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Carers have been vital in helping vulnerable people manage their health and care needs during the coronavirus outbreak. Carers are a key partner, alongside the health service, in managing the needs of the people they look after. That’s not all: carers also form a hugely significant group of patients who need particular support to look after their own health.

It is important that the health services recognise the role that carers play, helping them to be a part of decision making, accessing advice about caring, while helping them look after their own health at the same time.

From simple one-off actions to ongoing commitments, there are all kinds of ways for health services to recognise a carers’ role including involving and consulting them about the treatment of the person they care for while maintaining their own health The more visible carers are to the wider health and care system, the more their contribution and need for support will be recognised.


GP practices Hospitals  Pharmacies

GP practices

GPs are in touch with carers every day either as patients or on behalf of those they care for. There are lots of things that GP surgeries can do to create an environment where carers are identified and supported to look after their own health and wellbeing while caring for their loved one:

  • Encourage carers to identify themselves by including information about carers on the practice website, in the practice leaflets and in practice newsletters.
  • Include notes on patient records both whether the patient has a carer, and if so who that carer is, but also if the patient is a carer. If they are, ask them how they are managing their caring and whether they need support with it.
  • You could send a letter to any patients with a condition which suggests they are likely to have a carer. The letter could include information explaining what's available for carers and could encourage their carers to identify themselves to the practice.
  • Develop a practice policy for carers informed by carers and the patient participation group. Appoint a carer lead(s) to champion it.
  • Send out information during Carers Week, helping to connect families with available support services.
  • Get in touch with your local carers' service to check what they offer, so that you can let patients know quickly and easily what support is available.
  • Ask patients who report fatigue, stress, anxiety or depression if they are an unpaid carer, and connect them to support if they do.

Pledge to support carers


Many of the patients who come into hospital will be cared for by a relative or they will have caring responsibilities themselves. Some hospitals are recognising that supporting families means that the patient is better supported too. Carers can be of any age, from a young carer to a centenarian.

There are many simple actions that hospitals can take to support carers:

  • Introduce Carer Passports for carers of patients.
  • Introduce carer friendly policies, such as allowing some carers to spend time with their family member or friend outside of visiting hours, or giving them free car parking.
  • Offer flexible appointments for tests to those people with caring responsibilities.
  • Ensure that family members are given the right information and advice on how to care safely and well and understand the implications by ensuring staff are aware of families' needs.
  • Involve carers in decisions about their loved ones' care, including discharge planning if the patient agrees. Carers have expertise and should be respected and listened to.
  • Link with key local organisations to help signpost families to support.

Pledge to take a simple carer friendly action


Pharmacies and community health services often have more direct contact with carers than most other services. They can connect carers to services to make their caring role easier, or to get support with their own health and wellbeing.

There are many simple actions that pharmacies can take to support carers:

  • Help anyone who might be caring to identify themselves as a carer and make sure they know about services you offer for carers such as free flu jabs and the NHS Health Check.
  • Signpost carers to local support services such as a local carers' service.
  • Offer a medication review, with permission from the patient, and help carers with advice on medication (for example about side effects or administering medication) or health and wellbeing.
  • Ensure that the right support and training is available to help carers to care well.
  • Send out information during Carers Week, helping to connect families with available support services.

Pledge to take a simple carer friendly action


Carers Week

Carers Week 2020 headline supporter:


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Carers Week is also supported by:






These organisations have joined together to make Carers Week happen in 2020:

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    • CT - Main Logo - RGB
    • Carers UK new logo
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    • OGB logo green RGB
    • RethinkMentalIllness MasterLogo-transparent


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