A carer is someone who, without payment, provides help and support to someone who could not manage without their help. This could be due to age, disability, physical or mental illness, substance misuse or eating disorder.
This might be helping with everyday household tasks, preparing meals, making appointments, helping with tablets or other treatments. Perhaps this is helping them get dressed or carry out day-to-day things that most of us take for granted.
A carer can be a parent, a child, a partner, a neighbour or a friend. But what makes them a carer too is down to how much more than the 'norm' they are doing for someone else.
Many carers do not consider themselves to be a carer; they are just looking after someone and getting on with it. They often don’t know there may be help available and they often ignore their own health needs.
At Hindon Surgery we want to help any of our patients who are carers get all the help that is available and also to make accessing our services as easy as possible. If we know your circumstances we can work with you, for example by seeing you at times to suit your caring needs.
We also want to help all our carers stay as healthy as possible and so offer annual health checks, free vaccination against ‘flu and encourage every carer to take up invitations for all the national screening programmes (like cervical smears, mammography, bowel screening and abdominal aortic aneurysm screening). We also encourage all our patients and carers in particular to see us about any worrying symptoms and not put your needs behind those of the person being cared for.
Are you a carer?
Please let us know and we can add you to our register of carers and give you information that may be helpful. We use the register to contact carers when something new is available, to alert our staff to be flexible when booking appointments and to invite carers for health checks and vaccinations.
If you let us know about any special needs we can add these to your notes. It is also useful to know if the person you care for is happy to share health information about their condition.
Carer Support Wiltshire
We work closely with Carer Support Wiltshire which is a charitable organisation that offers adult carers in Wiltshire access to information and advice about anything to do with caring as well as supporting them as individuals. Over 7,000 of the estimated 47,000 carers in Wiltshire are registered for their free and confidential services.
They also offer opportunities for short breaks, social activities and someone to listen to when needed. There are regular newsletters and local support workers. They can also carry out carer assessments to enable carers to get additional support and financial help (some of which is not means tested).
You can get their services and an information pack by registering with them by telephone (0800 181 4118) or on their website at http://carersinwiltshire.co.uk/. The site will give you more information about what is on offer. The amount you use this is entirely up to you. They also publish a newsletter twice a year, which you can find by clicking here. A weekly news digest keeps you up-to-date with current events - access that here. The newsletter is available by email and this saves the charity printing costs. Please request by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once registered they will contact you, send you information and arrange a telephone or home visit to discuss how they can help.
There is a lot of help available and they are the experts in knowing what there is and how to get it. For example there is a carers’ library card that enables you to loan books for six weeks and make a free reservation. You just need to tell your local library. Or you may be entitled to a reduction in your Council Tax. They administer the Carer Emergency Card on behalf of Wiltshire Council and Medvivo (the provider of out of hours emergency GP and nursing cover). We have leaflets about this with an application form at the surgery or you can call 0800 066 5068. If you have one of these cards you automatically get a Wiltshire Passport that gives carers some discounts at local businesses in Wiltshire. Carers can also applly for a Carer Smart card for some discounts at www.carersmart.org. Wiltshire Carer Support have been working with many GP surgeries (including Hindon Surgery) on the Wiltshire Investor in Carers scheme. Our carers may be sent information or questionnaires from us as part of this quality improvement scheme.
They also have a scheme for employers: www.workingforcarers.co.uk.
We encourage all of our patients who think they may be a carer to ask for their name to go on to our carer register and also to register with Carer Support Wiltshire.
Young carers, aged between 5 and 18 year that care for a family member with an illness or disability, can get support from Spurgeons (www.spurgeons.org). Click this link to see a video about the service: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eT5GIm-ZLPw
Another useful telephone number for carers is the NHS Carers Direct Helpline, on 0330 123 1053.