This guideline covers support for adults (aged 18 and over) who provide unpaid care for anyone aged 16 or over with health or social care needs. It aims to improve the lives of carers by helping health and social care practitioners identify people who are caring for someone and give them the right information and support. It covers carers’ assessments, practical, emotional and social support and training, and support for carers providing end of life care.

This guideline covers general principles that apply to all adult carers. Recommendations about supporting carers of people with specific health needs can be found in NICE guidance on those conditions.

This guideline should be read together with the Care and support statutory guidance under the Care Act 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014.

Recommendations

This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and other organisations that assess, plan, and commission local services or provide support and information for adult carers and people receiving care
  • Providers of health and social care services, including:
    • Social care providers
    • Primary care (including pharmacists and GPs)
    • Hospital and community care (including acute and mental health trusts and residential care)
    • Emergency services
    • Community and voluntary organisations
  • Health and social care practitioners (including personal assistants) working with adult carers
  • Adults who provide unpaid care for 1 or more people aged 16 or over with health and social care needs

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian. 

All problems (adverse events) related to a medicine or medical device used for treatment or in a procedure should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency using the Yellow Card Scheme.

Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.


Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)