Tag Archives: Carers


Are re you a carer?

If you look after your partner, or a relative or friend who is ill or disabled, you are a carer, even if you don’t think of yourself that way.

There are many ways that you might care for someone.

For instance you might:

  • be on hand 24 hours a day to provide care
  • arrange hospital appointments for someone
  • drop round each day to keep someone company or cook their dinner
  • visit a relative who lives far away once a month to see how they’re doing.
  • Whether you’ve cared for the person for a long time, are temporarily helping them (for example, while they recuperate from an operation), or have just become a carer, take time to review your options and find out what support is available to you.

To establish your rights as a carer refer to  Age UK on the following link

The Care Act comes into force in May 2015. It changes the way the social care system will work in the future.

You’ve probably heard about the biggest change: a care cap that means no-one will spend more than £72,000 of their own money on their care needs.

If you need care, or look after someone who does, you’ll need to know how care is changing.


Ways it may affect you from April 2015:

  • You will have a right to a free needs assessment from your council, even if it thinks your finances are too high or your needs are too low to qualify for help.
  • All councils will use a new national eligibility criteria to decide whether someone can get help from them.
  • If you get social care support, you will now have a right to request a personal budget if you’re not offered one. This is a summary of how much the council thinks your care should cost. This might be useful if you want to pay for your own care. This will become more important when you have a care account from April 2016 (see below).
  • If your needs assessment shows you don’t qualify for help from the council, they must advise you how the care system works and how to pay for your own care. So if you just need a hand with housework, for example, the council should assist you in finding this.
  • You can defer selling your home to pay your care fees until after your death.
  • If you’re paying for your own care, you can ask the council to arrange your services for you. It can only charge you as much as someone whose care they are funding.
  • If you’re a carer, you have a legal right to a care assessment from the local council. You can also get support services if you qualify for them.
  • If you find it difficult to communicate or to understand the issues being discussed, the council must provide an advocate to help you when discussing your care. They will represent your interests if you don’t have a friend or relative who can help
  • The council must provide preventative services that could reduce or delay your need for care. For example, intermediate care at home after a hospital stay could help keep you independent for longer.

Ways it may affect you from April 2016:

  • It becomes even more important to get a needs assessment, as the council will then set you up with a care account. This tracks the amount of money spent on your eligible care needs. The word ‘eligible’ is important as it only includes the needs covered by your assessment. So if you decide to hire a cleaner but the needs assessment doesn’t say you need this help, the cost of that won’t be included.
  • There will be a cap on how much you have to spend on your care needs. Anything you or the council spend on your eligible needs will be added up in your care account. Once it reaches £72,000, the council will pay for all your eligible needs. This excludes your daily living costs, which include things like your food and accommodation in a care home.
  • The council can reassess your care needs, even if you pay for your own care. This is because the council works out how much your care should cost to meet your eligible needs, and adds this up in your care account. It needs to check every so often that the amount it thinks you should be spending is still right.
  • New rules about top-up fees in care homes mean you may be able to pay them yourself. Top-up fees may apply if you move into a care home that costs more than the council can pay.
  • If you’re not happy about a decision, you have a new right to complain and appeal it, and for this to be independently investigated.


                         For more information:
Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 6565

To all carers

You  can obtain local support at the Ealing Carers – details on a previous blog

When you’re caring for someone it’s easy to overlook your own needs. But looking after your health and making time for yourself can help you feel better and manage better with your caring role.

Your health

Tell your GP you’re a carer, and discuss the impact this is having on your own health. They will be able to offer you advice and support, and you may be entitled to additional health services such as a free annual flu jab if the person you care for has a serious or ongoing health problem.
Although it can be difficult, try to make sure that you eat healthily, stay active and get enough sleep.

Don’t feel like you need to do everything yourself. If you have relatives who live nearby, try to be honest with them if you need a hand or want to share the responsibility.

I’m Emotional health

Don’t overlook your emotional health. Family and friends, carers’ groups , your GP or counsellor, or organisations like Samaritans can all provide you with space to talk about how you’re feeling.


If you care for someone with dementia, it can be hard to share any feelings of guilt, sadness, confusion or anger with them, leaving you feeling isolated. It’s important to acknowledge your feelings, and remember there’s no right or wrong way to feel.


