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Dorset NHS launch new Hospital Carer Passport in response to carers feedback

by | Nov 21, 2022 | Healthwatch Dorset, Local Healthwatch

On Carers Rights Day (24 Nov 2022), hospitals across Dorset will launch a new Hospital Carer Passport to help carers be recognised and supported while they are caring for someone who is in hospital.

This new scheme meets one of the recommendations made by Healthwatch Dorset in a recent report on carers experiences of supporting loved ones leaving hospital to recover at home – a process called Home First.

Louise Bate, Healthwatch Dorset Manager, said: “Learning from people’s experiences and feedback is key to developing and improving health and care services. We shared carers feedback with NHS Dorset along with ideas for improvement to help with the redesign of the Home First service. We’re delighted that the Hospital Carer Passport is being introduced to make sure carers needs are recognised and supported more effectively while they are caring for someone in hospital.”

Read the report: Carers experiences of Dorset Home First service: Discharging patients from hospital and supporting them to recover at home

NHS Dorset have issued the following statement

Launch of ‘Our Dorset’ Hospital Carer Passport

Hospitals across Dorset recognise the vital role that carers play in the health and wellbeing of those they care for.

Hospital staff recognise that carers are often the experts in their cared-for person’s care and want to support and work with carers to ensure a smooth patient and carer experience in hospital.

Dorset County Hospital, Dorset Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, and University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust have come together, with the support of local carers and other carer professionals, to create an ‘Our Dorset’ Hospital Carer Passport. The aim is to help carers be recognised and supported with their stay in hospital.

The purpose of the Carer Passport is to clearly identify carers when their cared-for person is admitted into hospital and for staff to welcome, involve and support carers while also helping them to understand the needs of the cared-for person throughout their hospital stay.

Carers have a right, but not a duty, to continue to care while their cared-for person is in hospital.

Ali Low, Matron at Westminster Memorial Hospital/Yeatman Hospital, said: “Knowing who the carer is for our patients is so important as they know their loved-one best. As staff we always put the patient at the centre of all that we do. It is crucial that we work with carers to understand the individual needs of our patients so that we can provide the best care possible enabling them to reach full potential.

“Using a Carer Passport on the ward shows patients and their carers that we value their knowledge and experience and want to work with them throughout their admission and subsequent discharge, recognising what matters most to them. The Carers Passport enables carers to be fully involved in all aspects of the patient’s journey from the beginning, it helps staff have a greater understanding of a patient’s individual needs.”

The Carer Passport scheme includes:*

  • Flexibility with visiting times
  • Inclusion in care
  • Inclusion to assist at mealtimes
  • Involvement in discussing and planning for discharge
  • Access to information about patient care (with relevant consent)

*Each hospital’s passport offer may differ.

The benefit of a Hospital Carer Passport encourages hospital staff to have ‘carer conversations’ to ensure carers are involved and supported in their cared-for person’s care from admission through to discharge. For this reason, Carer Passports are non-transferrable from hospital to hospital.

Mark, a carer, said: “Communication is the key challenge to face, or rather lack of communication. Getting the message across to the medical specialists about the particular needs and wants of the patient’s medical needs is so important. We need staff to realise every patient is individual and no one has all the answers, but they can listen to us as a carer. I’m not a medical professional but I am a reasonable expert in my own wife…”

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