Carers' information (GHPI1044)
This leaflet gives you information about the support available for you in your role as a carer/relative. It also provides you with details about the support services available for carers in Gloucestershire.
Supporting your relative/cared for person when in hospital
If your relative/cared for person has any patient-held community care records, please bring this into hospital and share this with us to enable us to know more about the needs of the person you care for. Please always ask that these be returned to you at discharge from hospital.
You should also bring in any assessment forms that you may have filled in such as the Hospital Traffic Light Assessment for patients with Learning Disabilities or the ‘This is me’ document for patients with dementia. Making sure the ward staff have this information before the hospital stay will help staff to prepare so they can meet the needs of the patient.
If you have not been able to complete the Hospital Traffic Light Assessment or the ‘This is me’ document before the person you care for hospital stay, a member of the hospital staff will be happy to help you.
The Hospital Traffic Light Assessment or ‘This is me’ document should stay at the patient’s bedside so that hospital staff caring for the patient can refer to it when they need to. Please encourage staff to look at these booklets.
In some cases, patients are assessed for their ‘mental capacity’ to make decisions about their care and treatment during their stay in hospital.
We offer open visiting so please visit the person you care for and be involved as often as you are able. Let the nurse in charge know if you would like to be involved in the plan of care when in hospital, for example, support at mealtimes, supporting outside of routine visiting hours or if you would like to stay.
If you have any legally appointed Lasting Power of Attorney for your relative/cared for person always let the hospital care team know. Please remember to bring a copy of this document and proof of your identity as this is legally necessary.
Privacy and dignity
Same sex accommodation is a national requirement for all hospitals. All adult patients are provided with same sex sleeping accommodation, toilet and washing facilities unless there are exceptional circumstances based on very specific needs.
When it is best for the patient that their carer stays with them staff must make sure that the privacy and dignity of all other patients is considered.
This might mean that the bed location in the bay is taken into account or the patient and their carer have use of a side room. However, a patient who needs a side room for isolation due to an infection takes priority over a patient with their carer.
It is often helpful for carers to be there with the patient during doctors’ ward rounds and at meetings with other healthcare staff. This is especially helpful with patients who may have difficulty understanding or communicating. The patient must be happy for their carer to be with them during these meetings. It is necessary for us to ask the person you care for to confirm that they are in agreement for you, their carer to be with them when in hospital and during meetings with the care team.
When ward rounds and conversations take place with other patients the carer may be asked to leave the area in respect of the other patients’ privacy.
Staying with the patient
The key role of a carer in hospital is to assist with communication and to help the care team staff and patient to get to know each other. This helps to reduce any fear and/or anxiety that the patient may have.
As a carer you will not be expected to give patient care unless it is safe to do so and you have the agreement of the person you care for and the care team. This will also be recorded in the patient’s records. Any care should be given in partnership with the ward staff as they are accountable for all care given to the patient while they are in hospital.
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is keen for carers, who wish, to stay with the patient as much as they need to. The staff understand if a carer is not able to stay for long periods due to other commitments.
Sometimes it is possible for carers to stay in the hospital overnight, but this can depend on the facilities and space available on the ward.
Carers may be offered a bed, a mattress or comfortable chair to sleep on; this will vary between wards.
Carers who stay with their cared for person while they are an inpatient on a ward will need to carry something called a ‘Carers Passport’. This will be given to the carer by ward staff or the Carers Hospital Liaison Officer. The Carers Passport shows staff that you are a carer and also gives you access to the following:
- Exemption from parking fees: the card will need to be authorised by the ward sister
- Drinks available on the wards
The carer’s passport must only be used by the carer while on the hospital premises.
Other useful information
Link Nurses/Link Workers
You should be aware that wards and department have Link Nurses or Link Workers who have an interest in a particular specialty. The specialties include areas such as Learning Disabilities, Dementia, Pain Management and Diabetes. Please speak to the nurse in charge of the ward for more information.
Learning Disability Liaison Nurses
There are two Learning Disability Liaison Nurses who work across Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General hospitals. They are experts in the care of patients with learning disabilities. They can also help patients with learning disabilities to prepare for coming into Hospital. The contact details are below:
- Learning Disability Liaison Nurses Tel: 0300 422 4953
- Tel: 0300 422 4985
This society provides information, education, advice, support and guidance for people living with dementia and for their family and carers. They also provide Gloucestershire’s Dementia Advisor Service, which gives information and advice on how to access services and support for people with a diagnosis of Dementia.
- Tel: 01452 525 222
- Tel: 0300 222 11 22 (National Helpline)
Carers Emergency Scheme
Gloucestershire County Council provides up to 48 hours of free replacement care service to carers who are registered on the Carers Emergency Scheme. If the carer is caught up in a crisis situation and is unable to care for the person they look after, the scheme makes sure that the person they care for is looked after in their absence. To register on the scheme or for more information, contact the Adult Helpdesk.
Gloucestershire County Council’s ‘Adult Helpdesk’, Customer Service Contact Centre
Block 4, Shire Hall
Tel: 01452 426868
Alternatively you can contact the Gloucestershire Carers Hub (details below).
The Hospital Liaison Officer
The Hospital Liaison Officer, who works within the hospital, can support carers with advice and information while the patient is in hospital and after discharge. They can be reached via the ward volunteers or Gloucestershire Carers Hub.
Carers may be given or receive in the post an information pack from Gloucestershire Carers Hub giving them details of the free services they provide.
This service is provided by People Plus to give support, advice and guidance to unpaid carers and offers carers assessments to those who may need one.
Gloucestershire Carers Hub Conway House
31 Worcester Street
Tel: 0300 111 9000
Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm
If you have any concerns or you wish to give feedback please contact:
Patient Advice and Liaison Service Ground Floor (opposite Pied Piper) Tower Block
Gloucestershire Royal Hospital Freephone: 0800 019 3282
This leaflet was produced with Ann Attwood, mum to Bruce, staff from the Learning Disability Steering Group and the Carers Strategy Group.