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Carer Support Wiltshire have launched a new Carer Support Hospital Liaison Service to support carers while their loved ones are in hospital and help ease the current burden on hospitals.

The service will run until the end of April at Great Western, Royal United and Salisbury District Hospitals, as well as the community hospitals.

Kerry McNally is the Hospital Liaison Project Lead. She said: “This new service will support unpaid carers while the person they care for is in hospital and assist with planning and implementation of discharge, as well as following up with them after discharge to see how things are going.

“The aim of the service is to reduce carer stress, reduce re-admission rates and ease the burden on hospitals at this time, while the Covid pandemic is placing increased demands on the NHS.”

James Humphries is heading up the new project’s liaison team. He said: “We know that when someone is admitted into hospital it can be a very stressful time and the focus is on getting that person well enough to come home.

“Especially at the moment with Covid circulating it feels like it’s a race to get them out of the hospital environment. It is vital the carer is kept informed and treated as an equal and active partner in planning and decisions.

“A carer needs to be able to communicate with hospital staff if they feel more support is needed and shouldn’t be left feeling disempowered. It isn’t easy for many people to speak up in an unfamiliar environment when stress levels are high.

“We have just helped someone who required support to facilitate her husband returning home from hospital. The team were able to help with liaising between the ward and the carer to ensure that an appropriate support package and equipment were provided to enable a safe discharge from hospital.

“The carer they supported was very grateful as she had never dealt with this before and was also struggling to get hold of the ward for discussions.”

Carers and hospital staff can contact the Carer Support Wiltshire Hospital Liaison Team on 0800 368 7579. Hospital staff can also make referrals using the secure email address.