Unpaid carers are at the heart of health and social care policy and should be considered as key partners in care. Therefore providing carers and the person they care for with self-management care skills and effective rehabilitation services is essential.
We noted earlier in the document that, although the term, 'unpaid carer' is used throughout this document, it is important to acknowledge that the same approach must apply to family members providing the support and care, but who may not identify with this label.
We also need to ensure effective hospital discharge policies are in place. Leaving hospital can be a difficult experience, especially if the person leaving hospital is unable to function as they did before, and it is recognised that it can also be a difficult time for their carers too.
Section 28 of the Carers Act gives carers the right to be involved in the hospital discharge process of the person they are or are going to be caring for. (See section 6 of the Carers' charter: Your rights as an adult carer or young carer in Scotland).
Any subsequent support, housing advice, equipment, or adaptations, will play a key part in this process. Having this support in place allows the cared for person and the carer to remain at home for longer, reduces the pressure on the family and importantly helps avoid hospital readmission.
- Assessors must take account of the views and contribution of carers when assessing the person in need, and fully engage them in discussions about future housing needs, and any associated equipment and adaptations which may support the service user to remain safely in the community. The outcomes should be clearly recorded and reviewed as required.
- Carers must be informed of their right to an adult carer support plan or young carer statement to determine what is important to them and their own support needs, independent of any assessment of the person for whom they care.
- An adult carer support plan or young carer statement must be offered to anyone who provides care for a disabled or older person, or a disabled child.
- Carers should be fully involved in assessment and discharge planning from hospital, with agreed outcomes clearly recorded for the provision of any equipment and adaptation and housing solutions, and relevant support identified as required.
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