In this episode the focus is on informal unpaid carers in the health and social care system. Who carers are, and the roles they perform, are honoured as amazing strengths that can be relied upon. However, the role comes with burdens and pressures, and services have not been so quick to see carers as a priority for the vital support they need.
The focus for this episode was triggered through reading an article by Nicci Gerrard in the Observer newspaper (UK Sunday broadsheet). She was reflecting on her father’s experiences of dementia, and more specifically on the damaging effect of a hospital admission on his ability to function independently. It is not a way of blaming staff or the service, but more a reality check on how the demands of an ageing population are overloading the existing service.
John’s Campaign has been established to promote greater access for carers on to hospital wards, particularly to continue supporting their loved ones who have succumbed to dementia. The costs are very minimal and the benefits for patients, carers and staff are very significant. Good practice in this issue exists in small pockets, but the challenge of the campaign is for best practice to become standard practice everywhere.
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“To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors.” [Tia Walker].
“I am sickened that the government thinks my value is so low when actually carers save the government billions.” [Anonymous carer survey response].