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Carer’s Assessment and the Carer’s Needs and Support Plan

When a person is being assessed for health and social care services, staff use the Northern Ireland Single Assessment Tool (NISAT) to carry out the assessment. If a person is eligible for health and social care services (even if they have chosen not to avail of those services) their carer or carers are entitled to an assessment of their own needs.

The assessment is not a test of the carer’s financial situation. It is a conversation for the carer to focus on how caring impacts on them and the information discussed can be compiled over a number of visits. A carer may wish to talk in confidence to the person who is carrying out the assessment, without the person they care for being present.

The person who carries out the assessment will give the carer an opportunity to speak frankly about their own feelings and challenges. This assessment will be confidential.

The purpose of the Carers Assessment is to:

  • Ensure that the carer is recognised for the support they provide and that they are valued in their caring role
  • Identify any help or support they may need
  • Assess if the carer is eligible to avail of a short break
  • Provide information on local support services such as carer support groups or benefits advice
  • Explore whether the carer wishes to stay in work or return to work and how to make this happen
  • Discuss and agree contingency plans for emergency situations or when the carer is unable to care because of ill health or other reason

Over the past year there has been a regional review of the Northern Ireland Single Assessment Tool (NISAT). Carers and staff from the Southern Trust area have been involved in developing the new version which became the standardised tool early in 2017. This tool incorporates a component which focuses on the needs of carers and this is now called the Carers Needs and Support Plan.

The new tool provides a holistic assessment of the support needs of carers to enable them to continue in their caring role. It is anticipated that there will be better outcomes for carers using the new approach. Carers will be provided with a copy of their support plan detailing what has been or what is to be put in place to assist them to maintain their caring role. It will also include contingency plans in the case of an emergency or if the carer is taken ill or is incapacitated.

It is vitally important that a carer has a Carers Assessment as this is the gateway to a range of other support services such as self -directed support, short breaks and carers cash grants.

Further information:

If you care for someone who is receiving health and social care services from the Trust and you have not been offered a Carers Assessment, contact their key worker, speak to your GP or contact the Trust’s Carer Coordinator at Tel: 028 3083 4252  Email:

Find out more in our Carer’s Assessment leaflet