as a carer
"I know that the doctors'
main role is to look after the patient but I also need to know what is
for someone with Parkinson’s disease (PD) is both physically and
emotionally demanding. You should ensure that your own health and need for
information are not neglected and that you have a clear idea of the help
that is available to you.
nurse or social care professional may delegate tasks to you or ask you to
assist them You must understand the nature and extent of the care you are
expected to provide - and be happy to do this.
a carer you have certain legal rights :
choose not to care.
have your own needs assessed by local social services, separately from
an assessment of the needs of the person you care for. The results of
both assessments must be considered in decisions about any services
be consulted at time of hospital discharge and to receive appropriate
assessment and support.
carers assessment should cover your own views of the situation, the
tasks you undertake (and would like to help with), your relationship
with the person cared for, your other responsibilities (work, education,
other family commitments) and your understanding, ability and
willingness to continue to provide care. It is important that your
psychological as well as physical needs should be recognised.
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should be given a written copy of any care plan made by social
services. You should also make sure that you maintain contact with the
person responsible for organising support (the case manager) and
inform them of any change in circumstances or additional needs.
the consent of the person you care for, you do not have a right to
know all their medical details. However, unless they object, it is
sensible to accompany them to important visits to the doctor and to
have a full knowledge of their medication and any special care needs.
If the person you are caring for is housebound then you should be able
to arrange for your family doctor and other professionals (e.g.
dentists, chiropodists, opticians) to come to the house.
carers need regular breaks to give them time to keep on top of
problems and to ‘recharge their batteries’. A respite break need
not be for long or be expensive, but does need to be carefully planned
if it is to give maximum benefit to both carer and cared for. At times
it may seem easier to carry on with the same familiar daily routine,
but in the long-term this is damaging to your health. Having a break
is a carer’s right.
can claim a Carer’s Allowance if you spend at least 35 hours a week
caring for someone who gets Attendance Allowance and do not earn more
than £77 a week. Many pensioners cannot actually be paid Carer’s
Allowance as it will overlap with the Retirement pension.
Your doctor, specialist nursing staff, or
social worker can explain more about your rights as a carer.
Useful books include:
‘Choices for the Carer of an Elderly
Relative, by Marina Lewycka, published in 2003 by Age Concern, London.
ISBN 0 862423759.
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