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Help for parents and carers
Becoming an adult, experiencing life changes, planning for the future and managing to acquire skills and knowledge for independence is an important time in any young person’s life. When that person also has complex needs and receives support from social care, education and health services it becomes a time of complex planning, exploration and agreeing future directions and pathways.
- How do I get a Carers' Assessment?
The Care Act 2014 recognises the rights of carers. As part of the young persons’ assessment within adult social care their carer can have an assessment in their own right in relation to their care and responsibilities.
Devon Carers is an information and support service run by eight organisations working together to improve the quality of services for all carers in Devon. It can provide help and support for parents and carers.
As a carer, you have the right to an assessment of your needs.
If you would like an assessment, you have two options.
1. You can ask to have a separate carers’ assessment, usually this is a Carer Health and Wellbeing Check. You can have this assessment even if the person you care for doesn’t have any care and support needs. The person you care for doesn’t have to agree to you having this check, or even need to know about it if this isn’t appropriate. A Carer Health and Wellbeing check will usually be done through Devon Carers or your GP practice.
2. If the person you care for has a care needs assessment you can choose to have an assessment of your needs at the same time. Your needs are looked at together in one process as a combined assessment. A combined assessment will usually be done through social care services.
All carer assessments will:
- give you a chance to talk about your health and wellbeing and the challenges of caring
- give you information about support and services, such as help to look after your own health while caring safely
- work out whether you have needs which are eligible for specific social care support
- give reassurance to you and the person you care for.
A Health and Wellbeing Check will also be an opportunity to pick up on any early signs of ill health and access treatment and support.
If the person you’re caring for has a care needs assessment the two separate assessments can be aligned as a joint assessment, if that is appropriate.
To ask for an assessment phone Devon Carers on 08456 434 435 or book online at www.devoncarers.org.uk/book-an-appointment
Carer Health and Wellbeing Checks are available from Devon Carers, some GP practices and some pharmacies. If you can’t leave the person you look after, it may be possible to arrange care for them while you have the check.
- What help is there for young carers and siblings?
As a young carer, the Care Act 2014 recognises you might need help and support in preparing for adulthood. As a young carer you will be offered an assessment of need in your own right in relation to your care and responsibilities. If you would like an assessment in your own right please contact Care Direct Plus – 0345 1551 007
Devon Carers has a specialist team who work with young carers, addressing the needs of young people providing care and support to other family members, primarily a parent or a sibling. Young carers are put in a position of great responsibility at a very young age; dealing with situations that many adults would find a challenge. These children and young people have to cope in difficult circumstances, often not only looking after their relative but also helping to bring up siblings and run a household. If you are a young carer or you know someone who is, you can contact Devon Young Carers for help and support.
- What financial support could I get?
As a carer you may be entitled to financial support in your own right. You might be eligible for a Carers’ Allowance.
The person you care for must already get one of these benefits:
- Personal Independence Payment – daily living component
- Disability Living Allowance – the middle or highest care rate
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Constant Attendance Allowance at the basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
You might be able to get Carer’s Allowance if all of the following apply:
- you’re 16 or over
- you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone
- you’re not in full-time education
- you’re not studying for 21 hours a week or more
- you earn no more than £110 a week (after taxes, care costs while you’re at work and 50% of what you pay into your pension)
Please visit the government’s website for a full list of criteria and information about how to apply.
- How does the Mental Capacity Act affect me and my child?
Mental capacity’ is the ability to make decisions. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 applies to everyone aged 16 or over.
What is meant by ‘capacity’?
Capacity refers to a person’s ability to make a particular decision at a particular time. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 says that a person’s capacity to make a decision may fluctuate based on their wellbeing at a particular time. If there is doubt that a person has ‘capacity’ to make a particular decision at a particular time, a mental capacity assessment will be undertaken by either a health or social care practitioner, depending upon the nature of the decision.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 sets out five key principles in determining whether someone has ‘capacity’ to make a decision or not:
- It should be assumed that everyone can make their own decisions unless it is proved otherwise. No one should assume that a person can’t make a decision because they have special educational needs or a disability.
- Do not treat people as incapable of making a decision unless all practical steps have been tried to help them. A person should have all the help and support possible to make and communicate their decision, before it is decided that they are unable to do so. If appropriate, this might mean delaying the decision.
- A person should not be treated as lacking capacity just because they make an ‘unwise decision.’ Disable people and those with special educational needs have the right to take risks if they understand the consequences of the decision; it is their decision to make.
- Actions or decision carried out on behalf of someone who lacks capacity must be in their ‘best interests.’ The Mental Capacity Act sets out a process to ensure that a decision made for people, who have been assessed as lacking capacity is made in their best interests. ‘Best interests’ means knowing about a person’s values, wishes, aspirations, and what you think they would choose if they did not lack ‘capacity.’ This includes decisions made by families as well as social workers and other health/care professionals.
- Actions or decisions made on behalf of someone who lacks ‘capacity’ should limit their rights as little as possible. A good example might be if a person was in a coma and a decision needed to be made about their care or treatment. A person must be able to: understand/ retain/ weigh/ and communicate their decision.
What does this mean for me as a parent/carer?
When your child is 16 or over, they have the right to make their own decisions if they have mental capacity at that time. You may need to work with practitioners to support your child/young person to make a decision. This could mean communicating in a different way or making sure they are given choices they can understand. You might also have to watch your child make a decision that you don’t agree with, or something you think is bad for them. If your child is 16 or over and has the capacity to make a choice, they must be allowed to make it.
Court of Protection, (court appointed) Deputyship
You can apply to become someone’s deputy if they ‘lack mental capacity’ – this means they can’t make a decision for themselves at the time it needs to be made. They may still be able to make decisions for themselves at other times. People may lack mental capacity because, for example:
- they’ve had a serious brain injury or illness
- they have dementia
- they have severe learning disabilities
You can apply to be just one type of deputy or both. If you’re appointed, you’ll get a court order saying what you can and can’t do.
Gov.UK (2016) Deputies: make decisions for someone who lacks capacity
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