Caregiving: The Costs, Concerns & Choices

Did you know that there are currently around 6 million people in Britain helping and supporting their family, partners or friends who are ill or disabled?

Caregiving, which can most often be unpaid, can cause an incredible impact on an individual’s life, whether it’s the person giving the care or receiving the care. This just shows that increasing the awareness surrounding caregiving is crucial for all parties, which is where the below infographic comes in, as it outlines the key costs, concerns and the options involved around caregiving.

Whether you’re a professional caregiver, friend or family caregiver, someone looking for advice on caregiving or someone in need of a carer, check out the below infographic by UKS Mobility and help spread the awareness of caregiving.

The infographic outlines what exactly caregiving involves, the financial and emotional costs which can impact an individual, some key concerns and myths, how to find the right caregiver, as well as depicting the various options regarding caregiving.

Caregiving Costs Concerns and Choices
Caregiving Costs Concerns and Choices

Going The Extra Mile: Showing Emotional Support For Patients

Going The Extra Mile: Showing Emotional Support For Patients
Going The Extra Mile: Showing Emotional Support For Patients

Whether you are a nurse, a doctor, or even a caregiver, there are many ways in which you may have been trained to show support for your patients. If you put yourself in the shoes of one of your patient, you will quickly realize there are many things that would change. For most, a patient has some type illness or issue that prevents them from being healthy and performing normal activities that you may take for granted.

When considering patients, it’s important to remember what they are going through, and some of the possible side effects of the diagnosis they may receive. There are many physical, emotional, and even financial repercussions that may result from a medical diagnosis provided to a patient. Sympathizing and understanding the struggles or challenges they may be dealing with is one of the most important things that a caregiver can provide.

As a medical professional, your employer most likely trained you to undergo the common steps to helping a patient while they are in the realm of your care. Some of these steps include ensuring they are comfortable in the hospital, making sure they are being supervised, and ensuring they are recovering or gaining strength from whichever illness they may be overcoming while in your care. Outside of these core values, there are plenty of personal aspects in which medical professionals can show emotional support for their patients.

Show Concern

Outside of your daily routines and tasks in the office, it’s important that you show emotional concern and support for all patients you come into contact with. Take the extra step, and go outside of just providing the care they need, and checking on them regularly. Like stated before, put yourself in their shoes and try to empathize what they are dealing with on a day to day basis. Take a moment to think about some of the thoughts that are going through the patient’s head, and think of ways in which you can relate to them.

Initiate regular conversations with your patient, and ask them about family life and friends outside of the hospital. Not only does this show concern, but it helps the patient to relieve their mind of the current position they are in, and reflect upon things outside of their day to day events within the care facility.

Give Suggestions

The opinions and viewpoints of medical professionals such as doctors and nurses are valued at higher levels than they may imagine. When speaking with a patient, provide them with genuine suggestions that can help improve their daily routine. Speak with them about nutrition, dieting, and exercising habits that can aid in their recovery process. Maybe suggest support groups that can help their families outside of the care facility when coping with the current situation. Doctors and nurses can also provide resources to help the patient learn more about the medicine they are taking, and suggest online readings that can further educate their family on some of the normal or regular occurrences that patients may be dealing with.

Lend a Helping Hand

For that special bond, consider offering a helping hand to the patient or person under care. These can be smaller steps that make a large impact on a patient’s well-being and emotions. If you feel a special connection with someone dealing with cancer, go the extra mile and bring in a dessert of their choice one day. Or, offer to bake a meal for the patient’s family.

Is there an area of life, outside of the patients control that is bothering them? Perhaps there is a leak in their home that they cannot tend to because of their current status. Take the extra step, and coordinate a repairman to visit the patient’s home to take care of the leak. Completing small tasks such as these can make a larger-scale impact on a patient’s emotions and help them to stay more positive while they are under the care of medical professionals.

Do you know someone currently sick, or dealing with an illness or disease that has affected their ability to perform day to day tasks? Stop and brainstorm ways in which those providing care for these individuals can make a positive impact on patients and their emotions. The smallest gestures of kindness and concern can make a larger-scale impact than you may imagine. In what ways can you help someone dealing with a similar situation?

Carers Rights Day 2016 – Caregivers will your quality of life improve in the next year? take our poll

Carers Rights Day 2016
Carers Rights Day 2016

This Friday 25th November sees the commemoration of Carers Rights Day 2016. As the caregiver of a 10 year old boy on the autism spectrum the day is of particular significance to my wife and I.

During 2016 Carers UK conducted a survey and found the 54% of respondents (ie caregivers) believe that their quality of life will get worse while just 6% thought it would improve. To read more about the State of Caring Survey please go here.

