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GP example: Involving people and caring for carers
Key question: caring?
C2: Are people who use services and those close to them involved as partners in their care?
An urban practice with 11,000 patients.
The practice's computer system alerted GPs if a patient was also a carer. Carers registered with the practice provided a video to inform other carers about what care they would be given and the services available to them. These included, for example, priority access to GP’s referrals into support services and support with letters to external agencies for financial support. Written information was also available to direct carers to the support available.
A semi-rural practice with 9,500 registered patients.
The practice had an outstanding approach to carers. The practice had a register of carers and a member of staff carried out the role of 'carers coordinator'. This staff member made annual contact with every carer on the register to ensure they were receiving the care and support they required. The carers register was then updated based on this contact.
Working with the Carers’ Association
A practice in a small town serving 14,000 registered patients.
The practice started a carers group in September 2014 and worked with the Carers' Association to make sure that patients received the most up to date support and guidance. The practice arranged a weekly session with the Carers Association to see carers who may not necessarily be registered patients themselves. The practice made the room freely available because it recognised the benefits of this contact to the carers of its patients. The Carers Association worked with the practice to deliver a carers awareness evening in September 2014 to provide additional support to patients.
Depression screening and support
An urban practice serving 7,000 patients.
This practice took a proactive approach to understanding the needs of its patients who were carers. There was a dedicated carer’s lead and carers were offered support and their health regularly reviewed in longer appointments. Because of this ongoing work to identify and support carers, the number of carers on the practice’s register had increased by 9% in three months. The practice had identified that 21% of its carer population were also experiencing other conditions such as depression, so it therefore began a depression screening programme. It was able to demonstrate that 24% of carers had been screened for depression so far. The practice offered support through a number of support groups, on-site counselling services and referral to other voluntary organisations.
The practice’s patient participation group (PPG) provided support to the practice with a health promotion event in summer 2015 where patients and families attended the practice to listen to talks from external organisations and charities.
Personalised care planning
A semi-rural practice with 2,400 patients.
The practice had a strong, person-centred approach to supporting carers and those they cared for. For example, people who were cared for were given a “hospital passport” for use in emergency admissions to hospital. This contained contact details for their carer, as well as information that could help hospital staff with personalised care planning.
One of the healthcare assistants was the carers lead at the practice. They:
- Created an information sheet for staff to help them identify and assist carers, as well as a carers folder that contained information about carers’ services.
- Put together a carers pack, which was given to all patients identified as carers. This contained information from local and national support groups, as well as information about useful services such as transportation and equipment hire.
- Worked with local and national organisations to provide support to carers, such as helping to find financial advice, support acquiring equipment, and working with the local fire service to provide carers with fire safety checks at their homes.
The practice also liaised with the district nursing team and local carers charities to identify patients who may be carers or who are cared for. A patient who was a carer told us the support from the practice was excellent and that the practice had been good at directing them to appropriate support.
Supporting carers and socially isolated patients
A suburban practice with over 8,000 registered patients.
The practice had close links with a local carers association. A representative attended practice meetings so they were able to identify any support needed by carers and act promptly. They also publicised services for carers in the waiting area and on the website, sent text messages to notify carers of events and useful information, and maintained a carer’s register.
Staff told us that if families had suffered bereavement, their usual GP contacted them or sent them a sympathy card.
Christmas presents were sent to older patients with no family, and in 2014 the practice was awarded a grant to develop a community garden at the practice. Patients worked to create the garden which provided exercise opportunities and reduced social isolation.
This practice demonstrated that they treat people’s emotional and social needs as importantly as their physical needs.
Integrating services to bring care closer to home
A practice serving 12,000 patients across a wide rural area.
This practice has embraced the concept of living well and was helping to integrate services to specifically bring care and treatment closer to home for patients:
- They developed a community hub to bring services closer to home for patients. For example, older patients who were at risk of falling were able to attend strength and balance classes every week to improve their stamina and reduce the risk of injury from falls.
- The staff developed a local walking group and were driving forward the concept of a ‘compassionate community’ within the local area.
- Staff held key roles in some of the 19 local charities identified as being able to support patients who could be at risk of social isolation.
In addition, the practice held a carers focus group in June 2015 and invited 20 carers. Carers suggested that the practice should have more information about the support available on its website and in the waiting rooms, which it provided.
Carers were identified on a practice register and had regular access to a local caring organisation. The practice provided a free room so that the charity was able to run a carers clinic providing support and advice twice a month.
- Last updated:
- 10 August 2017