Carer Needs Tool

Most people who have a life limiting condition want to remain at home, and die there, if possible. Family members or friends often take on a carer role, providing practical and emotional support. 

However, caring can affect your health and well-being. Carers need to take care of themselves, as well as the person they love.

As a carer, you will have various needs - for information and training, for support, or for respite (taking a break). And, these needs can change over time. Identifying your needs as a carer is useful. It can prompt you to seek relevant information or to reach out to your GP or other health professional for support. To help you work out what your needs are as a carer in the following we present two tools. Which one is right for you will depend on whether the person you care for has cancer or has a chronic condition that is not cancer.

About the Needs Assessment Tools:

NAT-C for carers of people with cancer

A group of researchers looked at the most common issues that affect carers supporting someone with cancer. They developed and tested a form that carers could use to help them pinpoint their particular needs. The carers on the study found the form very useful. 

The form is called the Needs Assessment Tool for Carers, or NAT-C. [1] This tool is now available for any carer to use.

NAT-CC for carers of people with non-cancer chronic conditions

NAT-CC was developed by adapting NAT-C to the needs of carers of people with non-cancer chronic conditions such as dementia, advanced heart, kidney, and lung disease. It is very similar to the NAT-C and will help you to identify your needs as a carer of someone with advanced illness.

Using the NAT-C and the NAT-CC

Step 1: Assess your needs

The NAT-C and NAT-CC forms help you identify your needs by marking what issues you have. It also prompts you to determine how concerning they are. You can highlight issues that you would like to discuss with your GP, or another health provider such as a community nurse. You can view or print the forms below. Forms can be printed to fill out later by hand or details can be entered online before printing with your information included. Note - you may need to download Adobe Reader to fill in this form.


Step 2: Useful resources

As you filled out the form, you might have identified that you need further information. This list of CareSearch pages can be used to find relevant information and resources.

Step 3: Talk to your health team

Take the NAT-C or NAT-CC with you when you next talk to your GP or another health professional. This will help you to focus on your concerns.

You may also find as you use the form that you need more than just information. You may need support or someone to talk to. If you have worrying concerns, you should make a time to talk to your GP or other health professionals who are helping to provide care.


The CareSearch website only provides general palliative care information. It is not intended to replace the care or advice of your own health professionals. 

  • If it is an emergency, dial 000 for immediate emergency services help
  • Ring your GP or hospital
  • There is an After Hours GP Helpline
  • Ring Lifeline on 13 11 14

Further information about the Carer and GP study

Last updated 06 January 2020

  1. Mitchell GK, Girgis A, Jiwa M, Sibbritt D, Burridge LH, Senior HE. Providing general practice needs-based care for carers of people with advanced cancer: a randomised controlled trial. Br J Gen Pract. 2013; 63(615):e683-e690.

Last updated 25 October 2019