Quality statement 4: Carers' breaks
Carers are regularly given the opportunity to discuss with health and social care practitioners the value of having a break from caring and the options available to them.
Many carers struggle to maintain their own wellbeing and often overlook their own needs because of their caring responsibilities. It is important for health and social care practitioners to remind carers regularly of the value of having a break from caring and the options available to them. This could include making time for themselves during their usual routines, through to carers' breaks arranged with replacement care. Taking a break will improve the carers' wellbeing and help them to continue in their caring role.
a) Evidence of local arrangements for health and social care practitioners to have regular discussions with carers about the value of having a break from caring and the options available to them.
Data source: Local data collection, for example, service protocols.
b) Evidence that accessible and up‑to‑date information about the local options for replacement care is available.
Data source: Local data collection, for example, leaflets and websites.
a) Proportion of carers who used support or services to take a break from caring.
Numerator – the number in the denominator who used support or services to take a break from caring.
Denominator – the number of carers.
Data source: Local data collection, for example, carer survey.
b) Carer quality of life.
Data source: Local data collection, for example, survey of carers or carer wellbeing assessments. NHS Digital's personal social services survey of adult carers in England includes data on quality of life for carers who are in contact with local authorities. A carer‑reported quality-of-life score based on these survey data is included in NHS Digital's measures from the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework.
Service providers (such as general practices, hospitals, community services, local authorities, and private, not‑for‑profit and voluntary sector care providers) ensure that arrangements are in place for practitioners to have regular discussions with carers about the value of having a break from caring and can signpost them to or discuss the options available to them. Providers ensure that staff know how to make suggestions about how carers can make time for themselves during their usual routines, as well as knowing how and where to access up‑to‑date information about the local options for replacement care.
Health and social care practitioners (such as GPs, community pharmacists, doctors, nurses, social workers, mental health practitioners, occupational therapists, and care workers) regularly remind carers of the value of having a break from caring and encourage them to take a break. Practitioners tell carers how important it is for them to make time for themselves during their usual routines as well as considering the need for a break using replacement care. Practitioners provide or signpost carers to up‑to‑date information about the local options for replacement care to meet their specific needs.
Commissioners (such as clinical commissioning groups, local authorities, and NHS England) commission services that ensure practitioners regularly discuss with carers the value of having a break from caring and the options available to them. Commissioners work with providers to record data about unmet need for carers' breaks to enable them to commission services that provide reliable replacement care with sufficient capacity and flexibility to meet carers' needs.
Carers have a discussion with their health or social care practitioner about the value of taking a break from caring, including making sure that they make time for themselves in their usual routine. They are also given or directed to information about any services that can provide reliable alternative care locally to meet their specific needs.
Supporting adult carers. NICE guideline NG150 (2020), recommendation 1.5.2
Services that provide carers' breaks, including respite care, provide short‑term care for the person with care needs in their own home or in a residential setting. This can mean a few hours during the day or evening, overnight, or a longer‑term break. Carers' breaks may be one‑off or more regular arrangements.
Carers' breaks should:
meet carers' needs for a break, for example in duration, timing, frequency and type of break
be arranged in a way that provides reliable and consistent support to the carer (such as avoiding last‑minute changes that could lead to additional stress for the carer).
[NICE's guideline on supporting adult carers, recommendation 1.5.3 and terms used in this guideline]
Carers should be provided with information about replacement care that they can easily read and understand themselves or with support. Information should be in a format that suits their needs and preferences, for example video or easy read information. It should be accessible to people who do not speak or read English, and it should be culturally and age appropriate. Carers should have access to an interpreter or advocate if needed. For carers with additional needs related to a disability, impairment or sensory loss, information should be provided as set out in NHS England's Accessible Information Standard.
Services that provide replacement care and support for carers to have a break should make reasonable adjustments to ensure that people with additional needs, such as physical, sensory or learning disabilities, and people who do not speak or read English, or who have reduced communication skills, can use the service. The service provided should be culturally and age appropriate.