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Date: 4 June 2020
“People who look after someone need to be looked after too”
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" (Carers UK). This does not have to be the patient’s next of kin.
At University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) we aim to identify any carer who comes into contact with the hospital and treat them as a ‘partner in care’. We value the contribution carers make to the lives of those who use our services and want to recognise and support carers whilst also making them feel welcome at our hospitals. Two carer co-ordinators are available to support and signpost carers - information about how to contact them can be found via the "Who to contact" link at the end of the page.
Who is a carer?
There is no single definition of a carer. A carer is generally described as a person of any age providing unpaid care to an ill, frail or disabled family member, friend or partner. This may include physical care and/or emotional support, advice and advocacy.
You can also be part of your relative or friend’s care and well-being by sharing your thoughts and ideas, and by being present at ward rounds or meetings involving their care. When sharing information or discussing care, as well as including those who we have identified as carers, we will include (with the patient’s consent) people who have long standing close relationships with the patient.
In particular we will recognise the knowledge and expertise of anyone who the patient identifies they have a significant or long standing relationship with. Where patients are unable to give consent or have power of attorney in place, staff should share information in line with the current legislation, always acting in the best interest of the patient.
Who is not a carer?
Anyone who is a volunteer placed in a caring role by a voluntary organisation or someone who is paid as a care worker or personal assistant is not classed as a carer.
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