Your social life

It’s a good idea to take up a hobby or activity, such as going to an exercise group or an evening class, if you can. Taking part in an activity you enjoy will give you the opportunity to do something for yourself – it’s important that you have your own interests and make time to pursue them where you can.

Your local library can provide information about social activities, events, education and courses. The University of the Third Age (U3A) can also tell you about courses in your area.

Please refer to a previous blog


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Are you a carer?

imageDuring my many years as a GP I have been amazed at how some people dedicate their lives to caring for family members or friends. They are a silent army of people who soldier on day after day providing  often 24 hour care with little or no reward except seeing their loved ones well cared for and are to be respected and praised.
What is a carer?
Carers trustA carer is someone of any age who provides unpaid support to family or friends who could not manage without this help. This could be caring for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.
Anyone can become a carer; carers come from all walks of life, all cultures and can be of any age. Many feel they are doing what anyone else would in the same situation; looking after their mother, son, or best friend and just getting on with it.
Carers don’t choose to become carers: it just happens and they have to get on with it; if they did not do it, who would and what would happen to the person they care for?

One of my first experiences of witnessing the unceasing dedicated work of a carer was Gwen who was caring for husband Tom. Tom had been suffering from multiple sclerosis since the age of 42yrs having worked underground as a miner since he was a young boy. He was now in his 60’s and had been bedbound for many years and was totally reliant on his wife to even change position in bed. Gwen would not even contemplate respite care for him and dutifully tended his needs every day and night. Her family were concerned for their mother’s health hence we decided to write to the MS Society asking if they could fund an adjustable bed as an aid for Gwen when lifting Tom to change him.

I recall the day vividly when I was invited along with neighbours and family to see the new bed arrive. Tom was absolutely thrilled because for the first time in many years he could be raised to a sitting position and watch the children playing in the park and to become part of the World outside again. Gwen was pleased to have the mechanical help to change his posture especially as she had been getting tired and weary but now could relax with him and view the world together. Carers requests are often so humble and unless someone makes the request on their behalf they ask for very little.

At last it is being recognised, after a year-long investigation by Carers UK the stark reality faced by those looking after loved ones who are older, disabled or seriously ill: loss of savings, debt and struggling to afford food and heating aswell as the physical and mental sufferings of the carer.
Read how Carers UK are helping carers and their families
This website will also provide information for you to find out about your local services.

Ealing Carers’ Centre

This is a resource and support centre for all unpaid carers, of any age, in the borough. The centre is managed, in partnership with Ealing Council, by Carers Connect, a consortium led by the Ealing Centre for Independent Living and including Ealing Mencap, Dementia Concern Ealing and Crossroads Care West London.

46 South Ealing Road, Ealing. London, W5 4QA
Tel: (020) 8840 1566

Fax: (020) 8840 5688

Email Carers’ Centre:
Opening hours: Mon–Fri, 9.30am–4.30pm (except bank holidays and other seasonal breaks)

The centre provides:

  • advice and resource information
  • holistic therapies
  • free exercise classes
  • an internet café
  • a large meeting room

It hosts carers networking groups and works in partnership with statutory and non-statutory agencies to enhance services for carers.

A list events and activities at the centre is provided on the Ealing Carers’ Centre website.

You don’t have to be a member to use the services available at the Carers’ Centre or the Ealing Centre for Independent Living (ECIL). However, carers can join the organisation by filling in the online ECIL membership application form. Members will receive the regular ECIL mailing of social and campaigning news, as well as the Carers’ Connection newsletter.

Support services
Staff at the centre have information about a variety of different services provided by Ealing Council and local organisations. Appointments can be made at the centre for one-to-one benefits advice or for legal advice on some areas. Emotional support is also available from people who understand carers’ concerns.

The Carers’ Centre does not currently carry out carer’s assessments, which can be arranged by contacting the social services customer contact centre on (020) 8825 8000, or visiting your local social
services reception point.

Respite care for older people

Short breaks for older people are stays in a residential/nursing home to provide respite for the older person or their carer.

The short breaks service for older people provides:

  • short breaks for carers of older people by offering the older person a brief period in a residential/nursing home
  • short breaks for older people whose well being would be enhanced by a brief period in residential/nursing home

A short break can be considered as a stay for one or two days, but is usually offered in blocks for up to two weeks.

