A carer is anyone who helps somebody (usually a relative or friend) who needs support in their day to day life due to illness, frailty, disabilities or mental health or substance misuse problems. This is an unpaid role, and is not the same as someone who is paid, provides care professionally, or through a voluntary organisation. Carers may frequently provide support including assistance with personal care, household tasks, finances, emotional support and leisure.
Any one of us, including children and young adults, at any time could become a carer either on a short-term basis or for a longer period. It is also important to recognise that some carers will experience more complex situations such as caring for more than one person, for example a parent and a child (“sandwich caring”) or an older couple caring for each other (“mutual caring”).
If you're caring for someone, it is important you get the advice, information and support you need to help in your caring role.
As a carer, you have a legal right to an assessment. It’s an opportunity for you to talk about the things that could make caring easier, how your role as a carer affects you and what you may benefit from. It may also include respite care. You can still have a carer’s assessment even if the person you care for refuses help or an assessment themselves.
You can get a carer’s assessment whether you care for someone with a physical or a mental health problem. The assessment isn’t linked to Carer’s Allowance (financial support for carers). To find out about getting an assessment, you can:
- Speak to a member of our staff
- Contact your local social services team
- Contact Carers Direct by calling 0300 123 1053 (lines are open 9am-8pm Monday to Friday, 11am-4pm at weekends)
There are a range of benefits, tax credits and other financial support that you may be entitled to as a carer. The main benefit is called Carer's Allowance. It is a state benefit, which provides a weekly payment to support you in your caring role. To check the full set of criteria and whether you would qualify for Carer's Allowance, visit the DirectGov website. The Carers Trust website also has helpful information about who can claim this benefit.
Details about other forms of financial support available for carers, and how to apply are on the DirectGov website.
At Southern Health, we have nominated employees to be Carers' Leads who ensure that carers raise any concerns and are supported. They also lead on ways to improve how we work with carers. Carers' Leads encourage carers to get involved and have their say about the services we offer, both for carers and for service users, so that we might be able to make improvements and provide better services for all.
There is support available for patients who are shielding, and this is being co-ordinated through the City Council COVID support hub and SoLinked. Please read this following webpage to understand more for Southampton residents: https://www.southampton.gov.uk/news/article.aspx?id=tcm:63-426458.
The Hub will enable the council to respond to requests, using our own resources and voluntary sector, the community, and faith sector partners to deploy help quickly.
For residents living within Hampshire County Council please visit https://www.hants.gov.uk/socialcareandhealth/coronavirus/volunteer-welfare or contact the helpline on 0333 370 4000, open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
We will soon be carrying out the “2021 Community Mental Health Survey” to find out what service users think about their care.
The survey is voluntary and all answers are confidential. This is part of a national programme to improve quality of care and service users’ experiences.
We are continually looking for ways to make our services the best they can be for all of our service users, families and carers. Your feedback on how we are doing will help us to achieve this. By listening carefully to you, we can better understand what you want and need and how we can best support you. By working together, we can bring about real and lasting improvements. We know from experience that the people who use our services are the true experts on how those services should be developed and delivered. Your views and experiences help us to improve services for everyone who uses them.
There are many different ways to be involved in improving and shaping our services. If you are interested in issues related to carers, you may wish to specifically contribute to Southern Health's local carers groups.
- Join the Families First Group - Download the Terms of Reference for this group.
- Join the Working in Partnership Committee - Download the Terms of Reference for this committee.
- Join one of our Carer Support Groups - contact your local team to enquire or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Become a member of our Foundation Trust
- Brighterway Charity
Information about local and national consultations where you can get involved and have your say: Carers: provision of support for adult carers
There are lots of organisations and charities who help to support carers:
Find out how research could support those who care for people with dementia and for patients who have dementia.
Patient and public engagement team