Thousands of people pass through our hospitals each week accompanied and supported by a loved one or friend – someone they rely on. These are the people who care for them. They could be a husband, sister, son or grandmother. Some are, due to sudden illness, accident or deterioration of an existing condition, new to caring and having to consider how they are going to cope with a caring role. Many don’t identify themselves as carers and as a result don’t always know what support is available to them. This includes information to help them to make choices and decisions about the care of their loved one and enable effective discharge.
The Wiltshire Health and Care Partnership recognises the invaluable role carers play and have been working closely with Carer Support Wiltshire to launch a new service this month introducing Carer Volunteers to the wards of the Wiltshire Community Hospitals.
The service has already been running at the Royal United Hospital Bath for over a year and is due to be introduced at the Great Western Hospital and Salisbury District Hospital in the near future.
Working in partnership, the Volunteer Manager for Community Hospitals and Carer Support Wiltshire will be supporting volunteers to visit wards where they will raise awareness of unpaid carers, identify hidden carers and provide them with appropriate information, referral, and signposting. It is hoped by introducing the service to the regions Community Hospitals it will help to improve patient discharge and prevent future re-admission to an acute hospital.
“They are a Godsend. They are able to spend the amount of time with the patients and their relatives to facilitate really worthwhile communication, discussion of issues and concerns and signposting to relevant services. We are very grateful for their support.” Anne-Marie Nuth, Ward Manager at Warminster Hospital.
All volunteers are trained by Carer Support Wiltshire and can easily be identified in blue shirts with the words: “If You Look After Someone, Who Looks After You?”
Carer Support Wiltshire CEO Catharine Hurford says: “Carers are the mainstay of our health and care system, it would simply collapse without the compassionate support of the thousands of unpaid carers in Wiltshire. Early recognition and identification of carers is key to ensuring they receive the proper help and support they need to do this demanding role to the best of their ability. This work undertaken by many volunteers in the hospitals in and around Wiltshire is an important step in making sure Wiltshire supports carers well.”
Pictured is Josie Campbell who volunteers at Chippenham Community Hospital with Health and Engagement Worker, Jackie Maton.