Carers (Scotland) Act 2016: statutory guidance - updated July 2021

Statutory guidance for local authorities, health boards and integration authorities on effective implementation of the provisions of the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 (‘the Act’). It will also be of interest to other organisations working alongside statutory bodies to deliver carer support.

Annex D: Carer identification

1. Carer identification can be carried out by, amongst others:

  • health and social care and children's services professionals when carrying out assessments with cared-for persons;
  • health and social care professionals during anticipatory care planning;
  • health and social care professionals in hospital settings;
  • district nurse teams;
  • occupational therapists;
  • social care assistants;
  • GP Link Workers;
  • guidance and teaching staff in schools and staff in colleges and universities;
  • providers of care and support services;
  • housing staff;
  • third sector and independent organisations;
  • employers (including those who are Carer Positive[206]);
  • multilingual groups; and
  • outreach with gypsy traveller communities and by those working with Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities.

2. The potential barriers to carer identification include:

  • identifying with the term 'carer' – both because of confusion with care workers being referred to as carers and because they see themselves primarily as a 'mother', 'daughter' etc.;
  • the view that caring is a legitimate domain of family responsibility;
  • resisting access to support in order to protect a person's identity;
  • pride in self-sufficiency and a sense of shame in asking for, or being offered, support;
  • lack of family contact with social work departments;
  • fear of societal stigma if caring for someone with substance misuse or mental ill health;
  • self-management by people with long-term conditions but the caring role becomes more intense over time as people's health deteriorates;
  • with respect to young carers, fear of family break-up or being treated differently to friends who are not carers since young people like a group identity;
  • language barriers and lack of translation services, for example, there is no word for 'carer' in Punjabi and Urdu;
  • lack of training with some GPs and other healthcare professionals;
  • a need to fully consider the personal outcomes of the carer in the family dynamic; and
  • the visibility of services to support carers in some 'hard-to–reach' communities, such as in rural and remote areas and in BME communities.

3. Examples of good practice in identifying carers include:

  • link workers in GP and hospital settings;
  • employers with carer registers and websites on carers in employment;
  • sensitive young carer identification in schools via awareness raising, small group exercises and teacher training and continuous professional development with links to Getting it right for every child;
  • carer awareness raising in colleges and universities via carer campaigns and carer policies;
  • local publicity and communications; and
  • training of health and social care professionals.



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