What is a carer?
In Somerset you are considered to be a carer if you give up your time without pay, to look after a family member, a friend, or a neighbour who is ill, frail or has a disability. You can be a parent carer, a young carer, or care for an older person or other adult with care needs.
Here you can find information about being a carer, and the advice, help and support available.
A parent carer is someone who looks after a child of their own who has a disability, chronic illness or behavioural difficulties.
A young carer is someone under 18 years old who looks after a family member, friend or neighbour.
Carers can also care for an older person, someone with physical disabilities, sensory loss, learning disabilities, long-term illness, substance misuse or mental health problems.
Support available for carers
The Somerset Carers Service provides a carers support service that is available to all unpaid carers, whether you care for a few hours or a substantial amount.
They give good quality local information, emotional support and practical advice to help you in your caring role. They also work closely with the other specialist carer support networks.
This service is to support you as a carer. It does not replace assessed care and support provided by the local authority.
To find your local Carers Support Group, please go to the Somerset Carers Service website and select Carer Support Groups from the drop down menu, or call the helpline on 0800 31 68 600 or contact your local Carers Agent to find out where and when your local group meets.
You can find carer information and advice on the Somerset Community Connect website. There are also Information Sheets covering a wide range of topics, including contact details of how to find out more.
Help for carers in an emergency
Help in Crisis is a free service that was set up to meet an identified need for one-off emergency support for carers ‘in crisis’. The service is free to carers and can be provided for sessions of up to four or up to eight hours and can usually be provided within one hour of the request being made. This service may be arranged outside the normal assessment process.
You can access this service if you can no longer carry out your caring role because you are:
- confined to bed at home due to illness or accident
- admitted to hospital in an emergency
- in a state of exhaustion and need immediate rest and sleep
- in an emotional or physical state of distress and immediate relief is vital to your mental and physical wellbeing
- needed in a family crisis
The service is only available for these situations and is provided by Care at Home providers. It is available between 8.30am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. If you find that you need regular support you should contact us for an assessment.
For help outside these hours, the phone number for Children’s, Adults and Mental Health is:
0300 123 23 27
- your social worker
- your carers support worker
- your local community nursing team (based at your local doctor’s surgery)
If you need continued support this might be available through our Sitting service. Please contact your social worker or the Somerset Partnership team to find out how to contact your local carers support worker.
Short breaks for carers
We can arrange short-term breaks after you or your carer have been assessed. This service is usually used to support carers in their caring role.
Short breaks give carers and the people they care for the opportunity to have a break from their caring role. People who want a short break must have an assessment. Short breaks used to be known as ‘respite care’.
A short break at home allows you to stay at home while your carer takes a break. An increased package of home care support, which may include night care, or a short break in a care home, can be arranged.
Short breaks can also be arranged for people whose assessment shows that:
- It may be a way of managing a temporary crisis or temporary deterioration in their health.
- It will help them regain skills lost because of a lack of confidence, loss of motivation or depression.
- They will benefit from a holiday break and need a similar level of personal care in their holiday location.
All short breaks are booked in advance and have a fixed end date. If, for any reason, you need to extend this break, we will carry out a reassessment and agree a new support plan. Your first break will be arranged by your social care worker. They will explain to you how to arrange further breaks.
We can arrange breaks or you can have a Direct Payment so you can pay for and arrange your own break. If you wish to arrange your own break, Enham can give you advice. People with less than our capital threshold pay a flat rate charge, apart from the following free services
- Help in crisis
- Day care. There is no charge for day care but people have to pay for transport and meals
Help and support for young carers
We provide support, advice and respite breaks for children and young people under 18 who have substantial caring responsibilities at home.
Our definition of a Young Carer is: if you are under 18 and look after someone by providing substantial and regular care that persists over time and is important in maintaining the health, safety or day-to-day well-being of the person cared for and the wider family.
The types of tasks being carried out are often regular and substantial, which would usually be associated with an adult. The term does not apply for everyday and occasional help around the home that may often be expected of or given by children in families.
This could be helping to care for a physically disabled parent or sibling, or a parent experiencing mental ill health, alcohol or drug misuse. The caring role would usually be having a detrimental impact on the young person’s development, such as difficulties at school, emotional difficulties or social isolation.
We aim to:
- Identify and support young people with caring responsibilities
- Promote recognition and awareness of their needs and achievements
- Work alongside other agencies to develop schemes and services which support young carers
We can help you in a number of ways:
- Answer your questions and give you advice on anything you need to know.
- Give you useful information, which can help you and your family.
- Introduce you to other young people who are in similar situations to you.
- Speak out for you, making sure that your feelings and wishes are heard.
- We run regular groups, where you can take part in exciting and new activities, have a break from home life, and have fun with friends.
- We can provide trips and activities during the year that can also give you a break and support from your caring role
- We can talk to your school about what being a young carer means for you
- We can signpost you to other organisations that can support you.
Anyone under 18 in a substantial and regular caring role can be referred to this service.
The service is free, although contributions are sometimes asked for, to help with the cost of a trip or activity.
All referrals must be sent to our Customer Contact Children’s Team and completed using an early help assessment.