Information for Carers
Do you look after someone?
Do you help and support a partner, relative, child or friend who could not manage without your help due to physical or mental illness, disability, frailty or addiction?
If so you may be a carer
- Anyone can become a carer at any age, children, parents, daughters, sons, spouses, partners; caring sometimes just happens to you;
- Many people don’t think of themselves as carers;
- You may be a carer whether or not you live in the same house as the person you care for or even if that person lives in a residential or nursing home.
People paid to care like care workers are not included in this definition of carers.
If you are a carer, please consider the following actions to help maintain your health and wellbeing.
1. Look after your own Health – Tell your GP you are a Carer!
It’s important to look after your own health so that you can go on caring for as long as you want to. It is easy not to look after your own health when you are looking after someone else.
- We would like to help you to stay as fit and healthy as possible.
- We offer carers a free flu vaccination each Autumn
- We keep a register of carers who are our patients so that we can provide you with information about organisations that may be able to help
You can register yourself as a carer with the practice by completing and returning a carer consent form to reception. You can also ask at reception for help with registering yourself as a carer with the practice or discuss it with your doctor / nurse.
We also have a Carer's Information Pack available from our reception, or find out more here:
2. Carry the Carers Emergency Card:
The Carers Emergency Card is a free service that can provide up to 72 hours of emergency support to the person cared for in the event of their carer having an accident or emergency.
Carers carry a card which shows their name and a unique identification number. If they have an accident or are taken seriously ill, anyone who finds them can call the emergency phone number on the front of the card. The emergency response team will then react to ensure the person cared for continues to receive the care they need.
The only information held on the card is an emergency telephone number and your Carer PIN Number; it carries no other personal information about you or the person you care for. If the person you care for pays Council Tax in Bristol call Care Direct to order your card on: 0117 922 2700 or visit the Bristol City Council website.
3. Tell Social Services you are a Carer
You may also need practical support to care, someone to sit with or give care to the person you care for while you go out, equipment to help you to lift or move the person you care for or information about local carers and other support organisations.
The best place to start looking for help is your local social services department. In Bristol, social services for adults is called Adult Health and Social Care; you can contact them on Care Direct, 0117 922 2700; visit the Bristol City Council website. For Children’s’ Services in Bristol, telephone 0117 922 2000. Adult Health and Social Care will usually assess the person you care for to see what help he/she might be eligible to receive. Carers who frequently provide help to the person they look after are also entitled to an assessment, called a Carer's Assessment.
What sort of help can social services give?
Services for the person you can for could include:
- Personal care, like help to get washed and dressed in the morning
- sitting services to enable you to leave the house for a few hours
- breaks for the person you care for (also called 'respite care')
- practical help such as help with cleaning, laundry or gardening
- aids and equipment
- adaptations to your home
- telecare alram systems
- meals delivered on a daily basis
Services for carers could include:
- practical help at home such as help with housework or gardening
- help with taxi fares and other travel
- counselling / alternative therapies to deal with emotional issues and stress
- information about local support groups for carers
- vouchers to enable carers to take a break from caring
4. Are you missing out on any money you are entitled to?
The benefits system is complicated; finding out what you and the person you care for are entitled to can be difficult. For information or advice call CarersLine on 0117 965 2200.
5. Contact your local Carers’ Support Centre
The Carers’ Support Centre is a local charitable organisation that can:
- provide you with information, advice and advocacy on any aspect of caring and local support services that might be useful;
- put you in touch with other organisations that offer specialist support;
- provide a range of services such as support with Carers assessments and help to get breaks from caring and holidays.
For information, advice or just an understanding, listening ear call the Carers’ Support Centre confidentially: CarersLine 0117 9652200
6. Tell People at Work you are a Carer
Juggling work and looking after someone can be difficult. Telling your employer or manager that you are caring for someone may also be difficult but,
- you have the legal right to request flexible working to help you balance caring and work responsibilities; your employer has to seriously consider this request.
- you also have the right to time off in an emergency to care for someone.
It is at the employer’s discretion whether such leave is paid or unpaid.
7. Talk to Someone about how being a Carer affects you
Many carers find it useful to be able to ‘off load’ the stresses and strains that caring can bring. It is important to be aware of the impact caring can have on you and your own health. Talking about this whether to a professional person, family member or friend can be a help in itself or can be the first step to getting the support that you need.
The Carers Support Centre provides specialist counselling and telephone befriending services and carers’ groups that meet regularly to share practical ideas, support and friendship. To find out more about these options call CarersLine 0117 9652200.
- Carers Support Centre: CarersLine 0117 965 2200. Information, advice and services focused on supporting carers
- Carers Support Centre Young Carers: 0117 939 2562. Information, advice, services and activities focused on supporting young carers
- Well Aware: 0808 808 5252. Information on health, wellbeing and community resources
- Bristol Black Carers: 0117 941 5303. Provides information, advice and services supporting carers from black and minority ethnic communities
- Rethink Carers Service: 0117 903 1803. Provides support services for carers for people with mental health issues
- Dhek Bhal: 0117 955 6971. Provides support to carers principally from Bristol's South Asian communities
- Carers Direct: 0300 123 1053. Provides a free national service offering information, advice and support for carers
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