A hospital based carer support service is proving invaluable during the busy winter period at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.
Michelle Turner and Emma Juckes from Carers Wakefield & District are providing advice and support to carers, so they understand the treatment their loved ones are receiving in hospital and how best to support them once they are discharged.
Emma said: “We see so many dfferent people at Pinderfields Hopsital who are carers for their loved ones. Some are caring for elderly family members, and have been doing so for a while, whilst others can almost become a carer overnight if, for example, their partner has a stroke which results in them being unable to care for themselves.”
“We are working collaboratively with staff to identify, refer and signpost carers to vital support. We support carers in understanding the treatment and management of the condition of their cared for person. We also help the carer to understand the discharge planning procedures, alongside managing and maintaining their own health & wellbeing.
“We provide emotional support to carers who can feel as though they are carrying a huge weight of responsibility. Just being able to talk to someone can often be enough. Most importantly we tailor the support packages around the carer and what they feel they need.”
Linda Maddick, is one carer who has received invaluable support from Michelle and Carers Wakefield. She had been a carer for her mum for three years (who has colon cancer) before she learned of the support available to her.
“My mum had a fall and broke her wrist back in July and when someone from the Mid Yorkshire therapy team came out to see us, she suggested that I could probably do with some help and support as a carer. She was right. I’d reached the point where I couldn’t cope any longer.
“I contacted Carer’s Wakefield and they were amazing. They listened to me, and understood my needs and most importantly they didn’t judge me. They told me about support groups I could access and benefits I was entitled to. I didn’t know about any of this.”
When Linda’s mum was then admitted to Pinderfields Hospital, Michelle made a point of seeking Linda out to see how she could support her.
“Michelle really gave me the confidence to keep asking the doctors on the ward for answers about the treatment my mum was having and her condition. I wouldn’t have done this without her, the doctors are so busy you just don’t want to be a nuisance, but when you have a better understanding about what is happening to the person you are caring for, it can really help.”
The carer support doesn’t stop just because patients leave hospital though. Michelle and Emma will then tranfer the support onto the community team, who can then visit the carers or refer them to suitable services. Indeed, Linda is able to contact the support workers at anytime, knowing they will be there for her.
“If I have a down day I know I can get in touch and someone will be there for me, to listen to my worries and give me the support I need to keep going.”
David Melia, Director of Nursing and Quality, at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We recognise the challenges carers can face, who often haven’t recognised themselves as carers and therefore haven’t sought support, or even know that there is support available to them.
“It’s wonderful to hear that Linda has had such a valuable expereince using the services provided by Carers Wakefield, both in the hospital and at home.”