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Carers Week 2016: Carer friendly communities

Every year the charity Carers UK runs a campaign “carers week” centred around those who give their time and endless dedication to caring for their loved ones. The overall aim of the charity it to provide support and improve the lives of those who care, or have cared for, the elderly, sick, disabled, infirm friends or family members. They hope to improve the physical and mental well being of those who care for others, particularly by advancing education for carers on their rights, and to the general members of the public on the role of carers.

Carer Friendly Communities

For carers week 2016 the campaign is focusing on ‘Carer Friendly Communities’ so that carers are better enabled to feel supported within their local communities in their roles as a carer. The charity is asking for local events which recognise carers as individuals with needs of their own, and for their efforts to be acknowledged and supported. They are asking people to recommend organisations, services and employers who are already ‘carer friendly’ and inviting other organisations to use their checklist to commit to becoming carer friendly.

The Carers Week campaign highlights the need for everyone in our communities to take responsibility and look out for those caring for others and proactively offer help and support to them.

This includes:

  • Educational establishments whose staff or pupils are carers;
  • Employers who have employees who are also carers;
  • Commercial care service providers commissioned by agencies or local authorities to provide care;
  • GP services.

The campaign seeks for us all to be more aware and think about whether we can reach out to carers in our community and offer our support; some of their suggestions include:

  • For students ensuring that their timetables can be flexible and that they can access remote learning;
  • Take steps to identify student carers, offer support and understanding and introduce caring as a topic within the school curriculum;
  • For employers to introduce and promote flexible working policies;
  • To introduce paid care leave so that holiday time is not needed to cover emergency situations and invest in an employee assistance programme;
  • For those who provide commercial care packages to take into consideration the family member or friends who provide gratuitous care; to actively seek and include their input into the care plans;
  • To share assessments and plans with unpaid carers and to ensure they are signposted to receive the help and support they need;
  • For GP surgeries to consider offering flexible or priority appointments for carers;
  • For GP surgeries to activity promote information for carers, through notices and leaflets;
  • To provide active support for carers by asking a carer how they are coping and what help they need.

Our experience:

I and my colleagues in the Clinical Negligence Team are humbled on a daily basis by the work many of our clients’ family members undertake in providing them with unwavering care, love and support after suffering injury due to medical negligence.  Many of our clients have suffered life changing injuries, which affect not only the person injured, but the whole family. Much more significant support is needed to give adequate and high quality respite care so that carers can have a break, knowing that their child or relative are in very safe hands, as well as providing much needed support to carers.

A successful clinical negligence claim will seek financial compensation to cover the costs of care, which is usually the most expensive element of the case, demonstrative of the high level of care (often nursing care in nature) that our clients require. Having additional care aims to allow parents or family members to be just that, enjoying quality time with their loved one and relieving them of the strenuous burden of being a full time carer.

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