The repost ‘Pressure Points: Carers and the NHS’ examines the role of carers in reducing emergency admissions and delayed transfers of care from hospital.

The report acknowledges that the  bulk of care in the community is provided by families and friends caring unpaid, so  a focus on how carers make decisions and use services and on how carers can best be supported, is an essential part of  future planning for the NHS.  The report states ‘ without putting in place community health and care services that back up carers, our health and care system will not be able to be able to transform the way it delivers care to meet the needs of our ageing society’ and deliver the outcomes of the NHS 5 Year Forward View.

A relative or friend coming out of hospital often marks the beginning or a change in a caring role and it is a crucial time for carers to get the information and support they need before discharge to make a decision about whether they can take on what is often a significant caring role. Health professionals must involve carers and put the necessary steps in place to give them the short and medium term support they need and ensure they have access to the information and advice they need to provide care without putting their own health and employment in jeopardy.  Carer Support Workers (CSWs)  based in hospitals can help with this – Carers Leeds has one half time CSW based at St James .

As health and social care services delivered in the community become more difficult to access, the pressure on carers of people with significant health problems to visit A&E increase.  A third (32%) of carers responding to this research, whose family member or friend has had an emergency admission in the previous 12 months, thought admission could have been prevented with more support for them as a carer.

The report also informs us that when carers are not involved in discharge planning, the likelihood of early re-admission through A&E also increases. It’s not surprising that where carers are not ready to receive their loved one at home and where that person is not fully ready for returning to home, there is an increase in the potential for early and unnecessary return to hospital via emergency admission.

This report highlights some key issues for carers, issues that we are very aware of at Carers Leeds and is essential reading for those in Leeds responsible for planning health and social care services if the planned direction for NHS services is to be successfully followed.