A carer is anyone, young or old, who helps somebody (usually a relative or friend) who needs support in their day to day life. This is an unpaid role, and is not the same as someone who is paid or provides care professionally, or through a voluntary organisation.
Carers may frequently provide support including assistance with personal care, household tasks, finances, emotional support and leisure pursuits for the person they care for.
Caring responsibilities could include supporting a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or who has mental health or substance misuse problems.
Any one of us, including children and young adults, at any time could become a carer either on a short term basis or for a longer period. It is also important to recognise that some carers will experience more complex situations such as caring for more than one person, for example a parent and a child (“sandwich caring”) or an older couple caring for each other (“mutual caring”).
Here at Southern Health, we have nominated employees to also be Carers' Leads. The role of Carers' Leads in the Trust is to ensure that those caring for people, raise their concerns and are supported. They also lead on ways to improve how we work with carers.
Carers' Leads encourage carers to get involved and have their say about the services we offer, both for carers and for service users, so that we might be able to make improvements and provide better services for all.