Patients & Carers Information for patients and carers using our services
Patients & Carers
Help and support for carers
Who is a carer?
A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a family member or friend who, due to age, physical or mental illness, addiction or disability, cannot always manage on their own.
This includes parent carers as well as children and young people with caring responsibilities.
Involving you in your loved ones stay in hospital
We appreciate that families, friends and neighbours have an important role in meeting the care needs of many of our patients, both before they are admitted to hospital and after they have been discharged.
We want to make sure that, if you look after someone, you are involved during their stay in hospital, and in planning his or her discharge.
If you’re visiting hospital, please let one of the nursing staff know that you are a carer, and we will do all we can to support you, and the person you care for. Our wards have adopted a Carers Passport scheme which will improve identification, recognition and support for carers on our Inpatients Units, please ask the ward team.
Advance Care Planning
Advance Care Planning offers people the opportunity to discuss, think about and plan their future care and support, including medical treatment, while they have the capacity to do so. It is about making decisions about the care you would want to receive if you become unable to speak for yourself. Planning ahead can help an individual receive the care they want, and can also help to make things easier for partners and families when a family member is nearing the end of their life.
Not everyone will want to make an advance care plan, but it may be especially relevant for:
- People at risk of losing mental capacity – for example, through progressive illness.
- People whose mental capacity varies at different times – for example, through mental illness.
- Advance Care Planning (Marie Curie)
- Planning now for your future (Dementia UK)
- Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice(available from Office of the Public Guardian).
- Planning for your future care: a guide(NHS/University of Nottingham/National End of Life Care Programme. An information source for people considering advance care planning).
We will ask you if you are a young carer. If we don’t, please let us know.
We will advise you where to get help and support.
If you are not sure whether what you do for someone at home or in your family makes you a young carer, you could fill in this questionnaire. If you are a young carer, you will be entitled to support.
If you are a young carer and want to talk to someone, you can speak to any member of the ward team.
You can also contact Carer Support Wiltshire: 0800 181 4118
If you are a parent, or another adult with parental responsibilities, who cares for a child or young person who requires more care and support than other children or young people of the same age you are a Parent Carer and can access services and support.
Do you have children and also a caring role
Today more and more parents are combining looking after young children with caring for older or disabled loved ones. This is sometimes called ‘sandwich caring’ or ‘dual caring’ and those who fall under this category are usually referred to as ‘the sandwich generation.
Courage to Care is a service provided by Carer Support Wiltshire, designed specifically to help support Armed Forces personnel and their families in Wiltshire looking after someone who couldn’t manage without them. That could be an older parent with dementia, an autistic child or a partner with mental health issues.
You can access our services in several ways:
- Let your GP/medical centre know you are in a caring role and they can refer you to us
- Contact Carer Support Wiltshire
Our commitment to you
Please see what carers can expect from Wiltshire Health and Care’ Carers Charter and Memorandum of Understanding.
Working for carers accreditation demonstrates our commitment to creating a carer-aware workplace, to support those in a caring role within our own workforce.
Support for carers visiting our Hospitals
Please ask any member of our nursing staff about our Carers Passport, and they will be able to issue you with one.
The card provides access to a range of benefits including discounted parking and refreshments.
We support carers to have open access to visiting, and also to stay with patients who have enhanced needs and require extra support.
We hold Carer Cafés:
Chippenham Hospital, The Grapes Restaurant – Last Tuesday of the month 2pm – 3.30pm
Warminster Hospital, Longleat Ward Day Room – Last Wednesday of the month 2pm – 3.30pm
All are welcome to join us for a cup of tea and a chat.
There are Volunteers available to offer you any information or support which will help you in your caring role.
Carers Information Service
Our friendly team of volunteers visit the wards and outpatient departments to provide patients and carers with support, information and referral to Carer Services.
Support for carers who are admitted to hospital
If you are a carer and are admitted to hospital yourself, it is important that you make hospital staff aware of your caring responsibilities so that there will be support while you are in hospital and once you are discharged home.
Further help and support for carers
Looking after yourself
The role of a carer can be stressful and it is important to remember your own health needs. If you are worried about your health talk to your GP. Make sure you are registered as a carer at the GP practice.
The NHS Practical Guide to Healthy Caring may help you if you have caring responsibilities. It is written to be particularly relevant for those who are aged 65 years or older and are new to caring.
Carer Support Wiltshire also provides lots of guidance and can offer support for your caring role.
To ensure that hospital services are developed to support carers with their caring responsibility, we work in close partnership with Carer Support Wiltshire.
www.carersupportwiltshire.co.uk 0800 181 4118
This charity runs free services for carers across Wiltshire including:
- Advice and information on your caring role
- Drop-in/Virtual Support Groups and Carers Cafes
- Carers Emergency card
- Carers Assessment
- Carer activities and breaks
- Carer Newsletter
- Training and practical skills workshops to help you care
- Carer talk and support service
- Working Carers
Tell us about your experience
We are always striving to improve the support we give to carers while their family member or friend is in hospital.
The best way for us to do this is to ask carers themselves about their own experience.
We would therefore be very grateful if you would complete our online Carer Experience Questionnaire.
It should only take a few minutes, and the information is really important to us.
Wiltshire Health and Care is committed to improving the patient experience by listening to the public voice. We will do this in numerous ways including having a Lay representative on our Board. The delivery of our services will be informed and guided by our Public and Patient Advisory Group which will advise, challenge and inform delivery.
We welcome any feedback on how we are doing. You can do this by contacting our Patient Advice and Liaison Service.
Patient information leaflets
Further information is provided for patients in our patient information leaflets.