A pilot project aimed at giving unpaid carers, such as spouses, children and neighbours, more involvement in a patient’s care is looking for more people to get involved.
The Carers Badge project at Pilgrim Hospital, which is run by United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, launched the initiative at the end of last year.
Husbands, wives, sons, daughters, neighbours – anyone who cares for someone close to them on a regular basis without pay – can take part.
The aim is ‘to view carers as expert partners’ and allow them to have more involvement with a patient’s care – offering their valuable expertise and knowledge of that person.
Deputy chief nurse for ULHT and chief nurse for Pilgrim Hospital Jennie Negus said: “These carers are the absolute expert on that patient, they know them inside out and we should be seeing them as expert partners in care – not just a relative or friend.”
Carers badge holders are able to stay with the patient outside of visiting hours and it is hoped they will help patients feel comfortable and at ease.
They are also able to help a patient who might be more comfortable with a carer’s aid in every day activities such as bathing, or feeding, than a regular nurse.
Carers might also be able to attend when the doctors do their rounds of the hospital to keep up with the patient’s progress.
Mrs Negus said people with, for example, dementia often settle better if there is someone they recognise around.
She stressed, however, that the hospital wasn’t asking people to stay with the patients 24/7 – instead this gives those carers the opportunity to be more involved.
Sign up for the pilot is organised by the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) and anyone wishing to do so can visit its office in Pilgrim Hospital’s main entrance, or ask on the ward if someone from PALS can visit them.
PALS officer Helen Woods said: “With the right promotion and the right information being given to people the service could be fantastic because everybody is being included with the care of that patient.”
The pilot is currently available mainly to patients on wards 6A, 6B, 3B, 5A and 8A – although other wards can be taken into consideration.
Those who take part are asked to return their badges when they are done and fill in a short survey on whether the pilot helped.