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Fact sheet

Recording carers' details

Having identified someone as a carer, it is then necessary for the practice to record that information within its operational systems. It is important that is included in the normal patient record keeping systems, as well as in any separate registers or lists of carers which the practice may want to keep, so that the fact that the patient is a carer is not over looked when individual patient records are being consulted. The information that someone is a carer should be readily accessible to any health professional who is using the record.

It is appropriate to obtain the carers consent to be registered with the practice as a carer. It is also important to obtain the consent of the cared for person so that the carer can have access to clinical information about them and for their records to be cross-referenced with those of the carer (if they both use the same GP practice).

Once the carer has consented to be fully registered with the practice as a carer, registration of carers can be easily done within your normal operating systems. This means a ‘tag’ on the medical record of the carer and/or the person cared for which appears on the computer screen, when accessed by anybody in the practice. For those practices using paper records, it can be a coloured sticker or tag or written mark of some kind.

The computerised READ codes offer a simple way of doing this, and have the advantage of utilising a system which is already understood by practices. Codes 918a (is a carer) and 918f (has a carer) are perhaps the most simple and most useful. It is important that the Practice Manager know what the READ code is for and how it is being used.

This also has the advantage that a list of carers can be generated easily if required. Apart from the two READ codes mentioned above, there are, in fact, up to 15 READ codes which are relevant to recording information about the carers’ role. Carers Bucks has over time developed a comprehensive list as part of a tool-kit sent out to local surgeries, which is shown below.

READ CODES FOR CARERS
TypeCode

Carer

918A

Has a carer

918F

No carers, though not alone

13FD

Carer reassured

8C95

Patient advised of carers legal rights

8CAH

Carer's details

9180

(hn) Carer of one with minor ailments

HNG0177

(hn) Carer welfare

HNG0275

(hn) Carer needs assessment

HNG0314

(hn) Carer advice

HNG0315

(hn) Carer support

HNG0316

[V] No able carer in household

ZV604

[V] Carer unable to cope

ZV608

In some Brent GP practices it was recognised that although there was a willingness to identify carers and tag them using READ’s computerised carer code, some GPs were not at ease with the technology. To counter this the Carers’ Centre worker learnt how to use the codes and demonstrated their use to other GPs when the issue arose. If you are in this position, contact a local Carers’ Centre as they may be familiar with the codes and be willing to help you set up a basic system in your practice.

Ixworth, Suffolk Case Study

Tagging is in operation at the Ixworth Surgery in Suffolk. Both carers and cared-for are tagged on the computer system and on the patient record envelope, so any doctor or staff member accessing their data will be aware of the patient’s status.

Where carers have been identified and records tagged, carers have reported that the regular acknowledgement of their caring role is valuable recognition, a visible sign of the importance of the carer. It has reflected well on the GP practice while boosting the self-esteem of the carer.

Carers who feel part of a healthcare team may be more likely to use the GP practice efficiently, and possibly under less stress than somebody who feels excluded so bringing benefits for GPs, appointment times and prescription costs.

Next steps - Referring carers

Referral is the process of passing on the information that someone is a carer to an agency or an individual, with a view to offering them some kind of assessment and support or a service adjusted to meet their needs.

Click here for more information on referring carers