Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is making it easier to access hospital services if you are a carer with our new Carer Support Passport.
Designed with the input of staff, patients, carers and our external partners, the passport is available to all unpaid carers that are helping patients through their time in hospital. It has been designed to allow hospital staff to recognise carers more quickly, allowing them to be involved in discussions about the patient’s care where appropriate.
Unpaid carers can be of any age, and provide support to a family member, partner or friend who would otherwise be unable to manage without this support. While in hospital, there is no expectation for a carer to continue their role. However, as a Trust we are committed to supporting this if they wish to do so. It is important to us that carers are involved in care as much as they, and the patient, want them to be.
To help us with this, our new Carer Support Passport provides an opportunity to document the agreed involvement in the care that will continue to be provided by the carer during the patient’s hospital stay.
The passport also makes it clear the support and benefits available to unpaid carers. This may include flexible visiting, being able to stay overnight, concessions on parking, food, and beverages.
If you think you are entitled to a Carer Support Passport, speak to one of our hospital staff when you need to use our services.
Our commitment to carers has seen us awarded a Gold accreditation from Carers Support Wiltshire (CSW) for our Wren Outpatients department.
The accreditation was awarded after the CSW recognised our commitment to identifying, supporting, and signposting carers. This followed an assessment process and submission of evidence to demonstrate our work.
One of the areas we have been recognised for is our Outpatient Welcome Liaison Service (OWLS). The service sees a volunteer meet with carers on arrival, accompany them to their appointment, wait with them or their cared for person and escort them to their transport home. The service is free to all patients and carers attending outpatient appointments, who need to call 01793 604 046 at least five days before their appointment to access the service.
We also provide our own support for carers. Our weekly Carers Café is held every Wednesday from 2-3.30pm in the main hospital Refresh restaurant. Carers are invited to have a free cup of tea, an informal chat and to receive support, information, and signposting to other services. There is no need to book, just turn up and look for our Carers Café banner and staff.
The accreditation has seen staff undertake extra training to ensure that carers are identified and provided with the necessary support, information, and advice.
We are also working closely with the hospital liaison service set up in November 2022, which in conjunction with CSW, sees the liaison team visit the wards and departments to ensure that carers are receiving the right support, particularly when the cared for person is discharged from our care.
Congratulations to the team for all their hard work in demonstrating our role as a safe space for carers across our area.