Carers Support within
Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary
There are three 8 hour shifts in every day, when you’ve finished yours, Carers still have another 2 to do – or at least be on call for!
Who is looking after your patient once they leave your clinic or are discharged from your ward? Most of these people are going home to continued care from a family member. In some circumstances, the Carer is thrown in to a completely new situation, for example a husband discharged home from hospital after a stroke, a wifes cancer diagnosis or a young person going home to his parents after a serious car crash. Many issues are thrown into the pot –– ‘we live in a second floor flat’ – ‘how are we going to manage financially’? – ‘one of us will need to give up work and care for him’ and the list goes on. As we all settle into our new wards, departments and offices within the new build – ask yourself how you have coped with the change. You may have found the change exciting or even difficult to deal with but one thing remains the same for all of us………we all knew it was coming and had the time to prepare ourselves – unlike a Carer whose life can be changed forever after a chat with a Nurse or Consultant or a phone call from the Police.
A Project such as ours is designed to meet the needs of Carers who require up to date information, advice and support in order to continue to carry on caring in good health, fully informed and knowing where to go when the road gets a little bumpier and that we are there to support them throughout their whole caring journey.
As Carers Support Coordinators we ASK the Carer what matters to them, LISTEN to what matters to them and try our best to DO what matters to them. In order to carry this out we need referrals for Carers from hospital workers. Supporting Carers within the hospital should start from the cared for’s admission – a referral at discharge can mean vital support is missed during the hospital stay. ‘We define a Carer as anyone who provides support to a member of their family or a friend who is affected by a long term illness, disability, age related condition or addiction who couldn’t otherwise manage without their help’.
As all illnesses and disabilities are different, the Carers that are providing the care are different too. They can be young, middle aged or elderly, working as well as caring, retired and caring and all have their own story to tell which in some cases can affect their ability to care for a person. They can be husbands, wives, a daughter, a son, a grandchild, Mothers, Fathers, Aunts and Uncles and all have to juggle their lives whilst fitting in a caring role that they never anticipated. Every caring role is different, no two Carers are the same and no two caring situations are the same. It is everyone’s responsibility to recognise Carers – please do not assume that someone else has already referred them to our Project, we would rather receive two referrals than none at all.
The issues we are presented with as Carers Support Coordinators may seem unimportant to some, but to a Carer they are vitally important. Here are a few scenarios’ that come to us during a typical day………….
- An NHS staff member, Mr White approached us whose daughter with special needs required extra support during her morning routine. He asked us how he should go about asking his line manager for flexibility at work in order to meet both his and his daughter’s needs. We gave him Carers in employment information and offered support at any meetings with his line manager or HR should they arise. We referred to Community Social Work and registered Mr White as a Carer with our Carers Centre service. He then accessed an Adult Carers Support Plan which identified how he was coping with is caring role for his daughter and the areas in which he needed support with.
- Mr Brown was signposted to us from a nurse in a ward as his son was having difficulties due to housing issues because of his paralysis and wheelchair use. His grandson was also identified as a Young Carer and referred to our Young Carers Project. We identified funding for travel to and from hospital for him to bring his grandson to visit his Father as he did not drive. We referred on to the Advocacy Service, FIAT, Capability Scotland and liaised with his son’s Community Social Worker. Mr Brown continues to be supported in the community by a Carers Support Worker and has had an Adult Carer Support Plan carried out.
- Mr Green is already registered with the Carers Centre as a Carer for his wife, he got in touch because he had asked a ward staff member to contact the Spiritual Lead – Dawn Allan and this had not been done. Mr Green was understandably anxious as he had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and being a minister himself he wanted to speak with a likeminded person. We got in touch with Dawn and Mr Green was delighted to have spent some time with her as was Dawn.
- Spent an hour with a male Carer whose wife had been diagnosed 2 years previously with a brain tumour and was nearing the end of her life. He appreciated having someone to ‘vent’ to and said that someone taking the time to listen to him was worth its weight in gold.
- We went up to a ward to visit a registered Carer with our service who has been in hospital for most of the year and back and forward to Edinburgh for further treatment. The Carer lives some distance from DGRI and doesn’t have many visitors. His wife has mental health problems and his community Carers Support Worker has been checking that she is ok so that we can relay this information back to the Carer and alleviate any worries that he may have about being away from her for so long.
- A member of NHS staff emailed us to ask what benefits they would be entitled to should they give up work to care for their elderly Father. They were finding the working/caring role too demanding and felt that something had to give. They registered with our service and we referred them to the FIAT team to discuss their financial situation further. The NHS member of staff gave up work but prior to this applied for a short break away through our ‘Time to Live’ fund as they hadn’t had a break from caring for over 3 years.
- Senior member of NHS staff approached us to ask what support someone they line manage could receive from our service if they registered with us. They were worried about their staff member coping with such a heavy caring role and they had noticed how tired and withdrawn they had become. The staff member agreed to a referral to us and now there is support from community care services going into her family members house hold which has alleviated a huge amount of stress and guilt from the staff member and her work performance has risen due to feeling more supported from her Manager and the Carers Centre.
- A Carer came to us in distress due to their elderly Mother not accepting support upon discharge. We liaised with staff on the ward to support them in discussions with the family and advised around other local support which can be accessed. The staff were appreciative of our input in a difficult situation and the Carer continued to receive support from the Carers Centre after her Mothers discharge home.
We are happy to be invited to attend huddles or MDT meetings. This has proven beneficial in the past in identifying Carer referrals. The Communications Team has/ will be sent out our newest referral form, please save this to your desk top computers and if any of the above sound familiar to you or you come across someone who you feel would benefit from accessing our service; you can refer them to us.
For further information, please visit our Carers Centre website here
Please like our Facebook page here
Find our referral form here please save it to your desk top for future use.
Lindsay Sim & Jennifer Cranmer
Carers Support Coordinators
Hospital Carers Support Project
Support & Advice Centre
(behind ‘Cashiers Office’ in main atrium)
t: 01387 241384
Tuesday & Wednesday 11am-4pm