Carers Rights Day - #UnitedForCarers
Carers Rights Day took place on Thursday 25 November and organisers Carers UK shared a simple but very important main message: ‘know your rights’.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of caring, affecting carers’ access to support and services, and their physical and mental health. Many are caring for the first time, while those who’ve been caring for a while are facing greater challenges and pressures than ever before. It’s never been more important for carers to be informed and know their rights.
"81% of carers are providing more care since the COVID-19 pandemic" – Carers UK, Caring Behind Closed Doors Survey
#UnitedForCarers – our local message
In Derbyshire, health, social care and voluntary sector organisations came together for Carers Rights Day to reach out to carers and help them find their way during this difficult time:
- Be EMPOWERED with information and support
- Feel CONFIDENT that you can ask for what you need
- Know how to CHALLENGE things when you feel your rights as a carer are not being met
In a fast-changing world, your legal rights as a carer remain the same:
- You can request to work flexibly to help meet your caring responsibilities
- You can ask if you can accompany someone who depends on you to appointments
- Your views are important and should be recognised and supported
“As this situation has put more pressure on carers our need for support has increased at the same time as groups have stopped running.” - A quote from a carer who took part in Mental Health Together’s COVID19 carers survey.
It’s never been more important for carers to access support if they need it. The Carer support services in the city and county are there to offer support, so please pick up the phone if you need help.
If you care for someone living in Derbyshire contact Derbyshire Carers Association on tel: 01773 833833
If you care someone living in Derby City contact the Universal Services for Carers Services on tel: 01332 228777
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have also set up a 24/7 mental health helpline that carers can use (no matter what the condition of the person they support) to get help and advice at any time of night or day. The helpline is availble to those living in the city or county on tel: 0800 028 0077 (freephone)
Derbyshire Carers Association and Healthwatch Derbyshire have put together a list of simple things carers can try to do to help them stay well during the pandemic. SCIE have also put together a series of videos on caring safely at home during the pandemic that include advice on looking after yourself too.
“From a carers perspective I feel there should be more help for carers. I haven't had any. Our mental health needs looking after too.” A quote from a carer who took part in Mental Health Together’s COVID19 carers survey
One of the most commonly reported issues faced by carers across the county had been the inability to access to face-to-face healthcare appointments, whether this was for new health concerns or for review appointments for existing conditions. Many carers are also struggling with restrictions on accompanying loved ones to appointments and/or visiting them in hospital or care settings. Although some of these restrictions have now eased, it can still be difficult to navigate this.
Whether you are allowed to accompany / visit or not can depend on the organisation and setting. However, as a carer you have a right to ask to accompany or visit a loved one and give your reasons for doing so – for instance if the person you support would struggle to make their views heard without your support.
Most health and care settings will accommodate carer’s requests where they can and, if they can’t facilitate your request, should give you a full explanation as why.
The Joined Up Care Derbyshire website has information about how local health services and clinics are operating, which are open and which are operating a restricted service. You can also contact Healthwatch Derbyshire on tel 01773 880786
GP surgeries and Primary Care
All GP practices are open and seeing patients, although some may have their front doors locked to stop people entering without an appointment. Due to the pandemic, most surgeries are doing telephone triage in the first instance with face to face appointments being available based on clinical need and taking into account COVID infection control measures.
If you want to support the person you care for and accompany them to an appointment, if possible, you should try to make this request this when the appointment is made. You should identify yourself as a carer to the person you are speaking to (usually the receptionist) so you can discuss what needs to be put in place for the person you care for, e.g. advocating on behalf of the person you support.
NHS hospitals and inpatient settings
Chesterfield Royal Hospital has information on its current visiting and accompanying policy on their website.
They also have information on how their clinics and outpatient services are operating and details of their cancer helpline.
If you have any queries or wish to speak to someone about how you can support the person you care for, you can get in touch with the hospital's patient liaison service on tel: 01246 512640 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
University Hospitals of Derby and Burton also have information on their website about their current visiting and accompanying policies. You can also contact their patient liaison service on tel: 01332 785156 or email email@example.com
If the person you care for is in or has an appointment at a hospital that is outside Derbyshire please check their website for information on current arrangements. If you can't find the information you need contact the hospital's PALs team. You can find contact details for all PALs teams in the UK on the NHS website.
Visiting care homes
The government have put together guidance (dated 9 March 2021) which sets out the ways care homes can support safe visiting by residents nominating one named visitor. The government is encouraging care homes and families/carers to work together to find the right balance between wellbeing and quality of life and keeping vulnerbable people and staff safe. So if your loved one is in a care home please speak to the staff to discuss ways for you to keep in touch with them safely.
Accessing medication and repeat prescriptions
You may be able to order repeat prescriptions from your pharmacy. In addition, many practices in Derbyshire and Derby have signed up to the telephone Medications Order Line.
Those practices who are not signed up will have alternative arrangements – you can ask reception or look on the practice website.
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