More than 1 in 8 adults in the UK care for a family member or friend. This care is crucial to meet the needs of the growing population of older people and people with long-term conditions or disabilities. But the vital role of unpaid carers often goes unrecognised. Carers themselves are usually hidden from view and their own needs overlooked. Caring can be difficult, physically and emotionally, and many people have to balance caring around work or education or use their own money to fund care. Caring can take over a carer’s life and affect their health and wellbeing.
The Care Act 2014 gives carers the right to have their own needs considered, but many people don’t know what help they could get or how to get it. This guideline is about supporting adult carers (18 or over) who care for someone aged 16 or over. We want it to make a difference to carers’ lives by making sure:
- more carers are identified and offered advice and support
- carers have more choice and control over their lives, including their caring role
- health and social care teams work more closely with carers, including them and valuing their expert knowledge about the person they care for
- carers don’t have to give up work, education or stop doing the things they enjoy because of caring.
Getting the right support
Every carer should get support if they need it, no matter who they are, where they live or what condition or disability affects the person they care for. Your local authority and health and social care professionals should give you clear information that helps you understand the support available and how to get it, including:
- understanding your rights as a carer
- how to get a carer’s assessment and what it involves
- types of support and advice available, like carer training, carers’ breaks, replacement care to help you get back to work, money and benefits advice or help with transport
- sources of support if you need to talk to someone about your wellbeing, like support groups and carer forums
- where to find out more, like local carers’ centres and community organisations
- information and support for end of life care, including advance care planning and providing care.
Tell your health or social care professional if you have difficulty understanding or remembering the information they give you.
Where can I find out more?
The NHS website has more information about support and benefits for carers.
The organisations below can give you more advice and support.
NICE is not responsible for the content of these websites.
To share an experience of care that you or the person you care for has received, contact your local Healthwatch.
We wrote this guideline with people who have experience as carers, and health and social care professionals. All the decisions are based on the best research available.
This page was last updated: 22 January 2020