Carer Friendly Hospital

Crossroads Care Hertfordshire North regularly work in partnership with other organisations to raise awareness and improve the lives of carers in the local area. The Carer Friendly Hospital Project is one such example.

The hospital is a key trigger point in the caring journey. People may become carers in a hospital setting, or they may see their caring responsibilities increase following a hospital admission as a result of a fall or similar incident. The impact of caring on health also means that carers are more likely to be admitted themselves. For example, carers caring for someone for over 50 hours a week are at 23% higher risk of a stroke than non-carers. This leaves their cared for alone, vulnerable, with the potential outcome of a double admission to hospital or residential care.

The rationale for the carer friendly hospital project is that there is significant scope to deliver better outcomes to patients and carers, by improving support to carers in an acute setting. The pilot project is running in tandem with the carer friendly community project, and will run in Lister Hospital until March 2014. Crossroads Care Hertfordshire North are partners in both these projects.

The initial focus is on the carers of stroke survivors. The project will measure the impact of better support to carers on readmission rates, length of stay, and delayed transfers of care, as well as the carer experience and outcomes for carer and cared for.

Leanne Welch has been in post as Carers’ Lead at the Lister Hospital since March 2013. The Carer Friendly Hospital Project started on the stroke wards but will roll out to elderly wards soon. Over 60 carers are being supported through referrals or which 66% are new carers.

Making Lister Hospital more Carer friendly – achievements so far include:

  • Recruitment of a Carers’ Lead – Leanne Welch. Her remit is to raise standards and challenge practice to ensure that carers are respected as partners in care.
  • Provision of Carer awareness training for hospital staff
  • Negotiating discounts on the shuttle bus for carers
  • Better publicity of discounts for frequent car park users
  • Carers information on the website
  • Information on medication in hospital
  • Leanne has also been working hard at improving the experience of carers in the hospital. Key actions include:
    • Negotiating discounts on the shuttle bus for carers
    • Better publicity of discounts for frequent car park users
    • Carers information on the website
    • Information on medication in hospital
    • Arrangements for overnight stays at the hospital
    • Better publicity about new bus service to Lister for Hertford residents
    • Refreshments trolleys in outpatients
  • Development and implementation of a Carers’ Policy and agreement to help staff to work with Carers and raise awareness of the issues faced by carers in a hospital setting
  • Carers Coffee morning held at the Trust every 3 months
  • Direct referrals to Carers in Hertfordshire to ensure carers get the support they need early in their caring journey. To date over 60 Carers have been referred of which 66% are new carers.
  • Carers information board, leaflets and carers welcome pack on the Stroke Unit at the hospital
  • Discounts for Carers to travel on the Health shuttle for just £1 when travelling with their cared for and discount catering vouchers for carers who are spending time with their cared for when in hospital.
  • Dedicated Carers page on the Trust website offering information and advice for carers of the Trusts service and links to other organisations.

Quote from Leanne

“I am delighted to be involved in this project and to be making a difference to the lives of local carers”

The project has been very successful and staff have embraced the changes. The next phase will see the project rolled out to the two elderly care wards in August which will reach even more Carers.

The Carer friendly hospital project will be evaluated in March 2014 with the aim that it is rolled out to other areas of the hospital and county.