‘There are only four types of people in the world…….those who have been Carers, those who are currently Carers, those who will be Carers and those who will need Carers.’
In this current climate of integration, it would bode us well to remember the above statement. Dumfries & Galloway Carers Centre has historically always promoted and encouraged partnership working but now it’s something that we have all been directed to achieve together under the Scottish Government Health & Social Care Integration Policy.
Are you letting your patients and their Carers know about the services that you yourself may need someday or are you assuming that someone else has done it? Don’t you want to be the person who lets a Carer know about the services they could access so that it can make a huge difference to their life? In order to give the Carer the smoothest journey throughout their caring role (which is likely to be us all at some point in our lives) we need to be aware of the issues Carers face and try and work together to make their journey have as smooth a road as possible.
If a referral is made to the Hospital Carers Support Project at the very beginning of a Carers journey, for example a stroke diagnosis, a cancer diagnosis, newborn baby with a disability, long term condition, brain haemorrhage (and the list goes on) it has been proven that the Carer feels supported, listened to and most importantly identified as a Carer who needs supported throughout their journey. Early intervention can mean a lesser impact of a caring role upon someone’s life with the correct support.
Carers have vital information to offer health professionals about the person they care for; they know the person inside out so this is more than beneficial to the professional involved as the Carer has firsthand knowledge on how the person they care for functions on a daily basis. Carers need advice on how to cope in the future, need help to access different services or simply want to know about progress and the outlook for the future. The advantage of sharing information with Carers is crucial in acknowledging the important role they carry out.
Carers have a large part to play in helping their cared for recover and ensuring their continued health. To do this, Carers need access to the right level of information. The Hospital Carers Support Project’s Coordinators frequently speak with Carers reporting that they feel cut off from the care of an individual to whom they have provided considerable support. The Carer is continuing to duplicate the care you administered once they get home after discharge. The Carer continuing what you have been doing in the hospital is vital in preventing re-admission. Many Carers also discover our Project for themselves by chance and tell us that no-one directed them to our service for support.
Why is it, when we have so much good policy and practice to help us support Carers through their journey, that some Carers still feel unrecognised and state that they feel they are not treated as partners? Identifying and referring a Carer to the Hospital Carers Support Project early on in their caring role means the Carer can access the following support….
- Instant access to support whilst their cared for person is still in hospital
- Information and advice
- A listening ear
- Assistance to have a voice in their cared for person’s discharge from hospital
- Benefits advice
- Training and education
- Access to address their own health and wellbeing
- Accessing a Carers Support Plan which looks at their caring role now and plans for the future
- Funding and grants to access a break from their caring role
- Activities and groups where they can meet up with other Carers
- Access to counselling
If Carers and the people they support are informed, involved and supported throughout their caring journey, the likelihood of good outcomes rises, risk of re-admission falls and the financial and emotional costs this incurs can be avoided. Thinking about all the other services out there that are available to Carers is vital in giving the Carer the support they need. Don’t wait until you are a Carer yourself before realising that it can be a difficult, isolating, heavily impacting and frustrating role before remembering all the people you could have pointed in the right direction.
Did you know that the Hospital Carers Support Project, part of the wider Dumfries & Galloway Carers Centre has been based within Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary for the last 14 years? We have supported over 1500 Carers with issues ranging from debt management, housing problems, applying for funding, arranging counselling; applying for benefits, accompanying a Carer to a hospice with their terminally ill child, liaising with ward staff, sorting out accommodation, listening when no-one else has, the list is endless. There is no problem that we won’t at least try and find out the answer to when trying to make the Carers journey more seamless but to achieve this we just need you to let us know who we can help……….
If we all work together – it will all come together.
Lindsay Sim & Sharron McGonigle
Hospital Carers Support Coordinators
Hospital Carers Support Project (part of the wider Dumfries & Galloway Carers Centre)
Support & Advice Centre
Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary
Tel: 01387 241384 #33384