Carer frequently asked questions and answers

The Frequently Asked Questions and Answers is to provide information to you as a carer and to signpost you to organisations that will be able to help you in your role. 

A Carers booklet with a lot more information, should also be provided to you whilst your loved one is under our care.

Sometimes in the NHS we use terms that often don't make sense or don't mean what we think they do, hopefully this section will explain some of them.

If we are missing some please do let us know our email address is at the bottom of this page

A carer is someone who, without payment, provides help and support to a friend, neighbour or relative who could not manage otherwise because of frailty, illness, or disability. This may include helping with personal care, medication, cooking, shopping, housework and giving emotional support.

If you are under the age of 18 and care for someone, you are a ‘young carer’. Support is available from the following services, for example from your local Council, your school and specialist young carers’ support services in your area.

Please visit and Hampshire Young Carers Alliance for more information.

Next of kin is typically the person a service user names in a given situation. During a hospital stay, the next of kin will be contacted and kept up to date, if a service user is unconscious, their next of kin may be asked for advice on best wishes but cannot consent to or refuse treatments. If a service user passes away in hospital, the bereavement team will contact the next of kin. They may be the executor of the will but have no legal right to inheritance.

For more information:

Nearest relative is a specific term that applies in the Mental Health Act (1983). Nearest relative follows this list in strict order: Husband, wife, or civil partner (including cohabitee for more than 6 months). Son or daughter, Father or mother (an unmarried father must have parental responsibility in order to be nearest relative), Brother or sister, Grandparent, Grandchild, Uncle or aunt, Nephew or niece.

They have very specific rights: apply to section or place under a guardianship, object to you being sectioned, discharge you from section, ask for independent advocate, and/or be consulted/given information.

For more information please see the links below:

A qualified person who works within Southern Health/NHS and is responsible for arranging the care for a service user and is often the main point of contact.

A person who has lived through/experienced a service and is employed to support service users to understand and adapt their behaviour and to improve their coping skills.

A person who has lived experience of caring for a family member or friend. Through sharing wisdom from their own experiences, carer’s peer support workers will inspire hope and belief that recovery is possible in others.

This section explains some of rights you have as a carer or family member

If we are missing some please do let us know our email address is at the bottom of this page

A plan that describes in an easy, accessible way the needs of the person, their views, preferences and choices, the resources available and actions by members of the care team (including the patient and carer) to meet those needs. A care plan will include information relating to crisis plans and agreed communication channels for when the person is unwell. All parties involved in developing the care plan will be given a copy, this will include the person’s GP.

A care plan is a record for staff of their professional responsibilities and the care/interventions that they are accountable for and a record for patients, families, and carers of the care/interventions they can expect and their role in their own recovery.

A care plan should be reviewed regularly as the person’s situation changes and if there is any transfer of services e.g. discharge from one team to another or discharge from the service

A Carers Communication Plan is a tool our staff use to have a meaningful conversation with you as the carer for someone in our services. It covers:

  • An agreement between staff and carer as to how and when to make contact
  • The valuable insights you can provide us about the person you care for which can help us with assessments, care planning and discharge planning

What we need to know about you as the carer, and any types of services, support, advice, or guidance we can offer to you in your carer role

Service users have a legal right to decide whether they wish staff to share their information with anyone, including their carers, partners, family, or friends. This is called ‘consent to share’. We have a legal duty to comply with the wishes of every service user about this.

If the person you are caring for does not provide consent for staff to share information with you, staff will still listen to you and will still be able to provide you with general information to support you and the person you care for. Staff will regularly revisit this decision with the person you care for in case they change their mind.

Regardless of consent to share, we will want to complete a Carer’s Communication Plan with you. This plan identifies your role as a carer, how you prefer us to contact you, and your understanding of the history and needs of the person you care for. We will listen to your views and concerns and will give you general information to support you.

If you would like to know more about consent and the circumstances when we would share information, please speak to a member of the team, and ask for a copy of the Confidentiality and Information Sharing Booklet or click on the link below for more information and to view the Information Sharing Policy:

Your information :: Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Please ask the staff who are providing care to the service user, for information or:

The Mental Capacity Act is about making sure that people have the support they need to make as many decisions as possible.

Sometimes we need extra help and support, below are some services that can help and support you.

It ok to ask for help

Advocacy means getting support from another person to help you express your views and wishes, and to help make sure your voice is heard. Someone who helps people in this way is called an advocate.

