A carer is someone who provides help and support to a partner, child, relative, friend or neighbour who could not manage without their help. This could be due to age, physical or mental illness, disability or addiction. A carer may be an adult, a child or a young person. Carers will be of all ages and situations; many balance their caring role with work, training and child care; many care for someone who does not live in the same house and may travel some distance to care.
North Bristol NHS Trust and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust have a carers charter that promotes a culture that recognises the vital role carers play within our hospitals. Download the Carers Charter PDF.
When someone you care for has to go into hospital it can be a worrying and stressful time. At North Bristol NHS Trust we are committed to working with carers as Partners in Care to ensure their needs are met whilst they support someone who is in hospital.
We recognise that carers are essential to the well being and recovery of patients, and that their needs must be respected if they are to maintain this role. Carers will have individual circumstances and variable skills that need to be taken account of when planning patient care. Please discuss your individual situation with the ward staff.
A Carer Liaison & Development Worker is based at Southmead Hospital Bristol and can:
- Provide help, support and advice to carers through their hospital journey as a carer and/or patient, working directly on hospital wards and signposting to other services for support
- Liaise between the discharge team, ward staff and carers and their family, to help with any concerns or worries
If you need any advice or require support on another ward, please contact Hannah Brittain on 07917 880375 or Jamie de Carvalho on 07557 418692, who will be able to offer advice or signpost you to another service. For further information, visit www.carerssupportcentre.org.uk.
NBT Carer Support Scheme
The Carer Support Scheme has been developed for carers who are willing to continue to support a patient whilst they are in hospital with tasks such as washing, dressing, assisting with feeding, supporting them at night. It for those carers who are supporting the patient for significant periods of time whilst they are an inpatient.
- The Carer Sticker is issued daily to the carer by the ward and will provide them with a discount at the on site restaurants. Each day the carer is given a new sticker as this provides an opportunity for the care and ward staff to discuss any issues.
- The Carer Conversation record is designed to capture the initial conversation between ward staff and the carer to ensure that everyone is clear about their role whilst the patient is in hospital. The record is put into the patient’s notes to aid communication between different teams of staff and the carer.
- Discounted parking will be offered if a carer is supporting the patient for longer than 2 hours. The Nurse in charge of the ward should complete the Parking Letter which the carer then presents to the Travel and parking Office at Southmead Hospital Bristol.
Patient Information and Consent
As a Carer of someone who is in hospital, you may need information about the person you care for, and staff may want to speak to you to gather information about the person whom you care for. However, the law makes it very clear that social services and healthcare authorities have a duty to protect an individual’s confidentiality. Staff will seek the patient’s consent before discussing any information with a Carer. If the person is unable to consent, then the Mental Capacity Act will be followed.
Mental Capacity Act (2005)
The Mental Capacity Act (2005) is a process of what to do when someone lacks capacity to make decisions for themselves. It covers anyone over the age of 16. It is in place because legally, no one can give consent for another adult, even if you are a family member.
If you care for someone who does not have capacity, there is a legal obligation that you are consulted about any decision that needs to be made, and that you are part of any best interest meeting that is held. Your opinion about any decision that needs to be made is valued, and will be taken into account when considering what action to take.
Find out more iabout the Mental Capacity Act for Carers.
If you are a Carer you should be given an opportunity to talk about your needs and what help you may need to look after the patient after they are discharged from hospital. It is your legal right to have your needs addressed and this is achieved by having a Carers Assessment. Find out more information about Carers Assessments.
Carers Emergency Card
The Carers’ Emergency Card is carried by carers at all times. In the event they are involved in a crisis, the telephone number on the front of the card can be called. The call is taken by an Emergency Response team who then ensure the 'cared for' person continues to receive the care they need.
The Carers Support Centre can provide information on Applying for a Carers Card.
For further information download Information for Carers PDF.
Read our newsletter: