Do you look after somebody?
What is a Carer?
Anyone could be a carer – a 14-year-old boy looking after a parent with an alcohol problem, a 50-year-old man caring for his partner who has terminal cancer, or an 80-year-old woman looking after her husband who has dementia.
A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, cannot cope without their support. A young carer is identified as being someone under 18years of age.
Carers come from all walks of life, cultural backgrounds and age groups. For many, caring is a 24 hour-a-day job with emotional, physical and financial impacts that can also affect their participation in employment, education and community activities.
Becoming a carer can feel like a constant battle to access help for you and the person you care for, for example getting the right diagnosis for your child's condition, appropriate support at school for a young carer in your family, adaptations to the home and benefits and other financial help.
As a carer, you are entitled to an assessment of your needs. This helps you to think about your caring role, how it affects your life and what support you may need. It’s about you and what is available to help you.
Are you aware of the Carers Emergency Card? Registration of this service offers 72 hours of emergency support for the person you care for in the event you were to have an accident/emergency or were taken seriously ill. It can also be used for a variety of discounts. It is easy to apply for this free service. Information leaflets are available to you within our reception areas or click the purple link above.
The Carers Support Centre
At Downend Health Group, we work closely with the Carers Support Centre, based at the Vassells Centre, Gill Avenue, Fishponds Bristol BS16 2QQ. We notify them of individuals who identify themselves to us as carers and work with them to ensure those carers receive the services, support and advice available to them. For further information, please visit their website: www.carerssupportcentre.org.uk or call them directly on 0117 9652200
They work with young carers aged 8-18 years to provide one-to-one support to each individual carer, providing social activities and outings, whilst working with professionals and agencies to ensure young carers are receiving the relevant support they require. Referrals are welcome from professionals or the families themselves. For further information, visit their website: www.carerssupportcentre.org.uk/young-carers
Parents, do you have a child with special needs, a disability or a life-limiting condition? The Carers Support Centre offers a range of services for parent carers with a child 18years or under. These include practical and emotional support, support to complete parent carer assessments, advice, information and signposting. For further information visit: www.carerssupportcentre.org.uk/our-services/parent-carers
Improving services through parent participation
In the last 10 years, parent participation groups and parent carer forums have developed across England. They form a national network of parent-led organisations which are helping to shape the future of services available for children with disabilities or special educational needs.
These organisations are supported locally, but are independent, and led by parent carers. Through their experience, parents are able to give an invaluable perspective in identifying improvements to services.
These organisations work in partnership with the local authorities to create a greater understanding of parent carers’ needs and to improve service provision. To find out about your local organisation, go to Bristol Parent Carers: www.bristolparentcarers.org.uk parent participation in Bristol. South Glos Parents and Carers Forum: www.sglospc.org.uk (formerly Our Voice Matters) parent carer participation in South Glos. Both of these forums are supported by the Carers Support Centre.
The Carers Support Centre also reaches out to minority ethnic carers encouraging them to seek support. For further information in various community languages, visit their website: www.carerssupportcentre.org.uk/reaching-out-to-minority-ethnic-carers
Information in ‘easy read’ format is also available for download, visit their website: www.carerssupportcentre.org.uk/download/our-services-leaflet-easy-read-version
Downend Health Group Carers Group
At Downend Health Group we welcome carers to our monthly Carers Meetings.
The group is regularly attended by external speakers and craftspesons wanting to share their knowledge and expertise. Knowing that you are not alone, and sharing your experiences with other carers in similar circumstances to yourself is helpful and reassuring.
If you are a carer and would like to join, please speak with a member of our Patient Assistant Team who can arrange a call back from our Carers Lead.