Support in Hospital
It can be a worrying time if you or the person you care for has to be admitted as a patient. You may also be considering taking on a caring role for the first time. It is important to consider the impact this may have on you and consider how this may affect your own health and wellbeing.
If you are the patient
If the person you care for already gets support from a paid support worker, or personal assistant, see if this care can be extended whilst you are recovering from any treatment. It may be possible for the person you care for to stay in short-term residential care while you are in hospital, and to give you an opportunity to recuperate afterwards. Contacting the Rapid Response Service; Maidstone- 0300 123 4083. Tonbridge- 01732 376858.
Make the hospital aware you are a carer
Carers can play a vital role in the care and recovery of the person they care for while in hospital. It is important that you make sure doctors and ward staff know that you are a carer and where possible involve you in conversations about on-going care and support and once the person you care for has been discharged. In situations where the person you care for does not want you to be involved or be given information about their care, you should be informed of this.
If the person you care for lacks mental capacity you may be able to make certain decisions about health and welfare matters if you have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). In any situation where the patient lacks capacity, there is a legal requirement under the Mental Capacity Act to consult their informal or other carers in determining what is in their best interests.
Once admitted to hospital, a treatment plan, including details for discharge or transfer, will be developed and a discharge assessment will determine whether more care is required after the person you care for leaves hospital.
On the day of discharge you and the person you care for should be given information with details of any services involved and information about future treatment and care. You should both be given copies of the care or support plan (for the person being cared for) and the support plan (for you) and a discharge letter should be sent to the GP of the person you care for within 24 hours
Medication and any equipment needed at home should be dispensed to the person you care for, as well as instructions and information about its use and any necessary support should be put in place to start on the day of discharge
Carers UK have produced a fact sheet Coming Out of Hospital which outlines the discharge process.
You may need temporary care to help you or the person you care for get back to normal and stay independent. This temporary care is called intermediate care, reablement or aftercare. Most people receive this type of care for around 1 or 2 weeks, although it can be free for a maximum of 6 weeks. It will depend on how soon you are able to cope at home. If you need care for longer than 6 weeks, you'll have to pay for it.
It is advisable that if you have not had an assessment, or your circumstances have changed since your last assessment, that you ask the local authority to undertake a carers assessment and also a care needs assessment for the person you are looking after.
You can contact Carers FIRST on 0300 303 1555 where we will help you navigate the system and give you the information and advice to help you with your caring role. You can also visit our information hub which provides lots of useful contacts and links to other services which may help you.