Solent NHS TrustHigh quality community and mental health services

Carers need support too

CarersWritten by Judy Hillier, Director of Nursing and Quality

Do you think of yourself as a carer?

I certainly don't and I have five people between the ages of 90 and 99 to support, albeit all in their own homes. It is often something we just do and accept our responsibilities. Whilst there are many people who are fully committed full time carers, there are also many carers, young and old, who are unrecognised and get no support, because they don't actually realise that they are carers. I love my relatives dearly but sometimes I just would like a weekend when I am not shopping, doing bills, sorting clothes, dashing across Hampshire to Wiltshire and Devon to check they have got everything they need. I don't suppose I need to do so much but I feel guilty if I am not either there with them or phoning them to see if they are OK.

Last week was Carers Week and it's important that those who are unrecognised as carers know that support is available. Many people don't know what is out there or don't realise that they can get support with their caring responsibilities. Caring can be incredibly confusing and demanding. Caring without support from others can present serious risks to your health and wellbeing. This year Carers Week was in aid of encouraging the greatest ever drive in the UK to reach out to carers who are missing out on support and services.

One in every eight adults in the UK is a carer. It's something that will happen to most people at some point in their lives - in fact every year, over two million people become carers for the first time.

Relating my own personal experience to my job really helps me, especially when I read some of the complaints about the frustrations of not being able to get a GP or podiatry appointment because the phones are busy, or the receptionist or clinicians appeared to sound disinterested or when it seems that clinicians are not communicating well. I know what this feels like personally. It has happened to me, and my relatives, and I don't know about you but I felt so disempowered.

Let us have the feedback on what you would like to make the experience better, we want to hear and learn how we can give you a great experience and support you when caring for your loved ones. Please get in touch with our Patient Experience Team via email at snhs.schpatientexperience@nhs.net or phone (Free phone) 0800 013 2319 or 023 8029 6929.

Find more information on how to get advice and support here

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Comment on this page

Your timing could be better. Sending a blog about Carers week when it's the Friday at the end of the Carers week is sad

Hello Judy, Thanks for such an open and honest writing.If the Director of Quality and Nursing feels disempowered about the way clinicians and receptionists treat you, can you imagine how badly elderly and vulnerable patients would be treated?How do you assess the quality of customer service in Solent? Is anything being done to tackle this issue? Thanks

Thank you for your feedback and yes, even a director of nursing can feel disempowered. In respect of our organisation, we know Solent services are not perfect and there are areas we are working on to improve. As a Director of the Trust, I read all the complaints, incidents and staff and patient feedback to help me understand where things are going wrong. We welcome constructive feedback to help us improve and are very sorry when the experience to the people who use our services and their carers is poor. The recent inspection by the Care Quality Commission as part of their new inspection regime - where 73 inspectors came into the organisation listening to staff, patients and carers - showed we have caring, compassionate and safe services with three areas raised for improvement. None of these areas were surprises to us and we are working with our commissioners to resolve them.

Judy Hillier, Director of Nursing and Quality's reply to Anonymous's post
16/06/2014 15:54:02

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