Council offers support for more than 60,000 carers
By Matt Hall | 21st May 2020
Gloucestershire County Council and the NHS in Gloucestershire are making sure a legion of unpaid carers can continue to receive the support they need during the COVID-19 crisis.
The service, which is provided by Gloucestershire Carers Hub, means that 'informal carers' can access up to date information, advice and guidance, as well as emotional and practical support, as they care for loved ones during these uncertain times.
A carer is defined as somebody, of any age, who provides support or who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of frailty, physical or mental illness, or disability. 1 in 10 people in Gloucestershire is a carer.
Many carers are currently shielding with the person they care for, isolated at home with varying support needs.
- Carers who need access to food and medication have been supported with deliveries via the Community Help Hub, and been given a letter for them to show at supermarkets, so they can access priority slots in store and online.
- Most carers' respite breaks have been stopped at the request of the carer, so the hub is making welfare calls to carers to check on their wellbeing and hosting virtual coffee mornings. There's also a WhatsApp group for carers to chat with other carers, and regular updates from the hub.
- Carers who are concerned about their loved one dying during this period can receive support. The Hub has a newly formed partnership arrangement with Sue Ryder, who have registered nurses responding to a dedicated phone line to support carers with end of life questions. They also signpost people to the Hospital Hub, which can support carers who have loved ones in hospital.
The council is keen for every carer to register with Gloucestershire Carers Hub so that they can benefit from the help offered. This includes adding carers on to the Carers Emergency Scheme, which builds on personal contingency planning and can mean that extra emergency support is available for them if it is needed. For example if a carer was unable to take care of their family or friend due to a change in their own health or personal circumstances.
Cllr Kathy Williams, cabinet member for adult social care at Gloucestershire County Council, said: "It's a worrying time for informal carers; many are isolating at home with the person they care for and we want to make sure they can access all of the support they need.
"Carers are unsung heroes who work hard day in and day out and they can get forgotten. Sometimes people don't even realise that they would be classed as a carer, so don't realise that support is available for them, and this is something we are keen to change.
"This week, when you are clapping on Thursday please clap for unpaid carers too."
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