A new report analysing the effects of the Care Act has revealed many carers are still not aware of their right to support.
Carers’ Resource Director Chris Whiley recommends the survey’s findings should be used as a tool to ‘further promote and fight for carers’ rights’.
Carers Trust, the UK’s national charity for unpaid carers, sought views from those looking after a loved one who is disabled, sick or frail, to gauge if the introduction of the Care Act in 2015 had an impact on support they received.
The report’s findings show the new act, which entitles carers to an assessment of their own needs, gives a ‘mixed picture’ with some examples of good practice, while some carers questioned said the act had made no difference.
In some instances carers said they were unaware of the act, and its implications to them as a carer.
Our reaction to the findings has also been published in the Telegraph & Argus report here.
Mrs Whiley says: “What’s clear is that the language used in laws and reports doesn’t necessarily translate to what carers understand they are receiving on the ground.
“If you ask a carer if they want an ‘assessment’ they can look at you blankly; they may even think we are asking if the person they look after needs an assessment, not them as an individual.
“And many carers still do not recognise themselves as ‘a carer’ so they’re not even aware that support is out there, never mind the fact they’re entitled to anything. Yet one in five of us will be a carer at some point in our lives.
“When we meet carers and as ask them ‘how are you?’ they can immediately start telling you about the person they look after, how they are, and not themselves.
“This is what has to change. Everyone needs to become more aware of what a carer is, the fact they have their own set of needs – and that places like Carers’ Resource are here to help them as an individual to have their own quality of life.”
She adds: “By bringing the subject into the public arena more and more we can help raise the profile of carers and make sure more carers are given the support they need to carry out their role with confidence.
“Everyone in our society has a role to play in making it happen and this is reflected in the report’s recommendations.”