Caring for the Carers during COVID

Earlier this month we joined the rest of the country in celebrating Carers Week. However, at the practice, the position and role of carers has been a priority for many years. Not only does we have a Carers’ Register (with 866 names currently on it), but in October of last year we appointed our own Carers Champion, Claire Rogers.

For 6 years Claire worked as a Care Navigator at the practice before working in the Care Co-Ordination Hub and becoming Carers Champion.

‘Many people do not actually realise that they are a carer,’ explains Claire. ‘Often, a set of circumstances will dictate that someone starts to look after a friend or family member who is not always able to look after themselves without support, whether because of illness, disability, mental health issues or addiction. This situation often comes about almost by accident. The job of my colleagues and myself is to ensure that those on our carers’ register recognise and understand that they are far from being on their own.’

‘There are many brilliant local support services available to carers,’ adds Claire. ‘It is part of my role to support and signpost the unpaid carers to the help that is out there for them. Many of those carers that I speak to for the first time have no idea of the quantity and quality of great practical advice that is available.’

Claire is encouraging anyone who is an unpaid carer to add his or her name to the practice register. This can be done online or by calling the practice and asking for forms to be sent out for completion.

Once on the carers’ register, a carer can then expect to be supplied with care plans, free flu vaccinations and free NHS Health checks. Priority appointments can also be offered when they are available. In addition, carers can then be referred to Health Connections and the many support services that they help to organise. Unpaid carers who are registered with another practice are able to be placed on the carers’ register and are also eligible for support, provided that the person they are looking after is a Frome Medical Practice patient.

During the pandemic and the lockdown, the help that has been available to carers on the register has become even more crucial.

‘Particularly if you are looking after someone who is shielding or is otherwise isolated, the situation can be very challenging,’ says Claire. ‘However, it is again important to spread the message to carers that help and support is available during the coronavirus pandemic, not only from us here at the practice but also from organisations such as Somerset Carers, Frome Town Council and local community group organisations such as Health Connections.'

If you need help as a carer or know someone else who wants to be added to our carers’ register then either click on our website here or alternatively contact Claire direct at 01373 468370.

Published: Jun 29, 2020