CAT Information

What is the Carers’ Alert Thermometer (CAT)?

The CAT is an evidence-based alert tool designed to identify and triage the needs of people who are providing support to a family member or friend at home as an unpaid carer. Originally developed for use with unpaid carers providing end of life care at home it is now being used with carers who are providing support to patients with a range of long-term and progressive conditions, as well as those receiving palliative and end of life care.

What does the CAT look like?

The CAT has 10 short questions that ask a carer whether they need any support across two main areas of caring; support needed to provide care and support needed for their own health and well-being. The CAT provides a clear visual guide to the current level of need as each question has a traffic light system to score the level of need for each of alerts as low (green), medium (amber), or high (red) and an image of a thermometer to mark the total number of alerts.

Who can use the CAT?

The CAT is simple to use and can be introduced by anyone who is involved in the care or providing support to the carer. Carers have told us they prefer for any discussion of their needs to be with someone whom they have a relationship with so the CAT is designed to be used by a range of people including health and social care practitioners and non-registered staff such as volunteers. The CAT is completed jointly by the carer and person who has introduced it to facilitate discussion and support the carer to prioritise any needs identified. Following this discussion an action plan for the prioritised alerts is agreed and a date set for the next review. A short video on how to use the CAT is available on the resources page once you have registered.

How can I access the CAT for use?

The CAT is copyright but is available for use, free of charge. To access the CAT and supporting materials please register on the website.

More information about the project and use of the CAT can be found on this website. Up-to-dates will also be posted regularly. We hope that you will enjoy finding out more about the study and the work of the EPRC team at Edge Hill University.

This website presents independent research commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme (Grant Reference Number PB-PG-0909-20188). The views expressed are those of the research team and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

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