Health and social care professionals – supporting Carers

Hamstreet Surgery, Ashford

At Hamstreet Surgery in Ashford the practice has introduced a range of measures to identify and support Carers.

  • Every new patient registering at the practice is asked on the form if they look after someone, consider themselves a Carer or have a Carer. The practice has identified 82 patients (14 of whom are children) as Carers which is 1% of the practice list
  • The practice’s computer system alerts GPs if a patient is also a Carer and as well as an adult Carers’ register, the practice also has a Young Carers’ register.
  • The Carers’ register also helps to ensure that both adult and younger Carers are invited for a flu vaccination.
  • There is a Carers’ corner set up in the foyer of the practice full of written information to direct Carers to the various avenues of support available to them.
  • The practice’s website has a link to the NHS Carers Direct service.
  • If families (including Carers) suffer a bereavement, their usual GP contacts them. This call is either followed by a consultation at a flexible time to meet the Carer’s needs or by giving them telephone advice on how to find a relevant support service.

“Our efforts to identify patients who are Carers is ongoing. Having recorded 1% of our practice list as Carers we’re aware that is a fraction of the likely 1 in 9 figure we’d expect. It’s important to be asking if patients regularly look after someone as not all will use the term Carer to describe what they do for someone else.”

Dr Jack Jacobs, Senior Partner, Hamstreet Surgery, Ashford

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) is a large NHS community services provider with more than 5,000 staff delivering care across Kent, Medway, East Sussex and parts of London. KCHFT has more than three million patient contacts a year and has done several things to support Carers as both a service provider and as an employer.

KCHFT has introduced a number of initiatives to support Carers that use their services including:

  • Carers Involvement Strategy
  • Commitment to Carers (six pledges)
  • Relatives and Carers Charter for community hospitals
  • Carer awareness sessions for staff to understand who carers are and how they can help support them
  • Being a Carer booklet  
  • Roll-out of Dementia Friends sessions
  • Pledge in Carers Week each year

You can find out more about how KCHFT supports Carers who use their services here www.kentcht.nhs.uk/carers/

Canterbury Health Centre

The GP practice at Canterbury Health Centre is very proactive in identifying carers and asks all patients at the point of registration whether they are a Carer, or whether they are cared for, to identify Carers that may not come forward themselves.

In the last year, the practice has appointed a volunteer Carers’ champion, an ex-nurse who worked locally for many years (including at the local hospice) before working in the practice as a receptionist following her retirement from Nursing. As a result, she is a familiar face to many long-term patients. The practice offers:

  • a monthly support group / coffee morning for Carers
  • face-to face- appointments with the Carer’s champion for anyone who would like one to one support. These appointments provide both a listening ear and advice and information on local services that can offer more practical help to Carers who need it.