Carers are people who, without payment, provide help and support to a family member or a friend who may not be able to manage without this help because of frailty, illness or disability. Carers can be adults caring for other adults, parents caring for ill or disabled children or young people who care for another family member.
One of the Department’s key objectives is to support people to live independent lives safely in the community and carers enable many thousands of vulnerable people to do this. It is therefore vital that carers are supported in their caring role so they can continue to care for as long as they wish and are able to do so.
In recognition of this, the Department published a strategy for carers in January 2006. “Caring for Carers” was the product of an extensive period of consultation with carers and their representative organisations. The strategy deals with a range of issues including health and personal social services, employment, training, education, information and support services. It is an ongoing piece of work designed to recognise, value and support the role of carers.
As well as practical guidance for the Health and Social Care staff the Department has produced an A - Z guide for carers in Northern Ireland. This provides advice on who and where to contact for information, support and services relevant to carers. This and other guidance can be found on this website.
The Legislation places a responsibility on Health and Social Care Trusts to inform carers of their right to an assessment of their needs and gives Trusts the power to supply services directly to carers to help them in their caring role.  Each Trust in Northern Ireland has a nominated carers’ coordinator whose contact details are also available on this website.

Carers Guidance

  • Circular HSS (ECCU) 3/2010 - Carers & Discharge Guidance (PDF 347KB)
    Guidance reminding Trusts of their obligations with respect to services for carers, and drawing together all of the published recommendations and requirements for delivery of the discharge process.  The guidance has been developed in 3 parts; and the documents are attached to this circular. (Published September 2010)
    • A Guide for Carers - See Appendix 1
    • A Practical Guide for Staff - See Appendix 2
    • A Guide for Managers and Policy Makers- See Appendix 3
  • Guidance for Certifiers - Carer's Credit Regulations (PDF 32KB)
    A Care Certificate is required when an application is made for Carer’s Credit but the person(s) being cared for is not in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits.  These are the middle or highest rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance or any rate of Attendance Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance.  (Published April 2010)
  • Revised A-Z for Carers (PDF 1.8MB)
    This is a guide for informal carers in Northern Ireland.  It provides advice on who and where to contact for information, support and services relevant to carers  (Revised version published March 2010)
  • Review of the support provision for carers (PDF 474KB)
    This report contains the findings of the review of support provision for carers undertaken by the Department for Social Development and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety. The purpose of the review was to examine the support for carers following on from the review of the National Carers’ Strategy in Britain. (Published September 2009)
  • NISAT Carer's Assessment Component - Report of NHSCT Pilot (PDF 767KB)
    The Northern HSC Trust undertook an extensive pilot to test the applicability of the carer's assessment component of the Northern Ireland Single Assessment Tool (NISAT) across all programmes of care. (Completed April 2009)
           UPDATE to Appendix A (September 2010) - Updated list of Board members (PDF 10KB)
  • Carers Strategy Press Release (PDF 24KB)
    Press Release announcing the publication of the Carer's Strategy

HSC Trust Carer Co-ordinators


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