At Bourn Surgery we are looking to improve our identification and support of those of our patients who are also carers.
A carer is an individual, irrespective of age, who provides or supervises a substantial amount of care on a regular basis to someone (such as a relative, partner, friend or neighbour) who is unable to manage on their own. This can be due to a variety of factors such as illness, disability, frailty, mental distress, impairment or substance abuse. A carer can be a child looking after an older person or parent, or an older person looking after a disabled partner. The person being cared for may not be registered at Bourn Surgery.
A GP practice such as Bourn is likely to have a 10% carer rate; roughly 600 patients, and 2% of our practice population (about 120 patients) typically provide care for more than 50 hours per week. Carers have been shown to have higher rates of both physical and mental illness, as well as financial burdens.
If you feel that you are a carer, then we would really like to know. We are working with Caring Together, a charity (formally known as the Carer’s Trust) who provide services and help for carers and their families across Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk. They offer a wealth of advice and information for people who are carers, and have an informative website at www.caringtogether.org or can be contacted by ‘phone on 0345 241 0954.
Caring Together can offer support in a variety of ways, including:
- Adult carers can access respite breaks tailored to their needs, such as an hour per week for an appointment, or a day or weekend break for a special occasion.
- Caring Together offer emergency ‘What If’ planning in case of carer illness or accident. The carer is given a key fob to carry with them, and their details are registered with Caring Together. In the event of the carer having an accident or illness, Caring Together will contact the carer’s next of kin, and offer 24hrs free care for the cared-for person while a longer-term solution can be found. This service runs 24hrs/day and aims for a quick response.
- Caring Together can offer advice on Carer’s Assessments. The Carer’s Assessment process is run through the County Council, but the process can be arranged through Caring Together.
- Caring Together offer an Information and Advice line which any carers can call directly.
- Listening Ear is a Caring Together service run by volunteers who are all ex-carers.
At the Surgery we also offer annual Health Checks for carers, in order to better support this group of patients. Please speak to Reception and ask to book a Carer’s Health Check with a GP.
Carers are also entitled to ‘flu vaccination for free on the NHS.