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Information for carers of people coming into hospital

Information for parents and carers

When the person you are caring for is admitted, the clinical staff will put together a care plan for them. This will record the patient’s disabilities and what your role as carer will be whilst the person you care for is in hospital.

The nurses need to know that it is okay for carers to provide care to the patient if you wish to do so but they should not expect it as a matter of course – many carers use the time when the person they are caring for is in hospital as a respite from caring.

The nurses admitting the person you care for need to negotiate with you what care you want carry out and if the patient is happy with this. This information then needs to be clearly documented for access by all the nursing staff who will come into contact with the patient.

Caring responsibilities

A high percentage of carers feel compelled to stay with the person they support to comfort and reassure them but also to ensure their safety and their needs are understood and met. Many carers feel that there is a lack of awareness of the person they care for’s condition amongst staff and that time pressures mean that staff do not attempt to communicate with the patients properly, resulting in inadequate care, particularly with regards to food, mobility and toileting arrangements.

If you want to use the time while the person you care for is in hospital as respite from caring, you should feel confident that the staff have all the relevant information about the person you care for to care for them effectively. If the patient is unable to communicate for themselves, the staff will consult the ‘Information about me’ form that you will be asked to complete and which will accompany the patient’s care plan.

If you wish to participate in the care of the person you are caring for while they are in hospital, make clear what it is you wish to do and make sure it is recorded in the care plan. If you are providing care, you are entitled to free tea and coffee, meals from the trolley and a free car parking permit. If these are not offered speak to one of the nurses or to PALS.

Staying overnight

Some wards will have overnight stay facilities such as separate rooms with beds or sofa-beds, but if they do not, you should be offered an easy chair and blankets and pillows to make you as comfortable as possible in the circumstances. Speak to one of the nurses about the overnight facilities on the ward.

Who to contact if you have problems

If you have any difficulties in obtaining any of the information or services mentioned in this leaflet or if you think the person you are caring for is not receiving adequate care, you should speak to the person who is managing the ward and show them this leaflet. If you need further advice or support, ask to speak to PALS. PALS is an impartial and on-the-spot service that can provide you with information and help you get the services you need. The PALS office is behind the reception on Level 2 of the main entrance building or you could telephone them on 0118 322 8338.

There is also a Trust leaflet titled Information for carers of people coming into hospital, which you can obtain from the ward or PALS.

The Trust’s Information Point, near Reception on Level 2 has a selection of leaflets for carers. Please visit and help yourself to relevant information.


Useful contacts

Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS)            
0118 322 8338

Learning Disability
Co-ordinator                        0118 322 8159