Carers of patients at Nottingham’s hospitals can now visit their relatives outside usual visiting hours thanks to a ‘Carers Passport’ scheme funded by Nottingham Hospitals Charity.
The scheme allows nominated carers to visit their relative whenever they are needed instead of having to stick to allotted times. This means they can be there when the patient really needs them, such as at meal times or if they get anxious at certain times.
The passports are among a number of projects funded by the Charity promoted during Carers Week – an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges that carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.
Dementia Nurse Liz Charalambous says the passport scheme is especially useful in the care of patients with dementia.
“Having visiting times is simply unheard of now in paediatric care as it is widely recognised that children and families benefit from being together, especially when they are ill. Why shouldn’t we have the same service for our frail older patients who may find busy hospital wards a frightening place to be?
“Our new carer’s passport invites carers around the clock to be involved without having to wait until the doors open, as was the case in the days of restricted visiting hours. This means that people with dementia and carers have choice and control at a critical time in their lives.
“The scheme has been beneficial to patients, carers and staff. Relatives can pop in with a newspaper on their way to work, avoid peak travel times and busier periods in hospital car parks by fitting in their caring responsibilities with other commitments. Some have reported they have saved a small fortune by being able to use public transport instead of taking expensive taxis at inconvenient times to fit in with visiting hours. It also means they can choose to come and help at mealtimes or come in at bedtime if this helps to settle their loved one.”
Other projects the Charity has funded include:
- Alternative therapy for parents and carers on the neonatal ward
- Complementary therapy for parents and carers at the Children’s Hospital
- A website providing information for parents and carers of teenage and young adults with cancer
- An online learning centre to improve care and quality of life for people living with dementia and their carers
During Carers Week, patients, carers and families also joined in a host of activities to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. Activity therapists visited wards across the City Hospital and QMC sites to run art sessions, a singalong and a quiz.
Nottingham Hospitals Charity Chief Executive Barbara Cathcart says: “Carers Week was an opportunity to celebrate the wonderful work being done by dedicated unpaid carers whose contribution can all too often go unrecognised.
“At Nottingham Hospitals Charity we are proud to have been able to fund the Carers Passport scheme and other initiatives that help carers in their crucial role of caring for friends or family members who are ill, frail or disabled.”