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Caring after brain injury: Your rights

Wed 25 Nov 2020

Carers Rights Day takes place on 26 November and we want to ensure that the incredible carers of brain injury survivors up and down the country are aware of their rights when providing such selfless and dedicated care.

Brain injury is a complex and life-changing condition. People who take on a caring role after brain injury often experience significant and profound changes in their own lives as well. Many either choose to or are compelled to give up working to provide full or part-time care, the financial and social consequences of which can be challenging.

Here we share some of the key things to consider about your entitlements as a carer.

Carers assessment

Your local authority can arrange a carers assessment in order to identify what impact caring is having on your life and what support you may get to make it easier to manage. While these assessments are usually conducted face-to-face, this is currently on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. Further information on carers assessments, including the most up-to-date guidance is available on the NHS website.


If you need a short break from caring, you could be entitled to respite care. This is where the person being cared for (the brain injury survivor in this case) is cared for by someone else while you take a break, ranging from a few hours to a few days. Respite care is arranged through having a carers assessment as described above. Your local Headway group or branch may also be able to help, by providing a place for your loved one to go and dedicated carer support groups. 

Speak to your GP

The Royal College of General Practitioners estimated in 2014 that around 12% of adults in the UK are carers and so every GP will come into contact with carers every day of the week; therefore, GPs should be experienced in offering carers appropriate support. This could be in the form of referrals to services that help with the psychological impact of caring such as cognitive behavioural therapy or counselling.

Carers Allowance

Explore your eligibility to Carer’s Allowance. This is a benefit that can be accessed by carers providing care for at least 35 hours a week. There are other eligibility criteria to consider such as whether the brain injury survivor is in receipt of certain benefits. Further information is available on You can still claim Carer’s Allowance if you are providing care remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, including if you are giving emotional support over the phone or online to a brain injury survivor.

In hospital

If the person you are caring for is still in hospital and you need information or support regarding their hospital care, consider contacting the Patient Advice Liaison Service. Most hospitals have one, details of which will be available from reception. You may also wish to seek support from the hospital chaplaincy or other sources of religious guidance.

Consider your employment

If your caring duties are having an impact on your employment and you want to get advice on the situation, consider contacting Citizens Advice or ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service).

Find support 

Get support to learn more about your rights as a carer. You can contact our nurse-led Headway helpline on 0808 800 2244 or or find out what carer specific support your local Headway group or branch can offer. Other organisations and services that can be helpful are Carers UK, NHS Carers Direct, Citizens Advice, Carers Trust and Carers Federation. Many local Headway groups and branches also offer dedicated carer support groups and can give advice on your rights. 

For more information about Carers Rights Day on the Carers UK’s website.

Explore the links below for more information about caring for someone after brain injury. 


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