The practice keeps a record of all known carers, as well as those being cared for. It is important that the practice team recognises the role that carers play in co-coordinating the care and support required by dependent patients. Carers should be actively involved in discussions of treatment and expected outcomes; together with the recognition of the impact caring has on them as an individual.
The practice carers' lead is Claire Gregory.
Definition of a carer
“A carer is someone, who without payment, regularly helps a disabled, mentally or physically ill or frail relative, friend or neighbour.” (Help and Care)
The practice aims to identify all carers within the practice:
- to ensure that carer and caree have their physical and mental needs assessed by a health care professional
- to ensure that a suitable social services assessment and referral has been carried out
- to give guidance and support by signposting or referring to appropriate support agencies as needed
- to identify to the carer who the carer’s nurse lead is within the practice and how to contact them if required
Identification of carers
Carers can be identified from numerous sources including conditions which may indicate the need for a carer, repeat prescriptions, identification during routine consultations and home visits, new patient health questionnaires, applications concerning disability allowance, hospital discharge summaries, primary health care team meetings and advertising within the practice.
A young carer is someone aged 18 or under who helps to look after a relative who has a disability, illness, mental health condition, or drug or alcohol problem . The majority of young carers look after one of their parents or care for a brother or sister. They do jobs in and around the home, such as cooking, cleaning, or helping someone to get dressed and move around. Young carers under 16 can ask social services for a carer’s assessment whenever the person they are looking after is having an assessment of their own, or they can ask social services for a carer’s assessment whenever they like.
Once a carer is identified, written consent must be obtained for this detail to be recorded. The consent of the person cared for should also be sought in order to share clinical information with the carer. When identified, the appropriate codes will be input into the patient's and carer's computer records.
Having identified a carer, it is most important they are offered referral to the various support agencies available, e.g. social services for statutory assessment of their needs and respite care, or for further information, the national strategy for carers and local carers' support groups.