Support from Health Professionals
It is important that Carers are recognised and supported in health settings such as GP surgeries and hospitals.
How can my GP help me with my caring responsibilities?
To get the support you need in your caring role, a great place to start is by informing your GP that you care for somebody. Once you inform your GP that you are a Carer, they can record this on your medical records. Many GP surgeries have a form on their website to help you register as a Carer, however not all do. Carers UK has developed some useful templates to help you register as a Carer with your GP which you can find here.
If your GP knows that you are a Carer, they should be able to offer you more support, information and advice.
Once you inform your GP practice that you are a Carer, please feel free to ask them what support/services are available to you. This may include:
- Understanding some of your health needs and the potential impact your caring role has on your health.
- Find out if your GP practice facilitate a Carer Support Group within the practice.
- Arrange repeat prescriptions to be delivered to your local pharmacy or home address to save you from picking them up.
- Being recognised as a ‘partner in care’ and having your expertise valued. *Consent may be required for health professionals to share information with you about the person you care for.
- Arrange double appointments for both you and the person you care for at the same time to avoid visiting the surgery twice.
- Provide information on medical conditions/treatments for the person you care for to help you feel more confident in your caring role.
- Inform you of services provided by the NHS such as continence services and patient transport to hospital appointments/ Carer coordinator service.
- Arrange home visits to you or the person you care for if your caring responsibilities make it difficult to attend appointments at the surgery.
- Provide supporting letters and information to enable you and the person you care for to access benefits such as Attendance Allowance or a blue badge scheme.
Your health is Important
Life can be very busy juggling daily tasks, especially if you have caring responsibilities, but it’s important not to neglect your own health needs. Attending appointments, check-ups and screenings is important for yourself as well as your loved ones. It can be easy to forget about your own health, even if you are feeling unwell, however seeing your GP can help prevent any further health issues and support you in recovering much quicker.
If it has been a while since you have visited your GP, give them a call and arrange a health check. This could include checking your blood pressure, weight or having a conversation about you and your health.
Free Flu Jabs
The seasonal flu vaccine is free for Carers or anybody receiving Carers Allowance and is the best way to protect yourself and the person you care for from the flu.
The thought of becoming unwell can be a huge burden if you have caring responsibilities, therefore receiving your flu jab can put your mind at ease.
Talk to your GP to find out more or visit the NHS website.
GP Practices running Carer Support Groups
Some GP practices offer support groups just for Carers, ask your surgery what they offer for Carers, if they don’t have something in place, this may be just the prompt that they need.
Support from hospitals
If the person that you provide care for is admitted to hospital, you could take this opportunity for some respite or you may feel like you would like to be more involved. You know the person that you care for best, their likes and dislikes, their communication needs and so on, so you may want to continue supporting with their care during their stay in hospital.
Dorset hospitals (Dorset County Hospital, Dorset HealthCare University, University Hospitals Dorset want to welcome, involve and support you, you can ask the carers’ leads below about the Carer Passport.