Under this planned short breaks service, the maximum breaks that anyone can have is a total of eight weeks over a twelve month period where there are exceptional circumstances. A total of four weeks is the usual limit.

EalingHELP – new group for parents and carers of children with disabilities in Ealing
A Facebook group has been launched  for parents and carers of children with disabilities in Ealing and West London to share information and experiences. You can join at

Jointly is an app that makes caring for someone a little easier, less stressful and a lot more organised by making communication and coordination between those who share the care as easy as a text message.
Jointly app
Jointly app
Click on the above text

If you or you know someone who is a young carer
YCNet, at, is the only dedicated website and online support service for children and young people under the age of 18, who help to look after someone in their family with an illness, disability, drug/alcohol addiction or mental health problem.

Down's syndrome

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Posted by on February 13, 2014 in Training and Advice


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This resource has been designed to help people with mental health concerns and people who are carers

The site is intended to give people information to help them understand mental health issues and to assist people in making better informed decisions about their life and personal choices.

The site is also intended to give carers useful information about the demands, stresses and implications of being a carer.

They have gathered together lots of videos, documents, quotes and tips & hints which you will find useful.

This website will give you many insights into all aspects of mental health:-

Mental health


Posted by on February 5, 2014 in Training and Advice


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Mulberry centre

I was talking to one of our patients who has recently been diagnosed and treated for Cancer and I know this has been a very worrying time and it is not only difficult for the patient but can be distressing for the close friends and relatives and I was told how The Mulberry Centre had provided important support during this difficult time.
The Mulberry Centre was opened about 12 years ago with the purpose of providing support and information for anyone affected by cancer, as well as offering practical ways of enhancing physical, psychological and emotional well-being.


Since it has been operational The Mulberry Centre has grown and adapted its services to meet the needs of the people they aim to serve.  As people are living longer with a cancer diagnosis, they recognise that their needs may change over time. They have been able to respond not just the physical manifestation of the disease, but also the emotional and practical impacts on people’s lives.

They aim to deliver a range of information and support services to all people affected by a diagnosis of cancer: to the cancer patient, friends and family, carers and those bereaved by cancer.  Services include complementary and relaxation therapies, ongoing one to one support on a drop-in basis, counselling sessions and support groups, plus a wide range of workshops.  The combination of information, support, self-management and relaxation helps people feel in control; it helps them to make the right decisions to manage both the physical and mental trauma of a cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
Carers are wives, husbands, partners… parents, grandparents… sons, daughters, friends or neighbours…it can be any one of us. We come from all walks of life, cultures, any age; you might not think of yourself as a carer, you might consider yourself as just looking after someone close to you; you are a carer.
Our services are offered free of charge.

Who to contact

Telephone020 8321 6300
Where to go
Name of venue
The Mulberry Centre (West Middlesex Hospital)
Venue address
Twickenham Road
PostcodeTW7 6AF
When is it on?
Session Information Monday to Friday – 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
1st & 3rd Thursday of each month – 10.00 am to 8.00 pm
Mulberry centre

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Posted by on February 2, 2014 in Training and Advice


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If you read the main website on the following link you will be able to view the practise profile and what actions have been taken following previous PPG meetings.
Last year was directed at health education and a major reason for starting this blog.


• To give Practice staff and patients the opportunity to discuss topics of mutual interest in the Practice.
• To provide the means for patients to make positive suggestions about the Practice and their own healthcare.
• To encourage health education activities within the Practice.
• To develop self-help projects to meet the needs of fellow patients.
• To act as a representative group that can be called upon to influence the local provision of health and social care.
• To involve further patients from the wider population.

imageAs I am sure you are all aware the NHS has become NHS ENGLAND and has reinvented itself with the prime aim to improve the health outcomes for people in England.


We believe the new approach we are taking will really make a difference and deliver the improved health outcomes we all want to see.

Central to our ambition is to place the patients and the public at the heart of everything we do. We are what we want the NHS to be – open, evidence-based and inclusive, to be transparent about the decisions we make, the way we operate and the impact wehave.

