Help and support for carers
A carer is a family member, friend or neighbour who looks after someone who, due to age, physical or mental illness, addiction or disability, cannot manage on their own.
This also includes children and young people with caring responsibilities.
We appreciate that families, friends and neighbours have an important role in meeting the care needs of many patients, both before they are admitted to hospital and after they have been discharged.
We want to promote the health and independence of carers, by involving them during a patient's stay in hospital, and in planning his or her discharge.
If you're visiting hospital, please speak up and let one of the nursing staff know that you are a carer, and we will do all we can to support you and the person you care for.
Support for carers visiting Great Western Hospital
Our charter has been co-produced with staff, carers and external partners and will focus our ongoing work to improve services for carers.
The charter will be visible across our Trust and with partner organisations and local communities, providing a clear outline of our pledge and key areas of focus in working to ensure positive carer experience.
The charter will be used to form the foundations of our continuing work plan, monitoring of achievements, and will be a reminder to all staff, patients, and carers of our agreed direction of travel.
Ask any member of our nursing staff about our Carers Passport if you are with us supporting your dependent whilst in hospital.
The card provides access to a range of benefits including free drinks, discounted parking and food.
We are keen to work with you as partners in care and will support you in doing this, including staying overnight if you wish.
We are pleased to announce that the Carers Café is now open, offering support, advice and a free cup of tea or coffee.
If you are a carer, please feel free to join us every Wednesday from 2pm - 3.30pm in the main hospital Refresh restaurant on the ground floor of Great Western Hospital.
Carers Information Service
Our friendly team of volunteers visit the wards and outpatient departments to provide carers with information, signposting, support and referral to Carer Services.
Support for carers admitted to hospital
If you are a carer and are admitted to hospital yourself, it is important that you make hospital staff aware of your caring responsibilities so that you can get support while you are in hospital and once you are discharged home.
Hospital Liaison Service
Carer Support Wiltshire have been commissioned by Wiltshire County Council to deliver a Hospital Liaison Service to support carers across the three acute hospitals (Great Western Hospital, Salisbury District Hospital and RUH) and the three Community Hospitals (Chippenham, Warminster, and Savernake).
Working in partnership with each hospital the service supports unpaid carers by:
- providing information, advice, and support to carers whilst the person they care for is in hospital
- raising the profile and embedding carer awareness with staff, patients, and families
- promoting early identification of carers, ideally on admission or when assessed as medically fit for discharge
- supporting carers who need additional information and support on the discharge process, along with preventative information with the aim of reducing readmission or crisis situations following discharge of their cared for person
The team are based at GWH in the Co-ordination Hub every Wednesday. However, the service is available to accept carer referrals and the team can be contacted via telephone and email Monday to Friday on Tel: 0800 368 7579 Email: HospitalTeam@carersupportwiltshire.co.uk
Further help and support for carers
To ensure that hospital services are developed to support carers in their caring responsibility, we work in close partnership with:
- Swindon Carers Centre
- Carer Support Wiltshire
- Wiltshire Adult Care and Support Guide | Publications | Care Choices
These two charities also run services for carers across Swindon and Wiltshire, which may include:
- Advice and information
- Carers Card and Discount Scheme
- Counselling and benefits advice
- Drop-in Support groups
- Emergency card
- Looking after yourself
- Meeting other carers
- Newsletter/Carers events
- Planning for the future
- Statutory Carers Assessment
- Taking a break from caring
- Training and practical skills workshops to help you care
There are also many other agencies who can help carers with their caring role - please see Information and support.