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Fact sheet

Good practice in carer support

To submit examples of best practice please email

1. Carers Card - Mid Essex NHS

Supporting carers is one of the five key commitments in NHS Mid Essex's Strategic Plan and have employed a Carers' Champion to drive this forward.The Carers Champion aims at working with all the organisations within Mid Essex to ensure continuity of supporting carers and also being a contact point for any questions from primary care staff or carers themselves.
In the first 6 months, the Carers' Chamption has visited all 51 GP practices to help rollout the Royal College of GPs and Carers Trust Toolkit and also visited nursing teams, health visitors, community wards and hospitals to drive home the importance of identifying and supporting unpaid carers. They have also produced a Carers Card to be given to carers.

NHS Mid Essex have created a Carers Directory providing advice and information on servcies to help carers in their caring role. They have also given copies to GP practices, other primary health teams and will be rolling them out to pharmacies. This is available online along with other dedicated pages to carers at:

Mid Essex Carers Card (63 KB)

2. Carers Charter Credit Card and Poster, and Transfer of Care Protocol for hospital discharge - Leeds

NHS Leeds, Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, Leeds Partnership Foundation NHS Trust and Leeds City Council have produced a carers charter. The charter sets out what carers using their services can expect and provides contact details for those seeking further information.

The charter is available in credit card formart aswell as A3 and A4 poster sizes.

Carers Charter Credit Card (107 KB)

A4 Leeds Carers Charter Poster (138 KB)

Transfer Of Care Protocol Final 2009 (1.1 MB)

3. "Carers Strategy (2009-2012)" good practice - Pennine NHS Trust

A strategy, staff charter and a patient charter were developed to provide information on how carers can expect to be supported by the Acute Trust. These charters are now available in ward areas and attached to staff payslips.
The Staff Carers Network is a new initiative to provide staff carers with a forum to provide mutual support and exchange information and ideas; help the Acute Trust understand staff’s experience and needs as a carer and look to improve working life for all members of staff with caring responsibilities.

Carers Strategy 2009-2012 (125 KB)

Carers Charter (38 KB)

Staff Carers Charter (40 KB)

4. "Hospital Link Worker Project" good practice - Bromley

A Hospital Link Worker is based in the Social Service Department of the local hospital (Princess Royal University Hospital in Bromley) but is part of Carers Bromley’s staff team. Day-to-day management of the Hospital Link Worker has been undertaken by Social Services and overall management and employment is carried out by Carers Bromley.

The role is to take referrals from Care Managers and hospital staff, carry out carers assessments, if possible, whilst the person they care for is in hospital and refer carers to Carers Bromley. She advocates on behalf of the carer, particularly in relation to hospital discharge and services that need to be in place for this transition to be positive for all concerned. Another aspect of this project is to raise awareness of carers’ needs to Care Managers and hospital staff.

Some of the carers’ statements from the evaluation include:

  • "I feel much happier about the prospect of taking my husband home"
  • "This service has made me feel that my brother and I are not alone"
  • "I feel reassured that help is there, both now and in the future."

Read more about the project in the download below.

Carers Bromley - Hospital Discharge Worker (145 KB)

5. "Carers Mouse Mat" good practice - Salford

Salford Carers’ Centre have produced a specialised mouse mat for GPs that will lead to increased carers’ referrals to them. Read codes are used to record information on patients, standardising how that information is recorded. So, if a patient is a carer, the GP completes the code 918G.

Some GPs do not think about this code, or other carer related ones, when speaking with patients. This mouse mat hopes to put these codes right in the forefront of GP’s thoughts so that they will ask patients if they are a carer, and refer them to the local carers’ centre.#

View a pdf version of the mouse mat template (121 KB)

6. “Carer surgery” good practice - Brent

A Carers’ Centre worker ran a carers’ surgery at a GP practice for two hours a week for six months, which led to a large number of carer referrals.

At the end of the six-month period the budget could not be continued by the GP practice and, although the Carers Centre has stayed in contact with the GP practice, the lack of a visible presence has meant that the number of referrals has considerably reduced.

The Brent Carers’ Centre has also worked with other GP practices to influence the development of services for carers, working with link workers and putting in place training for primary care teams on carers.

7. “Rural carers” good practice - Suffolk

In Suffolk, due to the large rural area being covered by a single GP Development worker (a 20-hour-a-week post) it would not have been feasible to have a dedicated carer support worker in each of the 90 practices being targeted.

Instead the role of the GP Development Worker was developed to identify a “carers’ link” within each surgery or practice. The carers’ link is usually a practice manager, practice nurse or receptionist who may already have knowledge of caring either through personal or family experience. The aim is that each carer’s link will act as a central point for any carer trying to get support.

Back-up and expertise is provided by the GP development worker who undertakes one-to-one training with the carers link, and develops information packs for use within each practice containing localised information. If more intensive work or support is needed then the carer can be referred to the Suffolk Carers support worker.
In Ixworth Surgery, Sue Nutt, practice manager, is the carers’ link. In addition to providing carers with individual support – e.g. ensuring that Occupational Therapists are contacted for assessments, and benefits are claimed – she also runs a regular carers’ group, which puts on social events like the Christmas party. Her experience and involvement within the practice encourages all members of the practice staff to identify carers, and tag them on computer and paper records.
The development worker from Suffolk Carers has been running a carers’ surgery within the High Street practice, Lowestoft, and the practice manager is now participating in this. Similarly, at Beccles GP practice a carers’ drop-in service is facilitated by both the carers’ link within the practice and the GP worker from Suffolk Carers.
In each case, because the work is taking place within the surgery there is a very high feeling of “ownership” of the carers project.

8. “Carer support worker” good practice – Harrogate

The Princess Royal Trust Harrogate Carers Resource has established close links with most local general practices.

Initiatives include carer notice boards, training staff, and facilitating reviews of practice policy and protocols for carers. In one GP practice, funding was secured to place a specialist carer support officer within the practice for 20 hours a week for 11 months. The carer support officer was recruited, trained, managed and supported by Carers Resource. The primary care team now identifies and refers carers, and this work is continuing in other GP practices in the area.

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