So I wondered why your view was. Please take this poll and share your thoughts and feeling in the comments section below!

Many thanks in advance!

Lack of community services to support carers is piling pressure on emergency care

Lack of community services to support carers is piling pressure on NHS emergency care
Lack of community services to support carers is piling pressure on NHS emergency care

Due to a lack of appropriate support in the community, unpaid carers are reluctantly taking their loved ones to A&E, according to new research published today by Carers UK [1]. The charity’s report comes as the NHS prepares for its annual challenge of increased A&E visits and hospital admissions during the winter months.

Carers identified serious difficulties accessing primary and community support services, with 1 in 5 saying they had no option but to take their loved one to A&E because it was impossible to see a district nurse or a GP out of hours, and 1 in 10 saying they didn’t know where else to go.

The report, Pressure points, found that the majority of carers who have taken their loved one to A&E in the past 12 months believe their admission could have been prevented with more (55%) or higher quality support (50%) for the person they care for, more local support for them as a carer (32%) or access to a district nurse (25%).

A reduction in the provision of local care and support services is contributing to a rise in A&E visits and hospital admissions, as families say they have nowhere else to turn. Indeed, there were over 500,000 more visits to A&E in the first quarter of 2016 than the same period last year [2].

This growing demand on the NHS is forcing many people to be discharged from hospital too early, often without the right support in place at home and without proper consultation with their family. Over half of carers (58%) said that the person they care for had been discharged from hospital too early; with 12% saying their loved one had to be readmitted at a result. Not only is this counterproductive for the health of the person being cared for but it also causes undue stress and anxiety for families and friends who are often unprepared to take on caring responsibilities or coordinate aftercare themselves.

A lack of community health and care support is not only resulting in more people being admitted – or readmitted – to hospital, but it is also leading to many people having to stay in hospital for longer than necessary as they wait for an appropriate care package to be put in place to enable them to go home. What’s more, the cost to the NHS of delays in discharging older patients alone is £820 million a year [3]; with the number of delayed discharges, and therefore costs, continuing to rise [4].

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:

“The majority of care provided in England is not by doctors, nurses or care workers, but by family and friends. These carers have told us that they aren’t able access the support they need, when they need it, from community health and care services, so they are reluctantly having to turn to A&E.
“What’s more, a lack of consultation, support and information at the point their loved one is discharged from hospital means that many families are taking on a caring role in a crisis and feel unprepared. This isn’t sustainable and is leading to many people being readmitted to hospital shortly after they’ve been discharged, piling more pressure on an already stretched NHS.

“With more and more families picking up caring responsibilities and older people with care needs being encouraged to stay at home for longer, a step-change is urgently needed to boost investment in community services and involve carers in decisions about the support they, and their loved ones, need to manage at home.”

 Carers UK is calling for:

A Carer Friendly NHS programme, introducing a new duty on the NHS to identify carers and promote their health and wellbeing, as well as policies which ensure carers are involved in decision making around hospital admissions and discharges, and the adoption of a Carer Passport scheme

Increased funding for social care, with the Government putting in place a sustainable funding settlement for social care and ring fencing funding for carer breaks

Greater access to social care and health care in the community, including looking to new technologies to facilitate virtual health consultations and access to electronic patient records

Greater support from primary care services to better help carers look after their own health, including annual health checks for carers and free flu jabs

To download your copy of Carers UK’s Pressure points: carers and the NHS report, visit: www.carersuk.org/pressurepoints

Carers UK recognises that deciding to care or continue caring for someone who is coming out of hospital can be very difficult. The charity has published a fact sheet which outlines carers’ rights during the hospital discharge process, the steps that should be followed before the person is discharged from hospital and advice on what to do if things go wrong. The fact sheet, Coming out of hospital, is available at: www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/practical-support/coming-out-of-hospital

 

[1] Pressure points: carers and the NHS (2016) Carers UK

[2] A&E Attendances & Emergency Admission Statistics, NHS and independent sector organisations in England (July 2016) NHS England

 

Total A&E Attendances
2015 2016 Percentage change
January 1,732,067 1,906,920 10.10%
February 1,654,846 1,870,776 13.05%
March 1,942,967 2,087,553 7.44%
TOTALS 5,329,880 5,865,249 10.04%

 

[3] Discharging older patients from hospital (2016) National Audit Office

[4] Monthly A&E Report (June 2016) NHS England: In June 2016, there were a total of 171,300 delayed days, of which 115,400 were in acute care – an increase of 31,800 from June 2015.

For practical advice and information about caring, contact the Carers UK Adviceline on 0808 808 7777 (10am-4pm, Monday-Friday) or email advice@carersuk.org. Our listening service is available Mondays and Tuesdays, between 9am-7pm.