Information for carers

A carer is someone who, unpaid, provides help and support to a relative, friend or neighbour who could not manage without that help, due to frailty, long-term illness or disability.

As the population continues to expand and as people live longer, it is expected that the number of carers in Britain will grow by 5–9 million over the next 30 years (Carers UK 2007). There is increasing awareness of the contribution that informal/unpaid carers make in supporting people at home. This contribution is increasingly important as the percentage of the population that is older and dependent continues to increase. Recognising and supporting carers is therefore a fundamental activity. The needs of young carers are equally important to consider, as are those who have a lifelong caring role—for example those caring for people with learning disabilities.

The NHS has an important role to play in supporting carers. At the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, we want to ensure that:

  • Carers are recognised at the first point of contact and treated as key partners in the provision of care
  • The Trust works in partnership with carers, local authorities, the voluntary sector and others to provide information to carers as early as possible
  • Carers are informed of their potential right to an assessment of their support needs as carer under the Carers and Disabled Children's Act 2000
  • Carers are referred to sources of further advice, support and guidance, and information is provided in a range of formats as required, enabling carers to access information irrespective of their age, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion/faith, sexual orientation or other specific needs
  • Carers are informed of the process and procedures of hospital admission and discharge and are fully involved in the decisions taken at these key stages
  • Carers are equipped and supported to carry out effective caring, whether that is as an employee or as user of the Trust
  • Carer awareness is promoted among all levels of NHS staff, whether employed or contracted by the NHS

We have produced a leaflet which contains information for carers about how you can help us and where you can find support.

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