It's important to know if you are a carer. A carer is someone who provides unpaid support to family or friends. This could be caring for an adult child, other relative, partner or friend. The person you care for can be ill, frail, disabled or have mental health or substance misuse problems.
This page provides information about your rights as a carer and what help or support is available.
Why it's important to know if you're a carer
It's important to know if you are a carer
Caring for a loved one is very rewarding. It can also be tiring, lonely or overwhelming at times. If you know you are a carer you can find out what support is available to you. In this video a carer talks about how important it is to identify yourself as a carer.
Get in touch if you need help
If you would like any further information about being a carer, please contact the Patient Experience team. We have a guide (handbook) for carers that explains how to get help and support in your caring role.
You can also go to the Carers in Hertfordshire website or call them on 01992 58 69 69
The Hertfordshire County Council website provides useful information about support for carers.
How we support carers
Carers Champions in adult and children's services
Our Carers Champions are staff who have volunteered to take on this additional role. They liaise with staff in their teams to remind everyone of the importance of identifying, valuing, and supporting carers. We discuss your needs as a carer with you to enable us to signpost you for additional support as required. For example, we may signpost you to Carers in Herts.
You can complete a carer's assessment link. If you would like more information, help, advice about this - or urgent support please call Hertfordshire County Council on 0300 123 4040.
Partnership in Care
When the person you care for is in hospital, Partnership in Care helps you be involved as much as you want to be. Wards have open visiting hours so that carers can offer support at times that are convenient to them.
All of our staff receive training in how to identify young carers and what support is available to them.
We have engaged with young carers through attending their young carers youth council meeting and other young carers events. This has enabled us to understand what matters to them and how best to support them.
Our staff signpost young carers to Young Carers in Herts you can also call on 01992 586969
Parent carers are life-long advocates for their children
Parent carers care for children or young people under 18 years with a variety of disabilities, health conditions or additional needs. These additional needs are often life-long and the challenges faced change as the child/young person grows and develops.
If you are a parent carer of a child with special needs under 18 years, or you are a young carer, you have similar rights to a Carer Assessment and support (as with adult carers). This is covered by the Children and Families Act 2014.
Other children in your family
It is important to note that other children living at home may also help with caring and therefore need some extra support themselves. Having caring responsibilities can have an impact on a young person’s schooling, sleep, and friendships. Contact the carer support organisation in your local area for information concerning Young Carers.
Transitioning to adult services
As your child becomes older, if they have complex physical health needs, they can be referred to a Young People’s Health Transitional Service. The aim of this service is to co-ordinate the transfer of healthcare from paediatric to adult services. This transition starts at age 14 years and may continue up to 21 years of age. If your child has not had a referral to this service, contact their school nurse.
Annual GP reviews
As part of the transition into adult services, it is recommended that you and your child attend your local GP for an annual review from around 14 years of age. The annual health review should include various checks, such as weight, height, blood pressure and a review of diet, bowels and continence.
If your child is registered with the GP practice as having special needs, you should automatically be given a double appointment.
When your child reaches 18 years
When your child reaches 18 years of age, your legal parental responsibility ends. Please discuss what this means for your circumstances with the Young People’s Health Transitional Service or your child’s school nurse. As your child transitions into adult healthcare, they will be supported by the Health Liaison Team (HLT). The HLT provide expert advice and support to adults with a learning disability in using healthcare services to get the care they need.
For more information about this contact your local authority. For information concerning your specific needs as a parent carer, contact your local carer support organisation or Parent Network support group
The Trust's School Nursing Service has worked with young carers supported by the Trust to help provide some information and support for children and young people who are caring for a family member or loved one at home. An animation, booklet and poster has been made with the help of young carers from Hertswood Academy in Borehamwood, Sandringham School in St Albans and Haileybury Turnford school in Cheshunt. The Queen's Nursing Institute and HCT have helped provide funding to help produce these resources which will be shown in secondary schools across the areas where HCT provides services and shared with young carers and those supporting young carers.
What is it like to be a young carer?
Hear what it is like to be a young carer in this animation, which was developed and recorded by young carers with support from HCT and the QNI.
Support for young carers
We have made a booklet which aims to give young carers support by signposting to services that can help and give some tips on how to speak up about being a young carer. Young carers often don't have the time to think about their own health when caring for someone else, so there is some health information and blank sections for young carers to keep their own notes.
Click here to download: My Young Carer Health Journal
Click here to download a poster and QR code to access resources: Health for Young Carers
What carers should expect
You should expect to be valued and supported in you caring role.
The Care Act 2014 legally entitles all adult carers to a Carer Assessment. This is regardless of the level of support you are providing someone.
Caring for someone covers lots of different things, such as:
- Helping with washing, dressing, and feeding
- Ensuring medication is being taken correctly
- Checking to ensure someone is okay
- Taking someone to regular appointments
- Being a companion when they are anxious or lonely
Carer Assessments are carried out by the local authority where the person you care for lives. You can have a Carer Assessment even if the person you care for does not get any formal help from their local authority. You do not need permission form the person you care for to request a Carer Assessment. You are entitled to a Carer Assessment in your own right.
The Carer Assessment looks at how caring affects your life. It helps you work out how you can carry on doing the things that are important to you and your family. It looks at your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Your assessment should cover:
- Your caring role and how it affects your life and wellbeing
- Your health – physical, mental and emotional issues
- Your feelings and choices about caring
- How your caring role affects your work, study, training and leisure
- Relationships, social activities and your goals
- Planning for emergencies, such as a backup plan
The aim of the assessment is to help you get the support you need. It is best to give
your honest opinion about your caring role, the care you provide and your feelings about being a carer. As a result of an assessment you may be eligible for support from your local authority. They will be able to offer advice and guidance to help you with your caring responsibilities.
You may wish to request a review of your Carer Assessment if your caring responsibilities change. Carer Assesments in Hertfordshire are done by the County Council.
Go to Carer Assessment at Hertfordshire County Council
Caring from a distance
Caring can be more difficult if you do not live with or near to the person you care for, or if it takes you a long time to get to their home. In these situations it is important to plan ahead and consider any potential issues.
Get caring from a distance fact sheet
Understanding benefits that you and the person you care for may be entitled to can be a confusing and long process but it is worth checking. Age UK, Citizens Advice or the Money Advice Unit at your local authority can help, and they may also help with completing the application forms on your behalf.
Caring and working
It can be very challenging if you are trying to combine work with caring. The Work and
Families Act 2006 gives carers the right to request flexible working. This can take the form of flexible working arrangements: changing shifts to suit caring commitments; compressed hours (working agreed hours over fewer days or shifts); job shares or working from home.
You can make one request for flexible working per year. Although, the company you work for is legally obliged to consider your application, they do not have to agree with your proposals. If you wish to make more than one request in a year, you can still approach your employer to discuss flexible working arrangements. The charity Carers UK provide unpaid carers with expert information, advice and support. - including information about caring and working.