Information for carers
If you look after someone of any age and provide unpaid support to family or friends who could not manage without your help, then you are a carer.
Anyone can become a carer. Carers come from all walks of life, all cultures and can be of any age. If you are a carer, you probably feel that you are doing what anyone else would in the same situation; looking after your mother, son, or best friend and just getting on with it.
The position of ‘carer’ is not one that many apply for. Yet anyone can find themselves unexpectedly in this position – more than three in five of us will at some point find ourselves in such a role. In fact there are around six million carers in the UK who provide unpaid care and support to ill, frail or disabled friends or family members. Many carers are hidden, including very young people who care for parents and siblings.
Our commitment to you
We understand that families, friends and neighbours have an important role in meeting the care needs of many patients, both before admission to hospital and following discharge. We want to promote the health and independence of carers, by involving them during the patient’s stay in hospital, and planning his or her discharge home. We have developed a Carer's Strategy which demonstrates our commitment to supporting the needs of carers. We have carer representatives who sit on several of our groups/ committees in the Trust. These groups/ committees inform decisions made at a strategic level.
If you are a carer and have to come into hospital it is important that you make hospital staff aware of your caring responsibilities. They will explain where carers can go to receive appropriate advice and support.
We have a Carers Gloucestershire Hospital Liaison Officer, based on our wards full time, who can provide support and advice for carers of patients on our wards.
To contact the liaison officer, please call The Gloucestershire Carers Hub on 0300 111 9000 or speak to a member of staff on the ward.
Alternatively, if you feel your voice is not being heard, please contact our PALS team on 0800 019 3282 (freephone).
If you are the MAIN Carer for your relative or friend you may be eligible for a Carers Passport while they are a patient in our hospital. During your relative/ friends stay you may wish to help with aspects of their care. This may include:
- Physical care i.e. personal hygiene including mouth care, help with dressing, help with eating
- Emotional/ psychological care i.e. giving reassurance, orientating to time and place, explaining planned care and treatments
- Social Support i.e. reading to them , helping them with communication
To acknowledge your help and support the Carers Passport gives you access to the following:
- access to drinks while on ward
- access to toilet and washing facilities on ward
- access to appropriate car parking concessions
- access to your relative /friend outside of normal visiting hours
Please talk to the ward staff if you would like to know more about the Carers Passport.
To help carers find out what support is available to them and the person they care for, both during and after a hospital admission, we are working in partnership with the Gloucestershire Carers Hub to offer help and information.
Patients with dementia
Our Trust is committed to promoting a positive care experience for our patients with a diagnosis of Dementia and also for those who present with symptoms of memory loss and altered cognitive abilities.
- Download a This is Me document - this very useful document is for patients or carers to fill in and enables our staff to learn about the patient and make relevant adjustments to their care
- We support John's Campaign, an initiative which allows carers to stay overnight with their loved ones while they are in hospital. Please speak to a senior member of the nursing team on your ward for more information
- We also have a strategy sets out our pledges regarding the care of patients with dementia
- Carers may also find our Patient Diary helpful. 'My Hospital Diary' is a resource for sharing informal news between our patients, their families and our staff. It is for patients who may require extra support, in response to aspects of their individual care needs during their stay in hospital. Read the Patient Diary leaflet.
Find resources about memory problems and dementia on the Gloucestershire Health and Care website.
Patients with learning disabilities
One of our commitments is to ensure that all our patients get excellent care and treatment. Adults and children with learning disabilities, especially those with moderate to severe disability, often have more health problems than other people.
Patients with learning disabilities may need special consideration to ensure they receive the care and treatment which meets their specific needs and maintains their safety. Preparation is crucial in supporting people with learning disabilities; whether carrying out examinations, investigations, treatment or supporting an admission onto a ward. We may be able to make adjustments to ensure that the journey into hospital goes more smoothly, for example through pre-visits or by arranging appointments that will minimise waiting.
- Our Learning Disability Liaison nurses Carol Forbes and Bev Farrar can be contacted for help and advice. They help support adults and children, their carers and family who have a learning disability. Bev and Carol also work with hospital staff to help them understand how best to support and care for people who have a learning disability.
Tel: 0300 422 4953/4985 Mon-Fri 9-5
- It is also very helpful for the health passport to be filled in. Use the Health Passport that you can print and then write into and bring with you when you come to hospital.
- Staff and patients can search for easy read patient information leaflets on our website.
Do you help care for and/or take on responsibilities at home for someone in your family who is disabled or has been ill for a long time? This may be your mum, dad, brother, sister or another member of your family. If you do then you are a young carer. It is estimated there are more than 7,000 young carers in Gloucestershire between the ages of 5 and 24.
Please let the hospital team looking after your family member know that you are a young carer. We can then make sure that we put things in place to help.
Some of the things that other young carers have said would help them when someone is in hospital include:
- Being given information about any medications that your family member may need to take when they get home
- Having a named contact in the hospital who knows about you
- That hospital staff understand that you are one of the people who know most about your family members care
- Being included in conversations about your family members discharge home
- Explaining medical information in ways that you can understand
Read our handbook for Young Carers