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West London NHS Trust > Patients and carers > Caring for someone > Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction.

You could be providing practical help or emotional support. You may live with the person you are caring for or provide care from a distance.

Anyone could be a carer – a 15-year-old girl looking after a parent with depression, a 40-year-old man caring for his partner who has terminal cancer, or an 80-year-old woman looking after her husband who has Alzheimer’s disease.

If you care for someone, you could be entitled to help and support as part of the Care Act 2014.

Category: Carers FAQs

The Care Programme Approach (CPA) helps us co-ordinate a patient’s care to try to meet all of the individual health, social and cultural needs arising from their health problems.

As part of the CPA, staff work with patients to develop a care plan. This is a written agreement which describes what support that person will receive, from whom and when – as well as what to do in the event of a crisis. The care plan that is developed should make sense, be helpful and reflect what the person receiving services thinks and feels.

If someone needs support from more than one service, then they will be allocated a care co-ordinator who will organise this.

Category: Carers FAQs

The person you care for will have a plan that outlines how we can help if their mental health issues worsen.

If you need extra support to care for your loved one, you can also call our 24/7 Helpline on 0300 1234 244.

The Helpline is run by mental health nurses and trained advisors who can provide advice and support over the phone or arrange for emergency help if it is needed.

If you are worried about someone’s immediate safety, you should call 999 for emergency services or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency (A&E) department.

We will give you as much information as we can about the person you care for. We also welcome any information that you can share with us.

We have a duty of care to both you and the person you care for. The way we share information between patients, carers and staff takes into account:

  • your loved one’s wishes
  • privacy and confidentiality of both carers and patients
  • the best interest of patients

The person you care for has a right to have private information they share with us kept confidential. At the same time, sharing information is an important part of you being involved in their care. We will always do our best to get the balance right.

It can be helpful to talk about this issue with mental health staff, and the person you care for, so that we can find a solution that works for everyone.

Category: Carers FAQs

Here are some of the questions that you may find helpful to ask the clinical team:

About the diagnosis

  • What illness (diagnosis) does the person I care for have?
  • What does the diagnosis mean?
  • What are the likely causes?
  • Will the person recover?
  • What symptoms and signs suggest this?
  • What is known about the causes?
  • What is likely to happen in the future?
  • Will it get better or worse?
  • Where can I get written information about this condition?
  • If a diagnosis has not been made, what are the possibilities?

About care and treatment

  • What are the aims of the care and treatment?
  • What is the role of the care coordinator? (this is the person in the clinical team who is your main point of contact)
  • Who else will be involved in the treatment?
  • How often will appointments be made to see a member of the clinical team, and which member of the team will this involve?
  • What is your plan for treatment and support?
  • How long will this treatment last?
  • Would psychotherapy (talking treatment) help? Is it available close to where I live?
  • What happens if the service user refuses treatment?
  • What support and services are available for carers and families, and how do I get access to them?

Hospital treatment

  • If the person I care for has to go into hospital, which one would it be?
  • What arrangements will be made for care to be given once he or she leaves hospital?

Discharge from hospital

  • If the person I care for is discharged and I am unable to look after him or her, what will happen?
  • What arrangements will be made for the care of the person after he or she is discharged?
  • Are there any self-help techniques that might help?
  • Can I have a copy of the aftercare plan?

If a hospital admission has not happened

  • Does the person I care for need to be admitted to hospital?
  • What alternatives to hospital admission are available?

About medication

  • What medication is being used and why?
  • Is the lowest effective dose being prescribed?
  • Can the dose be increased when necessary?
  • How often will the medication be reviewed?
  • What are the short and long term benefits?
  • Are there any short or long term side effects?
  • Can you provide written information about the medication?
Category: Carers FAQs

If you look after someone on a regular basis and caring has a major impact on your life, then a carer’s assessment could help you. All carers have recognised legal rights, and as a carer, you are entitled to an assessment of your own needs.

If there’s more than one carer providing regular care in your household, you are both entitled to an assessment.

The care coordinator of the person you care for should inform you of your right to request an assessment.

You’re entitled to an assessment even if the person you care for refuses to have an assessment themselves.

If you are a carer and have not had a carer’s needs assessment you should tell the care coordinator.

Category: Carers FAQs

You could get £62.70 a week if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits.

You don’t have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for.

You won’t be paid extra if you care for more than one person.

Eligibility

The person you care for must already get one of these benefits:

  • Personal Independence Payment – daily living component
  • Disability Living Allowance – the middle or highest care rate
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at the basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment

You might be able to get Carer’s Allowance if all of the following apply:

  • you’re 16 or over
  • you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone
  • you’ve been in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 2 of the last 3 years (this doesn’t apply if you’re a refugee or have humanitarian protection status)
  • you normally live in England, Scotland or Wales, or you live abroad as a member of the armed forces
  • you’re not in full-time education
  • you’re not studying for 21 hours a week or more
  • you earn no more than £116 a week after tax and some expenses – these will be assessed when you apply

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A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction.

You could be providing practical help or emotional support. You may live with the person you are caring for or provide care from a distance.

Anyone could be a carer – a 15-year-old girl looking after a parent with depression, a 40-year-old man caring for his partner who has terminal cancer, or an 80-year-old woman looking after her husband who has Alzheimer’s disease.

If you care for someone, you could be entitled to help and support as part of the Care Act 2014.

Category: Carers FAQs

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