Unpaid carers often have a hidden yet life-changing impact on those that they care for. Many do not see themselves as a carer or care partner, but it is estimated that the number of identified and unidentified carers in the United Kingdom alone could be as high as 10.6 million. There is an estimated over 80,000 unpaid care partners and an additional 6,000 young carers in Lincolnshire.
Jennie Negus, Head of Patient Experience at ULHT said: “We see our carers as expert healthcare advisors who offer essential insight into the care and needs of our patients. We therefore consider our carers our partners; as we work together for their mutual benefit.
Care partners help make life easier for people, assisting them with difficult tasks that they cannot manage themselves as well as providing emotional support. Carers help in all different ways and are often family members or close friends.”
Our hospital teams work really closely with all of our care partners, as by engaging and working together we know that our patients get the most benefit and that patient outcomes are really improved.
This carers week we are sharing some of the improvements we have been working closely with Carers First and Lincolnshire Young Carers on; alongside our involvement as a national pilot site for the development of a new NHS National Care Partners Policy. This will give our carers even more support and access to other services than ever before. This includes improvements to our care partners badge scheme. The badge scheme helps our staff recognise a care partner and ensure they have access to some of the carer elements that we provide, such as more flexibility on visiting and authority to help support at meal times.
Over the coming months we are also creating our first Carers Hub – this will be based at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston and will provide an area for accessing information about support and advice. The hub will be run by ULHT and Carers First will be providing carers with information, advice and support to help in their caring role. This could include information on the support available in their local community, advice on benefits or as a working carer, access to a statutory carers assessment or events and activities locally that can give them a short break from caring.
We are hoping to replicate this model across our sites. We are expecting the first hub to open by the Autumn of 2023.
Rachel Boothby Service Manager Lincolnshire South for Carers First said: “Carers First are delighted to be playing a role in the ULHT Carers Hub in Pilgrim Hospital, Boston. The opening of the Carers Hub shows how much ULHT recognise the vital part that carers play in patient care.”
Cllr Mrs Patricia Bradwell OBE, executive member for children’s services at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “Carers Week is the ideal opportunity for us to let Lincolnshire’s remarkable young carers know that they are not alone. It can be particularly challenging for them to juggle their caring duties with school, but there is support available. We can offer you and your family an opportunity to talk about your caring role and any worries you have and give you a chance to meet other young carers. You all do a fantastic job, and we very much appreciate all you do for your loved ones.”
Jennie Negus, Head of Patient Experience at ULHT said: “Every year more and more people become a caregiver for a loved one, sometimes this has been something that has happened over years, in other instances as someone nears end of life a carer relationship is formed.
What we know is that care partners give absolutely vital support to our patients. Whether it is understanding routines, helping with mealtimes or helping to calm and reassure, we know that carers really understand the patient’s needs.
So we can ensure the best experience for our carers and patients we work closely with Carers First and Lincolnshire Young Carers to ensure we are offering people what they need. This includes education for our staff so they can recognise someone as a care partner.
This makes a significant impact on our young care partners. Unfortunately, due to their age young carers may not be recognised as being able to help in a hospital setting, or if they are not next of kin they may not receive vital updates they need for a love on.
Working in partnership, hearing real care partner lived experience and by delivering the new Care Partners Policy across ULHT we will create a better experience for our care partners and better outcomes for our patients.”