Planning for emergencies
For many carers the worry of what would happen to the person they care for if they themselves could not provide care in the event of an emergency or accident, causes a great deal of stress and anxiety.
A carers life cannot simply be put on hold, when the person they are looking after relies on them for vital help and support. When a carer is rushed into hospital, who else will step in?
Carers need to consider what support networks you have so in an emergency know that if an emergency happens, replacement care will get sorted out speedily and efficiently. For many, this may simply involve contacting a family member, friend or neighbour who is willing to cover in an emergency
It is advisable for all carers to create an emergency plan - for them and the person they care for. Having a plan in place can help ease worries if you are not able to care for the person you look after at any point in the future.
In order to create an emergency plan that fits your needs, you will need to consider:
• Details of the name and address and any other contact details of the person you look after.
• Who you and the person you look after would like to be contacted in an emergency – this might include friends, family or professionals.
• Details of any medication the person you look after is taking.
• Details of any ongoing treatment they need.
You may be able to arrange help and support from family and friends but it can be reassuring to have the involvement of your local council/trust in case informal arrangements fall through.
One way to do this is through an assessment for the person you look after or a carer's assessment for yourself.
Every carer who has an assessment should be asked about emergencies and offered help to plan for them. In addition, people who provide care for people with mental health problems under the care programme approach should have a written care plan which includes contingency planning.
Emergency 'carer card' schemes
In some areas there are emergency card schemes that have been set up for carers, often by the local council/trust or a local carers centre. This might be called:
• Carer card scheme
• Carers emergency card
• Emergency care scheme
In these instances, carers are usually asked to register and nominate individuals who would be able to take on the caring role if they were unable to in the event of an emergency (this may be family or friends). The information is held by the scheme which provides a 24-hour response service. Carers carry a card with the scheme's telephone number and a unique identification number to avoid any personal details appearing on the card.
An operator would look up your emergency plan and make arrangements for replacement care. This could be contacting friends or family, or putting in professional help. Plans will have been shared with them so they know the individual requirements of the person requiring care, such as medication.
Dudley Council offer the Carers 'Peace of Mind' Emergency Card Scheme
The scheme aims to gives carers peace of mind that should something happen to you, then the person you care for will be supported in your absence. It is administered by Dudley Carers Network working in partnership with Dudley Telecare Service.
Any carer who supports an adult living in the Dudley borough who can join the scheme. The carers details are recorded on the Dudley Telecare Service database, along with their nominated emergency contacts. A peace of mind scheme card is then sent to you, along with a keyfob. Both will show a send you a unique code number and a 24/7 365 days a year emergency telephone number.
If you, the carer, have an emergency then the card and keyfob will show that you care for someone and support is required. The operator will refer to your look your emergency plan and then contact the nominated people to tell them their support is needed or arrange for replacement care service to be put in place.
Contact Dudley Carers Network on 01384 818723.
Carers of children with disabilities can also request an emergency card. This is available from the council’s Children with disabilities team. Contact them on 01384 815813