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Singing carers' praises

Poole Hospital is marking national Carers Week next week with a range of activities, including a performance by a choir whose members all care for a loved one.

The week, from 12-18 June, aims to raise awareness of the vital role carers play. At Poole Hospital, carers provide valuable support to ward staff, ensuring that medical and nursing teams understand patients better, as well as assisting in feeding, hydration and activities.

On Monday (12 June) members of the Care Free Choir will be performing in the dome entrance area from 1.30pm, helping to highlight the role of carers. The performance from the Parkstone-based group will be followed at 2.30pm by an informal drop-in afternoon tea in the boardroom, to which all carers are warmly invited.

Often the carer is the expert in a person’s care, and provide invaluable information to ward staff that can help reduce how long someone needs to stay in hospital, for example encouragement at mealtimes.

lizzie adamsOne such carer is Sue Griffiths, who looks after her husband Tony, who has a long term health condition. Tony’s condition means he is frequently admitted to the hospital and Sue is now a regular face on the wards, spending up to 10 hours at a time with her husband. She’s also the first carer to sign up to the hospital’s new carers network, which aims to improve the support offered to patients’ carers.

Sue said: “The care on the wards is superb - all the staff have been very supportive and asked what Tony is like at home.

“My opinion was taken into account, and the doctors and nurses were very understanding.

“It’s helpful for me to be part of Tony’s hospital care - when he has confusion from infections he can keep getting out of bed and almost needed one-to-one care, but I can keep Tony talking and occupied.

“I support the staff as well as the staff supporting me - I find it comforting because they know I’m helping them.

“It’s the small things that make the difference, like showing me where the kitchen was so I could make drinks. On Tony’s 80th birthday ward staff even let me bring my little dog in as Tony was missing him.

“Coming to hospital with the patient unwell and confused, they can say the most peculiar things. You know your husband better than anyone and whether what they are saying is in character or not, whether they would or wouldn’t say it.

“Sometimes the carer can give information to ward staff but it isn’t asked for – personal things that may help the doctors and nurses better understand that patient, beyond their clinical symptoms.”

Lizzie Adams (pictured above) is the hospital’s carers support lead, ensuring carers are fully involved in their loved ones care and putting them in touch with support where needed.

“The role that carers play in supporting the hospital to provide the best possible care cannot be overstated,” said Lizzie. “It is vital that carers are welcomed and fully involved in the care we provide, and in helping us to ensure we offer the right support to them, whenever it’s needed.”

For more information on carers support at Poole Hospital, telephone 01202 448714 or email carersupport@poole.nhs.uk

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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