The Colleagues As Carers group at the Princess Royal Hospital, which was launched in Spring this year, is keen to let staff know that support and resources are available if they are unpaid, informal carers.
“One of the main issues for us,” says Avril Harrington, Carers Wellbeing Support, Princess Royal Hospital Group Lead, “is that people who are looking after a member of their family, or a friend or neighbour, don’t see themselves as carers, so they don’t seek out advice or information.
“It’s important that staff who are carers are aware of the support that’s available and that they don’t miss out on vital services. And if staff carers know there are support services out there, they’ll be more likely to pass this on to carers they come into contact within the hospital.”
The impact on anyone, who’s looking after a partner, relative, friend or neighbour who is frail, disabled or has a serious health condition, can be big. And it can also be hidden. There is still a degree of sensitivity around being a carer, and some may be reticent to mention this to colleagues.
Estimates suggest there could be just under 1,000 BSUH employees who have an unpaid caring role, and this can affect all aspects of their life - health, job, finances and social activities. Carers may feel isolated, guilty, overwhelmed even.
The Colleagues As Carers group meets once a month. “It’s an opportunity,” Avril says, “for staff carers to share concerns and experiences, provide each other with support and hopefully help to reduce some of the stress they’re having to deal with outside work.”
To self-refer or for information for a colleague, please contact the team at: Tel: PRH Ext: 8383 or email: HospitalWorkersReferrals@CarersSupportWS.onmicrosoft.com.
For carers in Brighton and Hove, please contact the Carers Hub at: www.carershub.co.uk, or phone 01273 977000.