Are you a carer? This section of our website offers information for carers who may be supporting a loved one or friend who is currently under Livewell’s care.
What is a carer?
‘A carer is a person of any age who provides unpaid care and support to a family member, friend or neighbour who is disabled, has an illness or long-term condition, or who needs extra help as they grow older.‘ (Carers UK).
A carer is someone who provides unpaid help and support on a regular basis to a partner, family member or friend. The help they provide can be practical help, physical and/or emotional support. The cared for person can require help due to age, disability, physical or mental illness or other issues such as substance abuse. The term carer applies whether or not the carer and the cared for person live together or apart.
Some carers have spent many years caring for another person, whereas others find themselves in this role suddenly, due to an acute event such as a stroke, head injury or mental health crisis. Many family members and friends would not describe themselves as carers and may need help recognising themselves as such to ensure their own needs are met.
Livewell Southwest’s Commitment to Carers
Research shows that carers routinely neglect their own health and care needs in order to prioritise the needs of the person they care for. At Livewell Southwest we believe that the support that carers provide, the expertise they bring and the needs they have in terms of their own health and welfare deserve to be recognised and supported. Livewell Southwest is committed to supporting carers to access the care they need to stay in good physical and mental health.
Livewell Southwest has been involving carers for some time through a number of different mechanisms. This includes:
- The implementation of the Triangle of Care (TOC) since 2016. A therapeutic alliance between the service user/patient, staff member and carer that promotes safety, supports recovery and sustains wellbeing.
- Development of a Carers Policy.
- Commitment to the Together for Devon Commitment to Carers which states ‘we will consider carers in everything that we do.’
- Adherence to the NICE Quality Standard and Guidelines – Supporting Adult Carers.
- Attendance at different forums and meetings relating to carers work and support.
- Staff awareness training.
- Close collaboration with the local commissioned carers service.
- Support for staff with caring responsibilities.
I’m a carer, what support is available to me?
- Carers are entitled under the Care Act 2014 to be offered a carers assessment, this may be carried out by Caring for Carers. If you haven’t attended an assessment, please contact Caring for Carers directly through their website, by calling 01752 201890 or you can email. You can self-refer.
- You are encouraged to apply for a Carers Passport (see details below) and register yourself as a carer with your GP.
- We’d encourage you to visit the Caring for Carers website where you can find out more about a carers assessment, support groups and receiving regular information. You can also call them on 01752 201890 or you can email.
- You can register with Carers Digital which provides digital resources which you may find helpful.
- If you require emergency care cover, you can access information on the Plymouth Online Directory or call the Carers Emergency Response Service on 07474 297040. You can also email.
- You can contact the Livewell Southwest Talking Therapies team (Tel: 01752 435419) to access support if you’re feeling anxious or struggling to cope.
- If you don’t have a PL post code, you can contact Devon Carers for support. They also run a support group: 0345 643 4435
I’m a young carer, can I get support?
If you are under 18 and providing practical or emotional care or intend to provide care for another person, then you may be able to access support. You can find information about a range of services and local support by visiting the Time4U Partnership web page or you can call 07899 950155. Support includes young carers assessments, group sessions, 1-2-1 support, support for young carers affected by alcohol and other substance use, and support in schools.
What is a Carers Passport?
The Carers Passports, which are available in Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall are a means by which any carers can identify their role as a carer to health and social care staff. It also sets out an offer of support, services, and other benefits for carers. Carers passports are free and available to any carers aged 18 upwards.
A Carer Passport provides:
- Discounts at participating businesses.
- Access to information and support to help with caring.
- An opportunity to connect with other carers.
- An emergency response card.
- Some discounts in healthcare settings, depending on circumstances.
What is the Triangle of Care?
The ‘Triangle of Care’ is an approach that establishes a working collaboration, or “therapeutic alliance”, between the mental health service user, the professionals, and the carer, that promotes safety, supports recovery and sustains well-being.
Livewell Southwest became member of the Triangle Care scheme which is overseen by the Carers Trust in June 2016 and has been implementing the Triangle of Care in mental health services to ensure that all our staff recognise the importance of involving carers.
The Triangle of Care was initially developed to improve mental health acute services by adopting six principles. It is widely accepted that these key principles can be applied to all service areas and Livewell Southwest is continuing to spread this good practice in all or our services.
What are the standards?
- Carers and the essential role they play should be identified at first contact with services or as soon as possible thereafter.
- Staff should be aware of carers and trained to engage with carers more effectively.
- Policies and protocols should be in place to ensure confidentiality and improve information sharing with carers.
- Defined roles (Carer link workers), responsible for carers should be in place.
- Carers should be “introduced” to the service and provided with a range of information.
- A range of carer support services should be available to offer or signpost carers to.
What can I expect?
Although the very first contact with services may mean that carers are focused on the wellbeing of the person they care for and not on their own needs, professionals should be aware that this could be the most important point where recognition and support can have the greatest benefit. If this is not possible at that time, professionals should identify you and your role as a carer as soon as it is best to do so.
You should expect professionals to be aware of the demands and pressures carers often experience and know that there is a carer link worker in most wards and teams promoting carer issues and working to achieve greater collaboration with carers and families.
We recognise that carers often hold information that would improve a service user’s treatment and care plan; likewise, carers would also welcome appropriate information to ensure they are able to undertake their caring role.
Livewell Southwest is working towards ensuring service user and carer confidentiality, while adopting safe practices, such as advance statement of wishes, that will improve greater information sharing with carers and families.
A practical guide to healthy caring
The advice in this booklet will help you if you look after a friend or family member or have any form of caring responsibilities. It is written to be particularly relevant for those who are about 65 years or older and are new to caring. Click here.
Carers and Confidentiality
Good Psychiatric Practice: Confidentiality and Information Sharing. Click here.
Livewell Southwest’s health information video library
Welcome to our video library, health advice at your fingertips. Click here.
Advance Statement of Wishes
Guidelines for people over 18 wishing to make an advanced statement or wishes relating to their future mental health care. Click here.
Carers UK suite of digital resources
Carers UK have developed a suite of resources in collaboration with local service providers and employers. All products and resources are free to access. The free access code is DGTL1922. Click here.
Marbles Lost and Found
A mental health information hub. Click here.
Plymouth Online Directory
Resources and information for carers. Click here.
Support and information for Young Carers in Plymouth. Click here.
Please talk to our staff about any concerns you have about your own needs and/or concerns about the person you care for. You can also email [email protected] or call the switchboard on 01752 435502.