Healthcare professionals are sometimes so focussed on the patient, they simply do not ‘see’ their Carer. It is vital that Carers, the person supporting the patient, is identified and supported. Often Carers themselves do not see themselves as being a Carer and sometimes gradually fall into this role. By identifying Carers as soon as possible, support for them can be implemented to ensure that Carers do not burn out which is then detrimental to their health and in turn to the detriment of the cared for’s health.
It is important that Carers are recognised and supported in health settings such as GP surgeries and hospitals.
If pharmacies, paramedics, GPs, receptionists at doctors’ surgeries, consultants, nurses and any other healthcare professionals are Carer aware, they can help Carers to recognise themselves as a Carer and signpost them to support. Carers can be referred to the local Carer Support Service and encouraged to register as a Carer with their GP
How does registering with a GP as a Carer help?
Once Carers inform their GP of their caring responsibilities, this will then be recorded on their medical records. Many GP surgeries have a form on their website so Carers can make this registration themselves.
If GP knows that someone is a Carer, they should be able to offer more support, information and advice such as:
- Your practice may facilitate a Carer Support Group within the practice that you can signpost them to
- Arranging repeat prescriptions
- Arranging double appointments for the Carer and the cared for
- Inform Carers of services provided by the NHS such as continence services and patient transport to hospital appointments/ Carer coordinator service
- Arranging home visits
Inviting them to their free annual flu vaccination
- Providing supporting letters and information to enable Carers and the person they care for to access benefits such as Attendance Allowance or a blue badge scheme.
Recognising Carers in Hospital
Some hospitals have specific staff who’s role it is to identify and recognise hospital visitors who are Carers. They can approach the Carer and ask if they would like to be involved with providing care and ensure that they have access to all that they need. Some hospitals issue a Partner in Care Card or a Carer’s Passport so that Carers are easily identifiable. Carers can be an invaluable source of information as they will know all of the ‘patient’s’ wants and needs the best.
How can Healthcare Settings Become Carer Aware?
Forward Carers works in partnership with RightTrack Learning to deliver Carer Aware training, you can find out more here. University Hospitals Birmingham received our Carer Aware training and went on to achieve our Carer Friendly Employer Commitment Mark. Read all about University Hospital’s achievements.