Service users or patients sometimes need help to communicate their views or to feel confident in expressing their thoughts with clinical staff. With the consent of the person, you care for, you will be able to advocate on their behalf.

If the service user or patient prefers, staff can arrange for them to access a trained, independent advocate who will support them in meetings and/or with appointments whilst they are in hospital


Email  | Phone 0300 303 1660

The service is aimed at patients, families, carers, members of the public and staff members, to provide you with the opportunity to speak to someone, ask for advice or access signposting information. The service will be able provide an additional platform to share your feedback to support the Trust to make positive changes for the future.

Please click on the link below for more information:

The Trust Chaplains are available to provide support to for everyone (those of all faiths and none): staff, service users and all carers supporting a loved one in receipt of care from all services across Southern Health.

Please contact the reception desk of the unit you are visiting and they will direct you to the Chaplain within your area.

We recognise how upsetting and frustrating it can be when things do not go right. We want to make sure that, when people raise issues, we deal with these as effectively and efficiently as we can. We believe that early, local resolution provides the best outcome for most issues. To help this to happen a senior manager, from the relevant clinical area, will contact you to discuss your concerns and the best way in which to take your issues forward, as soon as possible.  For more information, please click on the link below:

Addressing your concerns and complaints :: Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Or contact the Complaints Team:

  • By phone: 023 8231 1200
  • Email:
  • By writing to: FREEPOST RSJL-JXSX-ATUE, Complaints Team, 7 Sterne Road, Tatchbury Mount, Calmore, Southampton, SO40 2RZ

If we are made aware of any safeguarding concerns, we will refer to the Safeguarding Team. We would always try to talk to you about this and have an open and honest conversation where possible. If you have any concerns about harm to yourself or someone else.

please contact the local authority in your area:

or the police on 101

Across Hampshire there are three local authorities they are:

If you live outside of Hampshire, please contact your local authority in the area/county that you live in.

Under the Care Act 2014, local authorities have a legal duty to provide carers with a Carers Assessment. Under the Children & Families Act 2014, young carers are entitled to a Carers Assessment in their own right.

This is an assessment of your needs as a carer and helps identify areas where support, guidance and information may be required. This assessment does not consider your finances. If you are eligible for support, you may be provided with a care plan, including a contingency plan to help manage a crisis and/or funding for respite/social support.

You can get an initial Carers Assessment via:

Hampshire County Council, Adult Health & Care Department Tel: 0300 555 1375

Caring for someone can be extremely difficult and it is important to make sure you are also looking after your own wellbeing. even if you are busy looking after someone else's health.

You matter too 

All the organisations in other sections will provide information about local support groups and help lines.

Please ask the staff providing care for your loved one about any southern health groups and or information about external groups.

Across Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth, there are various services that are available to you as a carer. Here is a list of some of the main organisations:

Whilst these services are all available to you as a carer generically speaking, there are also some services that support carers in a more niche and bespoke capacity, specific to the condition or diagnosis of your loved one. Please ask a member of staff for further information, and you can also add some notes or useful contacts here:

There are various helplines and websites specifically for supporting you as a carer. They are full of helpful tips, advice, information, training, and resources.

Princess Royal Trust for Carers

Andover Mind Carer Support and Dementia Advice

Carers Together in Hampshire

Carers in Southampton

Portsmouth Carer Centre

Hampshire Young Carers Alliance

No Limits

Hampshire Healthwatch

Some useful tips to help ensure that you get the support you need as a carer

Carers Allowance – see Gov.UK

The Carers Trust – see Money and benefits

Princess Royal Trust for carers: Make an emergency plan:

You can register your details with your doctor’s practice so that your notes are tagged to indicate that you are a carer or that the patient is a cared-for person.

It will help your GP if they are aware of your caring responsibilities and the potential impact of your caring responsibilities on your own health. The doctor’s receptionist can then also take account of your needs as a carer when trying to arrange appointment times that fit in with your caring responsibilities. 

There is a form on the Connect to Support Hampshire web site, link below: 

You may need additional flexibility at work during this time. We encourage you to speak openly with your employer and understand your rights as an employee - you may be entitled to additional support if someone is dependent on you for care.

It may be worth reading up on your contract and getting advice about this beforehand. Find out more at or 

Carers Trust

Contact us

Carers engagement team 

Accessibility tools

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