Carers

Families and carers play a vital role in supporting people with physical and mental health problems, including those with addictions to drugs or alcohol.

Being a carer is often a difficult and – for some – lonely role, but this support is invaluable. If you care for someone, we want to work with you, involve you in the service we provide, and make your life a little easier.

We define a carer as ‘a person who provides unpaid help and support to a partner, child, relative or friend, who could not manage without this help’. You may be eligible for a ‘carer's assessment’ – this is an opportunity to discuss what support or services you need. The assessment will look at how caring affects your life, including for example, physical, mental and emotional needs.

Our staff, with the permission of the service user, always seek to involve friends and family in the care we offer. Your knowledge will be vital in helping us do our best for your friend or loved one – and we want to help you look after yourself, too.

The paragraphs below give more detail about how we can work together effectively. Much of the information in our patients section may also make useful reading.

And you can also learn more about the Valuing Carers in Dorset strategic vision for supporting the wellbeing of carers across Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole.

Help and support for carers

Being a carer can be very demanding and have a huge impact on your own life. These sites offer advice on how to look after yourself and get the support that you need.

Dorset Mental Health Carers Project

Provides advice and support if you are caring for someone with a mental health condition. It works to improve mental health services for carers and their families throughout Dorset by developing peer carer support. It also advises on courses to help support a carer's wellbeing.

Call 01305 340045 or 01202 373305, or email dorsetmentalhealthcarersproject@yahoo.com

Carers’ Resource Information and Support (CRISP)

CRISP provides a wealth of independent advice and support, including information about support groups in your local area. Join the carers community and learn about events, training, discounts and much more. Call 01202 458204 for more details.

My Life My Care

An online resource which features a Carers Hub, offering a range of practical advice and support for carers in all situations. You can also access information by phone – call 01202 454979 (Bournemouth residents), 01202 633902 (Poole residents) or 01305 221016 (people in the rest of Dorset).

You may also find these national websites useful:
Carers UK - Help and advice - ‎Carers UK Forum - ‎Carer's Allowance - ‎Practical support
Carers Trust - Advice, discussion and support for carers

You can also contact Dorset HealthCare’s own Carers Co-ordinator on dhc.carer.support@nhs.net or by calling on 01202 277085.

Services with Carer Officer support

Some of our services offer specialist carer support. These include:

  • Community Acquired Brain Injury Service
  • Community Mental Health Team

Some of our services offer carers support groups. You can see the list below but feel free to check the page of each service for more information.

Locations

Eating Disorders - Carers Support Group (for patients over 18)

Kimmeridge Court,
St Ann's Hospital,
Poole,
Dorset,
BH137LN

View Map

For the relatives/carers of those over 18, the group meets at Kimmeridge Court at St Ann’s Hospital on the last thursday of the month from 19.00 to 20.30.

Eating Disorders - Carers Support Group (for patients under 18)

Kimmeridge Court,
St Ann's Hospital,
Poole,
Dorset,
BH137LN

View Map

For the relatives/carers of those under 18, the group meets at Kimmeridge Court at St Ann’s Hospital on the last Wednesday of the month from 19.00 to 20.30.

Carers Passport – open visiting in our hospitals

As a carer you can expect to be offered the opportunity, should you wish, to be with the person you care for at any time – and not be confined to normal visiting hours.

We now run a Carers Passport scheme at all of our community hospitals.

Under the system, you can identify yourself on arrival and request a badge, or ‘passport’, which allows you to stay beyond regular visiting hours – providing reassurance and additional help for the person you are caring for.

The scheme is based on the national John’s Campaign, which aims to give carers of those living with dementia the right to stay with them in hospital. However, we have opened up our Carers Passport scheme to all carers.

Please chat with any member of hospital staff to find out more.

Our community hospitals have signed up to John’s Campaign via this pledge.

Working with you – the Triangle of Care

The Triangle of Care is a self-assessment tool for mental health service providers developed by the Carers’ Trust. It’s based on the principle that care is improved by having good working relationships between the service user, the mental health professional and the carer.

It helps services think about how they can engage and support carers more effectively, and promote a ‘carer aware’ culture on our hospital wards and in our teams.

Dorset HealthCare is committed to the Triangle of Care, and has cemented that commitment by signing up to its audit process. This means the Carers’ Trust will monitor our progress in implementing these key elements:

  1. Carers and the essential role they play are identified at first contact or as soon as possible thereafter.
  2. Staff are ’carer aware’ and trained in carer engagement strategies.
  3. Policy and practice protocols re: confidentiality and sharing information are in place.
  4. Defined post(s) responsible for carers are in place.
  5. A carer introduction to the service and staff is available, with a relevant range of information across the acute care pathway.
  6. A range of carer support services is available.

We will update this page to keep you informed of our progress.

You can read more about the Triangle of Care at the Carers’ Trust by downloading the following guide: The Triangle of Care - Carers Included: A Guide to Best Practice in Mental Health Care in England


Confidentiality

We have a legal duty to keep information about our patients strictly confidential. If the patient is willing to give consent, we can share information with family members and other carers. But even if consent to share information is not given, you may still talk to staff about the general wellbeing of the patient and the issues affecting their health.

Working with carers, we have produced a good practice guide called Common-sense confidentiality, which offers practical advice for both staff and carers.

In partnership with Bournemouth University and local carers, we have also created a video which you may find useful.

Feedback

Your views are important to us. We want to learn from the experience of people who use our services, including families and carers. You can give feedback simply by talking to the staff providing care (or the service manager), or by submitting compliments, complaints or suggestions in a more formal way. For more information, take a look at our Patient Experience section.

Get involved

As a carer, your views, experiences and opinions can help us develop and improve the services we provide . You can read more about our approach to involving service users and carers in all aspects of our work in our "Join us" section.


Patients and visitors