This means health services provided by hospitals are known as secondary health care services. They are also often referred to as acute care.
If the person for whom you provide care is admitted to hospital it is very important that you inform health staff that you are the person’s carer.
The hospital staff should involve you in making decisions about the person’s support.
The hospital must make sure that your needs are assessed before the person is discharged to home. This is called a Carers’ Assessment and will be completed by a social worker. Please see the section on Social Care which has information on Carers’ Assessments and a link to our easy-read guide. This is a separate assessment from the discharge and care plan completed for the patient leaving hospital.
Hospitals in Berkshire, like elsewhere in England, are facing serious challenges because of an ageing population living longer with long-term conditions. Family carers have a central role in helping reduce some of these demands particularly where supporting an older adult, but also when using Accident & Emergency Services for their own needs.
80-90% of patients coming to Accident & Emergency departments had conditions which should have been seen in community health services and were discharged. This use of Accident & Emergency by patients who should not be in acute care means long waiting times for those patients who need to be seen in the department.
Delayed transfers of care: this is when a patient, often an older adult, is ready for discharge home but suitable care and support is not in place. This can be family caring, domiciliary care services, or a combination or both, or it can be what is called transitionary care.
Domiciliary Care: this means care services provided in the home. These range from helping someone get washed and dressed to doing laundry, preparing meals and light cleaning. Some domiciliary care staff are also qualified to administer medication and undertake other simple medical tasks such as changing dressings. Domiciliary care may be bought directly by the person/family or, if eligible, may be provided as part of a local authority-provided care & support plan. Many people have a combination of some hours of domiciliary care and care provided by family or friends.
Transitionary Care: this is when someone leaves hospital and has a short stay in a community setting such as a care home or, with assistance from reablement services, to return home with additional support. During this time they will receive support until they are ready to live independently. There are recurring shortages of beds in community care settings and this means that many more patients are likely to need to return straight home, providing that appropriate support is in place.
Reablement Services: these are designed to provide community health and social care services for the person leaving hospital to enable them to live independently at home. This will be a combination of services such as a community nurse, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and care support. under the Care Act these must be provided freely for up to six weeks.
Occupational Therapy: this team assess any equipment needs for the person to live independently at home. These are called ‘aids and adaptations’. This includes everything from frames, crutches and wheelchairs to stair-lifts, hoists, aids in the kitchen, bathroom and sitting area. Under the Care Act all recommended aids and adaptations with a value of up to £1k must be provided freely.
These vital health services available in the community are to help you, and the person for whom you care, manage your health. They include health checks and flu jabs, children’s immunisation and monitoring for long-term conditions such as type 2 diabetes. Working carers may also have access to screening services in the work-place through Occupational Health. Some companies also provide access to counselling services for employees.