears to need support.

Even if the person you care for is not eligible for local authority funded social care services you can still ask for your own needs as a carer to be assessed.

That way you can see if you can get support.

A carer’s assessment is a discussion between you and a trained person, either from the council or another organisation that the council works with.

Normally this does not involve the person you care for; you may, however, feel you want that person to be present.

Although it is the county council’s responsibility to complete a carer assessment with you if you ask for one, you can also complete the assessment form yourself.

Or, you can ask someone else, such as a friend, another carer or another professional, to help you.

If you care for a disabled child, your needs will be considered as part of the assessment of the needs of your child and family.

The assessment will help to identify your support needs and how these could be met.

This might mean that the council will give you help or put you in touch with other organisations, such as local charities, that you can talk to.

If you would like an assessment of your needs as an adult carer please contact the county council’s Adults’ Carepoint on 01243 642 121 or email: socialcare@westsussex.gov.uk.

They are available Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm, to help and advise you on the next steps.

• NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group