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Thursday, 15 September 2016

Carers to get more support following successful pilot at Princess of Wales Hospital

Written by The Editorial Team

Carers are getting an extra helping hand at Princess of Wales Hospital after full-time carer support worker, Victoria Rodwell, is now based there following the success of a pilot project.

Victoria’s role involves going around the wards and departments, liaising with staff to identify carers. The aim is to ensure they get whatever advice and support they might need.
 
The service is provided through an integrated ABMU Health Board and Bridgend Council partnership with Bridgend Carers Centre.
 
Victoria (pictured) said: “There’s a range of things we can do for carers. For some people it’s just having the right information at the right time. They can take the information away and might not need any extra support right then but will know who to call if there was a problem.
 
“That is really helpful to them. We have noticed an increase in the number of people calling the Bridgend Carers Centre after they have been identified in the hospital.”
 
Other people have more pressing needs, and part of Victoria’s role is to explain the hospital procedure and provide reassurance.
 
She added: “I can talk to the nursing staff and the doctors to clarify what is happening. I can talk to the social workers as well, and encourage carers to communicate with them.”
 
Victoria carries out carers’ assessments to support them through and after hospital discharge.
 
She will also point carers to relevant services available in Princess of Wales, such as Care and Repair, Age Connects Morgannwg and the hospital discharge service, as well as third sector organisations in the community.
 
“For example, if someone has a diagnosis of dementia we can put them in touch with the Alzheimer’s Society. One carer we put in touch with them went on a Dementia Friends session, which she found really helpful in understanding some of the behaviour of the person she was caring for.”
 
Meanwhile, Bridgend Carers Centre offers a range of services including legal and benefits advice, information on respite care, counselling and more.
 
Victoria said carers were encouraged to recognise they had to look after their own health and wellbeing.
 
“If they become unwell then they are not able to look after the person they are caring for. We’re looking at it in a more holistic way than just looking at the patient. We’re looking at everybody that’s involved.”
 
The pilot project started in January 2015 when Bridgend Carers Centre manager Helen Pitt spent one day a week in the hospital. It has since expanded to a full-time role, with Victoria working Monday to Friday, with a late Thursday session for carers who can only visit during the evening.
 
Princess of Wales Hospital director Jamie Marchant said: “We are very proud of our work with Bridgend Carers Centre – we recognise how important carers are to the patient.
 
“It’s very important we understand the needs of the patient and the needs of the carers around them to meet their requirements. It’s also very important to recognise that nearly 3,000 people work in this hospital and many of our staff are carers themselves outside their working hours.”