Pressures on the National Health Service to reduce waiting lists
are putting additional burdens on carers, according to new research
by the Carers National Association, writes Lauren
The survey findings, published to coincide with the start of
National Carers Week, show that more than a third of carers were
not consulted prior to the discharge from hospital of the person
they were caring for.
Only one in five of the 2,000 carers surveyed received a copy of
the discharge plan, and nearly half said their comments and
concerns were not taken into account.
Carers from ethnic minorities were even less likely to be
consulted, have their concerns taken on board or be included in the
planning process than their white counterparts, findings show.
The lack of co-ordination between health and social care staff
was highlighted as a major area of concern, with carers calling for
the different professions to work more closely together both before
and after a patient is discharged.
Many carers said they were left to cope with unacceptable
situations and 43 per cent said they were not given sufficient
help. Almost half of respondents felt the person they cared for had
been sent home too early.
Only half of the carers were told about the sorts of care that
would be needed after leaving hospital and a massive 71 per cent
said they were not told about alternatives to caring for the person
at home, such as residential care or sheltered housing.
Half of the carers had not received an assessment of their needs
despite being entitled to one – a figure which grew to 60 per cent
of carers providing between 51 and 100 hours of care a week.
Diana Whitworth, CNA chief executive, said the findings
presented a “serious challenge” to the new government, and added to
a growing body of evidence which suggests that carers are having to
“pick up the pieces as hospital discharge policies fail”.
“The offensive concept of bed-blocking and the drive to cut
waiting lists are clearly a factor,” Whitworth said. “We need a
more enlightened approach which places the needs of patients and
carers at its heart.”
The report titled ‘You Can Take Him Home Now’ can be seen at www.carersnorth.demon.co.uk/youcan.htm