We encourage patient and public participation in the NHS, treat them respectfully and put their interests first. This allows us to develop the insight to help us improve outcomes and guarantee no community is left behind or disadvantaged.

We empower and support clinical leaders at every level of the NHS through clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), networks and senates, in NHS England itself and in providers, helping them to make genuinely informed decisions, spend the taxpayers’ money wisely and provide high quality services.

Engaging with our staff is equally important to us too. Our staff are what makes NHS England an excellent organisation: an exemplar in customer focus, professionalism, rigour and creativity.

Grounded by the values and principles of the NHS Constitution, we are an organisation who shares ideas and knowledge, successes and failures, and listens to each other carefully and thoughtfully.

At NHS England, we practice what we preach. By working collaboratively and building coalitions with partners everywhere means we can achieve greater things together and deliver the best patient service not only in England but in the world.


It is with this in mind that we are continuing to develop our PPG and your views as patients will be important when we have our CQC inspection.
We need your support during the changes that are anticipated and feedback from you to establish what is going well and we need your positive suggestions as to how we can make improvements to the practise and your healthcare.

Small practises such as ours are under threat and we are finding ways as to how we can work more closely with other local practises and have started to share resources such as anticoagulant management,lung function measurement,children’s phlebotomy and nursing home patient care as well as training our staff. We recently held our cardio-pulmonary support training session with staff from other practises and patients were also invited.

We have joined a network with other local practises to meet to discuss care pathways for patients with complex medico-social problems as well as finding learning needs and addressing them.
Doctors and/or practise manager always attend CCG meetings so that we keep up to date with local and national changes and a chance to meet doctors from other networks to formulate ways of improving health care by commissioning.
The 2013/14 prosectus and links can be found on the following website

Following the CQC inspection there will inevitably be suggestions of actions that need to be actioned. You may have noticed certain changes such as all staff wear name badges including me when I remember! Also there are EXIT signs and all staff are being trained in more advanced health and safety including fire safety. All staff are trained regularly in first aid and life support and awareness of patients with particular needs.
We have all been alerted to the special needs of patients with learning disability and sensory impairment and are attempting to find ways of accommodating them sensitively as advised by healthcare professionals who are expert in this field.

What are our priorities and vision for the future?
Ealing CCG has seven overarching priority areas of work, as follows:
*A better start in life – increasing breastfeeding initiation, reducing avoidable childhood injuries, and increasing childhood immunisations.
*Increasing life expectancy – reducing cardiovascular disease deaths, reducing cancer deaths; and reducing alcohol-related hospital admissions.
*Shifting unplanned care towards planned care – increasing the amount of services delivered in a community setting, improving unplanned care services in Ealing, and reducing the delays in hospital discharges.
*Reducing variations in primary care – better early diagnosis and treatment, and reducing variations in hospital referral patterns by GPs.
*Improving recovery – increasing the range and access to rehabilitation services.
* Enhanced mental health services – increasing the provision of community services.
* Improving care at the end of life – increasing the proportion of deaths in preferred places.

These are the areas of work which we are discussing in our CCG meetings and implementing in our networks and in the practise.

The main areas a PPG can help are:-
*Improving services provided by the surgery
Carrying out surveys into a whole variety of subjects eg health needs/expectations and major cause of ill-health in a particular area.
• To explore the changing needs of patients.
• Measure patient satisfaction.
• Gather ideas for improvements or modifications needed for the delivery of services.
• Discussions at meetings.

*Offering support to other patients
e.g Befriending service, Carers Group

*Improving facilities at the surgery
• Fundraising for new furniture, toys or decorating.
• Keeping the plants or gardens of the surgery maintained.
• General environmental improvements.

*Providing health promotion and education
e.g diabetes awareness day,contributions to the blog and notices added to our notice board.

* Supporting voluntary organisations in the area
e.g Age UK, MIND, Heart Foundation, Cancer UK, Dementia Concern
We have several patients who make contributions to these and other organisations

This year the CCG want to particularly want to focus on Carers
Many people who are caring for someone do not necessarily see themselves as a ‘carer’. Rather they are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, partners, husbands, wives or neighbours. However, being identified as a carer by the council can help you get the right support you need to look after the person you care for.
To understand what support can be given to Carers the following website is helpful



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