Caring for our Carers – information events

Published: 6th June 2018

Sunderland and South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trusts will be raising awareness of the important role of carers next week with a series of information events which support local carers to be healthy and connected.

The events, which coincide with Carers Week, will provide information and practical support to care safely without harming physical and mental health and give advice to carers about the financial support available to make sure that they stay fit and healthy.

The information events will take place on the following dates:

th June, between 11am and 1pm in the Alexandra restaurant, South Tyneside District Hospital

th June, between 1pm and 3pm on the main concourse, Sunderland Royal Hospital

The events are open to the general public and will have contributions from a number of external agencies who also support carers. The Trusts will also be promoting Johns Campaign and the Carers Passport to help staff recognise the importance of working with family carers in the care and support of patients with dementia. This can include extending visiting hours, staying overnight if necessary and being actively involved in care delivery.

There will also be a series of awareness events for staff to talk about the importance of working in partnership with carers and utilising their knowledge and relationship with the patient to provide high quality, individual care.

Julie Porter, Lead Nurse for Patient Experience at City Hospitals Sunderland and South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Carers play such a vital role, but can often put their own health needs aside and lose relationships with others. It’s so important to make sure that we give carers all the information and support they need to ensure that they look after themselves as much as the person they care for.

“Caring for someone can be very rewarding and we want to work with carers as equal partners to ensure that the care we provide is focussed around the patient as an individual. The Carers Passport is a great example of this and allows us to involve carers in all aspects of care delivery without restrictions, such as specific visiting hours.”

Carers Week annually raises awareness of caring and the challenges that carers face and recognises the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.

Key facts about carers

There are at least 285,522 carers in the North East across 13 local authorities as a result of the 2011 census.

  • 32,531 carers in Sunderland (2,437 young and 30,094 adult carers).
  • 16,740 carers in South Tyneside (1000 young carers )

By 2037, it is estimated that the number of carers in the UK will rise to 9 million (Carers UK).

The unpaid care provided by the UK’s carers is worth £132 billion per year, an average of £19,336 per carer (Carers UK, University of Sheffield, University of Leeds).

Carers are more likely to experience stress, anxiety and worse mental health: Half (50%) of carers said their mental health has got worse as a result of caring. 8 out of 10 people (78%) said they feel more stressed because of their caring role, and 7 out of 10 (72%) said caring has made them feel more anxious

Carers are more likely to have physical or mental health conditions and often neglect those conditions: 3 in 5 carers have a long term health condition, this compares with half of non-carers. This pattern is even more pronounced for younger adults providing care – 40% of carers aged 18-24 have a long term health condition compared with 29% of non-carers in the same age group

Carers can find it challenge of find time to take care of their own well-being whilst caring: Over half of carers (54%) also reported that they have reduced the amount of exercise they take because of caring and 45% reported that they have found it difficult to maintain a balanced diet. 7 in 10 carers (69%) said they find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep because of their caring role.

Carers can often experience loneliness and social isolation which can have a negative impact on health: Carers who had felt lonely or isolated were almost twice as likely to report worsened mental (77%) and physical (67%) health7