This week is Carers Week and nationally it is focussed around making caring visible and valued. There are at least 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK. Throughout the pandemic, unpaid carers have played an essential role supporting family members, friends and neighbours who could not manage without their help and support, mainly behind closed doors and with little opportunity for breaks from their caring roles. There has also been an increase in the number of unpaid carers as a result of Covid-19.
We want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank carers for all they do. To recognise the difficulties they experience while offering information, advice and support to enable them in their caring role.
As a result of the pandemic, identification and support for carers is needed more than ever.
Who is a carer?
We know that many people do not think about themselves as a carer – they are a son, daughter, neighbour, or friend. A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a partner, relative, neighbour or friend who couldn’t manage without help because of illness, disability, mental health issues, frailty or drug/alcohol problems.
Safeguarding adults and carers
We know that the majority of unpaid carers strive to act in the best interests of the person they support. There are times however, when those carers experience harm from the person to whom they are offering care and support or vice versa. The Care Act 2014 is clear that carers might be adults at risk in their own right and that they are given the same protections under safeguarding adults duties. The NSAB have a Carers Risk Assessment Tool and associated guidance which aims to help professionals identify when a carer or cared for person might be at risk of abuse or neglect because of the caring relationship. Some of the risk factors include:
- Cared for person has needs that exceed the carers ability to meet them
- Cared for person rejects help and support for others
- Cared for person is angry about their situation
- Carer or cared for person is emotionally or socially isolated
- Carer has health or care needs of their own
- Carer has frequently asked for help, support or long term care without success
- Carer has little insight into cared for person’s condition/needs
- Lack of information, skills, support
Wherever possible, professionals would attempt to reduce risks and provide support to carers outside of safeguarding adults procedures and before things became more serious. Any safeguarding adults enquiry would be undertaken carefully and sensitively and would be proportionate to the level of risk. The wishes of the carer and cared for person would always be taken into account.
Young carers are people under 18 who look after somebody in their family who is ill, disabled, has mental health problems or is misusing drugs or alcohol.
Being a young carer can have a big impact on a young person’s health, social life and education. Many young carers struggle to juggle their school work and caring which can cause them lots of stress. Young carers often have less free time compared to other children to take part in social activities.
Newcastle Carers provides support to Young Carers in Newcastle, including undertaking Young Carers Assessments.
Support for Carers in Newcastle
If you care you can get recognition, emotional, practical, financial and emergency support from the City Council, health services and voluntary organisations, including those services specifically for carers. It is also important that professionals are aware of the services and support available so that these can be highlighted and offered to carers.
Carers assessments – As a carer, Newcastle City Council will always offer information and advice to support you in your caring role but recognise that this is not always enough to meet your needs. In this case a carers assessment from the council may help.
Carers Wellbeing Fund – fund is available for carers to take breaks and opportunities that give them choice, independence and control to improve their health and wellbeing.
Young Carers 6th Form Bursary Scheme – Young adult carers can apply for a bursary of £300 per year to help with the costs associated with caring while in education.
Newcastle Carers – help adults, children and young people with information, advice and support. They run various support groups for carers, offering a chance to take a needed break, meet people in similar situations who can understand and get helpful information.
Emergency Carers Card – The British Red Cross runs this service which offers emergency support for someone a carer suddenly finds that they cannot return or visit and help to draw up an emergency contact plan.
Props North East – offer a support service to people with alcohol, drug or addiction problems.
Information Now “Looking after someone” – all the information in one place about caring for someone in Newcastle with useful information for carers and professionals.
If are concerned about the abuse or neglect of an adult or child, please report it.