A new system to identify, recognise and support carers accompanying patients in Walsall Manor Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) has been launched.
The Family and Carers Support Service at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust has already been running a “Partners in Care” initiative across various wards and units. This aims to ensure carers are recognised and supported to continue their role as and how they wish.
Now, the focus will be on establishing a new referral process in ED to identify carers at the earliest opportunity as so many come into contact with healthcare services.
Andrew Rice, Patient Experience and Voluntary Services Manager, said: “Our Trust has made a commitment to carers that starts with the early identification of someone with caring responsibilities.
“Many people don’t actually see themselves as carers – often they see the support they give as an extension of their role in a family or being a good neighbour or friend. The term carer may not mean anything to them.
“And for many carers, the NHS plays a large part in the life of the person they look after. For some, that first contact will come via ED which is why we want to ensure this is recognised and our staff can make them aware of relevant support and information to maintain their own health and wellbeing.”
In the UK, unpaid carers provide £528 million of care per day according to Carers UK. In Walsall, 10.5% of Walsall residents provide 19 plus hours of care each week according to the latest Census.
Zoe Christoffersen, Family and Carers’ Support Officer, added: “A lot of people who carry out a caring role will often say “It’s just something I do” or “We just get on with it.”
“But we’re here to make them aware of the importance of looking after themselves too. Caring for someone, particularly someone with health needs, can be tiring, challenging and worrying and can take its toll on the carer who may not know where to turn.
“Carers are valued by Walsall Healthcare – their knowledge of, and relationship with, a patient is vital information to our staff who are treating them. By identifying carers who come into ED our service can provide them with details of the support available to them and signpost them to other organisations that may benefit their situation.”