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Carers and caring

Adult Carer Support Plans (ACSP)

Background

The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016

The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 aims to support carers’ health and wellbeing and help make caring more sustainable.  It puts in place measures to help people continue to care, for as long as they choose, in better health and to have a life outside of caring. 

The Act came into effect on 1st April 2018 and introduced statutory requirements/duties on local authorities and health boards.  These include:

  • To offer carers an Adult Carer Support Plan (or Young Carers Statement if under 18)
  • Provide information and advice for carers
  • Provide support to carers
  • Publish Local eligibility criteria
  • Involve carers (including in hospital discharge)
  • Produce a local Carers Strategy

Carers Rights

The Carers Charter sets out the rights of carers under The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016, and this identifies that as a carer, you have:

  • The right to an Adult Carer Support Plan (or Young Carer Statement)
  • The right to support to meet any identified “eligible needs”
  • The right to be involved in services
  • The right to be involved in the hospital discharge process of the person you care for

What is an Adult Carer Support Plan?

An Adult Carer Support Plan begins with a meaningful conversation with your lead worker about you and your caring role and what impact it has on your life.  This conversation will often start alongside the conversation about the support that you are proving to your cared-for person and will help inform who is best placed to support you and how. 

It may be that it is more appropriate for your Adult Carer Support Plan to be progressed by a Carer Support Worker from Lanarkshire Carers if your needs are identified as likely to be at a low to moderate level.  However, if it is likely that your needs will meet the eligibility criteria, then South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership may take the lead in progressing your Adult Carer Support Plan. 

It is important that you feel comfortable enough to have an open and honest conversation with your Lead worker about your caring role, so it may be that you arrange to speak separately with them away from the person you care for, or you may feel more able to express yourself by providing written/emailed information about your caring role and the impact that this has on you.

The Adult Carer Support Plan conversation will focus on areas that are important to you, such as what you wish to maintain, change, or improve and may include some or all of the areas below:

Health and Wellbeing

Life Balance

Living Environment

Relationships

Finances

Employment and Training

Future Planning

The conversation focuses on helping you to:

  • identify your support needs
  • identify what outcomes you would like to achieve
  • look at what you can do to achieve your outcomes yourself and
  • what others can do to help support you

The conversation that you have with your Lead Worker will be recorded in your Adult Carer Support Plan where your identified outcomes are established, and a copy of the plan will be provided to you. Your Adult Carer Support Plan may include details of:

  • changes which can be assumed by yourself
  • information, advice and supports from Lanarkshire Carers that may be of benefit
  • community/universal supports or supports that can be provided by South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership

Eligibility Criteria

Not all carers will require support, however, eligibility criteria have been set to ensure those carers who are most in need are able to get the right level of support at the right time.  Eligibility Criteria is a framework that is used for determining whether any support needs meet the threshold for support from the Local Authority.

Eligibility thresholds

Caring has no impact                                                              Needs met

Category 1                  Caring has low impact                        Low level needs

Category 2                  Caring has moderate impact              Moderate level needs

Category 3                  Caring has substantial impact            Substantial level needs

Category 4                  Caring has critical impact                   Critical level needs

Every carer can access information, advice, and support from our partners at Lanarkshire Carers.  They provide a range of services that can support you in your caring role, such as the provision of emotional support, access to training to help you learn new skills, or to help you manage anxiety and stress, as well as providing access to counselling services, for example.  Or their Short Breaks Bureau could help you identify a suitable break from your caring role, if appropriate.  

Lanarkshire Carers also have a dedicated BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) Service, supporting carers from a range of communities and can provide support in a number of languages.

This type of support can be useful if your caring role has a low to moderate impact and this preventative support can help avoid a crisis arising, as well as helping you sustain your caring role in the longer-term if you so choose.

However, if it has been identified that your caring role is having a critical or substantial impact, then the local authority has a duty to provide support for your ‘eligible needs’.  This may include the provision of funding for replacement care or a period of respite for the person you care for to allow you to have a complete break from your caring role, for example.  

Remember, you can still receive support from Lanarkshire Carers or community resources to help meet your low to moderate needs at the same time as receiving support from the local authority to help meet any critical and substantial needs that have been identified.   

Self-Directed Support

The Social Care (Self-Directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013 is an Act of the Scottish Parliament that ensures that local authorities offer self-directed support to anyone who requires support services, including unpaid carers who require support to help them maintain their caring role.

If it has been recognised that you have eligible needs as a carer, then in some cases you may be offered funding to help you meet specific outcomes that have been identified when progressing your Adult Carer Support Plan.  If this is the case, then you will have access to the four Self-Directed Support Options:

  • Option 1 - Direct Payment
  • Option 2 - Individual Budget
  • Option 3 - Arranged Support
  • Option 4 - A mix of the above options

The use of any funding that is offered should be discussed and agreed with your allocated lead worker.  These discussions should include:

  • how the support will be delivered to meet the agreed outcomes
  • what form this should take
  • ensuring that there is a transparent and clear link to the Adult Carer Support Plan.

You can get help and support in relation to considering the four options from Take Control.

Adult Carer Support Plan Review

A date will be agreed with you and your lead worker to review your Adult Carer Support Plan to make sure that it still reflects your current situation.  At this time, your lead worker will get in touch with you to have a further conversation with you about your caring role and the impact that it is having on your life.  This will include looking at your agreed outcomes and identifying whether all or some of these have been met, or whether other assistance is needed to help you achieve them.

Your situation may change over time- for example, there might be a change in your own health or in the health of the person that you look after, which means that a review of your Adult Carer Support Plan out with normal timescales may be necessary.

The review may identify that some of your outcomes have been met, or that they are no longer appropriate.  The level of support you receive may change as a result of this review, as it will be reflective of your situation at that time.  This could mean that any previously agreed Self-Directed Support funding may be subject to change, for example.

Preparing for your Adult Carer Support Plan Conversation

To help you think about what is important to you as a carer, you can use the following headings to start thinking about your caring role and to work out what is working for you right now, what could be better and how you might like things to look in the future.

It might be useful to take some notes of these thoughts so you can share them with your lead worker when you meet to start your conversation.

Your Caring Role

Think about who you care for, the type of care you provide and how often you provide this. Do you have any other caring responsibilities?  Are you able to manage your caring role at this time?

Current supports in place

Are there any services in place to support you in your caring role? Do you get help from friends or family?  Do you link in with any community-based supports?

Short Breaks

Consider whether you get regular short breaks from your caring role.  Short breaks can be anything from being able to take small amounts of time away from your caring role at home or in the garden for example, to having a complete break away from your caring role for a period of time.

Health and Wellbeing

Think about how caring impacts both your physical and emotional health.  Do you have any health conditions of your own that are impacted by caring for someone else?  Are there any aids/adaptations in place to assist you with your caring role, for example moving and handling equipment?

Relationships

Consider your relationship with the person/people you care for and how your caring role impacts on your key relationships with family, friends, and those within your community.

Life Balance

Do you feel that you have a life outside of your caring role?  Are you able to have a social life?  Are you able to take time for leisure activities that you enjoy?  Can you engage in hobbies and interests?

Employment and Training

Think about how caring impacts your ability to work or to access education or training. Have you had to give up work, or reduce the number of hours that you work to allow you to care?  Do you have access to training you feel would help you support the person you care for?

Finances

Consider the impact that your caring role has on your own financial situation. Are you aware of any grants/benefits that you might be entitled to and how to access these?  Are there any legal arrangements in place to help you support the person you care for with their finances, such as Power of Attorney/Guardianship?

Living Environment

Think about the impact that your caring role has on your living environment.  Do you use any technology to support your caring role, such as Alexa, door sensors, etc.  Are you able to maintain good levels of hygiene within the home?  Are there any safety issues to consider?

Future Planning

Have you thought about the future? Do you have an emergency plan in place?  Have you considered anticipatory care planning?

There may be other areas of your life that you feel that are impacted by your caring role and that are not covered here.  Please speak with your Lead Worker if you would like to discuss these further.