You may not think of yourself as a carer, particularly if the person with dementia is a partner, parent or close friend.
The importance of a close relationship with an unpaid carer or family member cannot be more valuable. We are proud supporters of John’s Campaign, Carer’s Charter and Carer’s Passport which gives rights for carers to be with their loved one at any time.
Carers (anyone who is the primary support for a person with a dementia when they are not in hospital) should have access to the patient whenever they are needed – whether that is during the day or during the night.
The patient’s needs are at the centre of this access principle. Whatever supports their personal wellbeing is likely to make their medical treatment more effective and will help their discharge from hospital.
We welcome carers in our hospitals. They are an essential part of the patient’s team.
Carers have a right – but not a duty – to be with the person they care for. John’s Campaign focuses on the unpaid “family” carer. If a person with dementia is primarily supported by someone who is paid (eg a trusted home help or companion), that person will also be welcome.
Carers are there to nurture, not to nurse.
Our Carers Charter understands the important role that carers play in supporting their loved ones during a hospital stay, and provides clear guidance on the boundaries staff and carers should each respect.
We expect hospital staff to treat all patients, visitors and staff with respect and consideration at all times.
If carers need quiet time for reflection or rest, staff will direct them to a quiet space such as the chapel areas or restaurants, where they are welcome and can find a sanctuary for peace.
We also ask carers to respect other people’s social, cultural and religious values. We do not accept any disruptive or abusive behaviour towards staff or other patients.
Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital sites, including the car park and grounds. Carers will need to leave the premises should they wish to smoke.
The Carer’s Passport is a small card that carers can carry with them to show they are caring for a loved one in hospital and get the help they need to do so.
The Carer’s Passport will be issued by ward staff to the carer and is recognised by staff throughout the Trust. We will be happy to support them in any way that they can, such as arranging open visiting, enabling them to eat meals with their loved one or to stay with them overnight in a reclining chair by their bedside.
We ask that carers return the passport to the nurse in charge when their loved one leaves hospital.
Carers can visit their loved one in any of our adult inpatient areas at any time, so they stay fully involved in the patient’s care.
Please be aware that this 24/7 open visiting applies only to carers. Other visitors may only visit during normal visiting hours.
Carers and other visitors may sometimes be asked to leave the patient’s bedside, usually for reasons of confidentiality, privacy or dignity – for example, during doctors’ rounds or when healthcare professionals may be carrying out certain interventions. The nurse in charge will consider the needs of all patients in the bay and/or side rooms when making these decisions.
If carers stay during treatment, there must be a clear agreement of their responsibilities and those of the multi-disciplinary team.
Hospital staff understand that while carers may wish look after their loved one, they should not be expected to provide all care, and encouraged to take regular rest periods.
If the carer does wish to be involved, the nurse in charge will determine that it is safe and appropriate for them to do so.
Our Dementia Care in the Acute Hospital Setting leaflet has more information for carers .
This leaflet includes information about the different types of dementia and offers advice on caring for someone with the condition, as well as where you can go to get support yourself.