Carers Assessments.

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I'd be interested in reading the opinions of Forum members on the following, which I have taken from a response to a consultation document in my regional area, entitled 'Who Cares - the Future of Adult Care and Support in N.I."

<More than half of the offers of a Carers assessment are not being routinely taken up by carers. There are a number of reasons for this, but alarmingly, a fifth of carers said they would not be beneficial. This seems to highlight a flaw in the current assessment process. Perhaps the assessments are not being used imaginatively enough to help carers identify things that would make a difference to their lives? >

I find this a rather strange view. Who is being blamed here? Are training methods for social workers/ interviewers so inadequate that they can't use imaginative? methods to enthuse carers about taking up the offer of assessments? And besides what would be entailed in using imaginative methods so that carers would not present obstacles as a result of pre -established mindsets, by whatever means. An interesting area for discussion. I look forward to hearing from you.
Since I first asked - just four years ago - for a Carers Assessment that gave my wife and I the opportunity to choose for ourselves how to manage supports around my son's interests, and our needs, our son (who has Down's Syndrome and is just 18) has been youth hostelling in Holland, toured Finland as part of a mainstream European Young Leader programme, backpacked around the Western Isles, cruised the Upper Nile, ski-ed and/or sailed in Scotland, the French Alps, Canada (twice), Tenerife, Australia and New Zealand (twice), and paddled a canoe down the River Wye in Wales (twice), amongst many other activities. He also travels independently to college three days a week during termtime, and has done part-time paid work experience at a local Printers. His independence, autonomy, self-esteem and practical skills have been much enhanced as a result (though he still has major problems counting money or telling right from left, for example). He currently has three young paid supporters, (on a call-on basis) plus various unpaid family and friends/volunteers, who engage with him in all aspects of social, leisure, artistic, and sporting pursuits, every week of the year. This enables my wife and I to keep working, stay fit, and have quality time together, like our recent mini-break in the Lake District. And at a cost that is way below the cost of a typical Day Centre. Carers Assessments get results: get one now!
I've been delivering training in our area on the subject of Carers Assessments. To say that the general understanding of the law and of ways Carers Assessments can and should be used is shaky would be an understatement.
I can't say that any Carer's assessment I've ever had has done anything good for me. First problem is that I have two carees, my son comes under the Learning Disability Team; mum under the elderly team. I think I've only ever had one for mum - refers briefly to my son, but focusses on mum of course. Mum had a two yearly review of her needs assessment, I didn't know this was taking place, as I would have liked to be there. On the subsequent form it said I'd been asked if I wanted a carer's assessment, but it said I'd refused. Completely untrue. Even mum said that the assessment didn't seem to be describing her at all! At one stage I was juggling the needs of five family members all entitled to highest DLA, although one stubbornly refused to claim (!) but even then I didn't have a proper Carer's Assessment. The latest idea in our County is to sent Carers a tick box form with three options to fill in and return. That's it. Three months ago the lead social worker for LD in the County said at a review meeting that he'd arrange a joint carer's assessment for me. Needless to say, no one has been in touch yet.
I have had several Carers Assessments.
Two have been useful and led to something good for me as a Carer which in turn is beneficial for my family as I was more relaxed and able to cope with the multpiple jobs that I needed to do around caring and in everyday living.
One assessment was done by a student and was overseen by the Manager.You won't believe the support I had then, it was great,obviously done to benefit the students marks in her exams, as it wasn't because she was particularly bothered. I had a three day stay at a local spa with 6 treatments paid for, all meals paid for and use of the swimming pool.The cottage I stayed in was beautiful(to give you some idea of the cost, I have been looking again this week,thinking my husband and I could do with a day or two break,and just the cottage,no meals or spa was over £600 for two nights!)
It was a lovely break,but my daughter, 18 at the time,ended up being the Carer instead of me, so I wouldn't do it again.
Another Carers Assessment was done by a Social Worker who was herself a Carer(and sadly had to give up work due to her caring role).She asked me if there was anything I had dreamed of doing in life which I had never done. I said horseriding.I was given a course of horseriding lessons and I would do that again, it was a wonderful experience. I took my daughter with me to a couple of the rides,and we went beach riding,which I can't even describe as it was such a lovely experience.
Everyone should be able to get something wonderful from their Carers Assessment. We live very difficult lives on the whole,juggling so much and if we do not get a break then like a juggler, we will drop everything and lose so much.I am almost at that point now,but cannot find a way out of it. Carers assessment recently has been pointless as far as I can see.Nothing has changed,they ignore the things I am stressing that I have difficult with nowadays.
I hope that helps, Irene.
Thanks for all this useful feedback. Now what can be done to prevent carers receiving assessments that are unsuited, irrelevant to their needs? What is the root of the problem? Training practices for Social work students? Sloppy,( yes and I don't apologise for using that word) work practices among social care staff, who may transfer their ill-based opinions to vulnerable carers, who may believe they are hearing the truth about what social care can offer them???? Image .................lots more I could say.
Was thinking further on my last post, and would appreciate some feedback on the following......
I consider that the problem is that social workers no longer exist in many ways. They have been turned into care managers more concerned about budget restraints than anything else. They do not have enough training in business subjects, budget management in particular. They often appear not to understand contract law. They can have a very cosy relationship with care service providers whom they are keen to keep happy at all costs to save themselves work. Is it fair and reasonable to consider that the only way carers will get proper assessments is to have independent assessors, looking at carer needs?

Again, let's hear your views.................
I will get back to you Irene,I just have to think about ths one a bit,I may send you a PM if that is okay,as your last couple of sentences about the cosy relationship with care service providers really strikes a chord with me at the moment.
I think a lot of the problem is that you have a right to a Carer's Assessment but you don't have the right to have your assessed needs met. We get the assessment and then told we don't have any services available to meet your needs so its all pretty pointless really.

Eun
Was thinking further on my last post, and would appreciate some feedback on the following......
I consider that the problem is that social workers no longer exist in many ways. They have been turned into care managers more concerned about budget restraints than anything else. They do not have enough training in business subjects, budget management in particular. They often appear not to understand contract law. They can have a very cosy relationship with care service providers whom they are keen to keep happy at all costs to save themselves work. Is it fair and reasonable to consider that the only way carers will get proper assessments is to have independent assessors, looking at carer needs?

Again, let's hear your views.................
My view is that there are many who are paper pushers and above every care manager, there are usually a large contingent of "top dogs" who are blocking every sensible suggestion. Then there are those care managers whose priority is the welfare of their clients and ensuring they get the best service for them regardless of what their superiors on the decision making panels say. There are those who will go the extra distance in pushing for the correct services for the caree to make sure that any snap decisions do not impact on the carers.

They might well be in the minority but you asked for all views. We had a care manager who was brilliant, a slip of a lad (23) who will forever have my gratitude. With him on our side listening to our needs, we got the best outcome we could have.

They are not all inept, nor bed hopping with service providers.
105 posts