Who is a carer?
A carer spends a significant proportion of their life providing unpaid support to family or friends. A carer can be any age.
A quick checklist:
If your patient looks after:
- a husband, wife or partner who is sick or disabled
- a child who has special needs
- elderly parents who are getting frail
- someone with mental health problems who they support
- mum or dad who is ill or disabled
- a friend or neighbour who cannot manage on their own or manage daily living tasks without their help
They are a carer...
What do carers do?
Carers help the people they care for to deal with and manage problems caused by illness or disability by providing physical, practical and emotional support.
Many carers undertake nursing tasks: they manage and administer medication, feeding tubes, colostomy or catheter bags or other medical equipment.
Often carers carry out lifting or assisting with mobility. They may help to change clothes and bedding many times throughout the day and night.
Caring tasks may include providing intimate physical care such as helping someone get up, washed and dressed and assisting with using the toilet.
Carers often take responsibility in supporting the person they care for to access services, liaising on their behalf with organisations such as Social Services, health, education, benefits and housing.
Caring responsibilities may be for a short period of time or for a lifetime. The condition of the person cared for may change on a daily basis making it difficult to predict the demands on the carer.
How do I recognise a carer?