BEHIND almost every person living with a life limiting illness is a family member who has dedicated their life to looking after them.
That’s why Prospect Hospice not only offers a range of services tailored to support the patient, but also works hard to support the carers who look after them.
For two and a half hours every month, carers meet in a café at Prospect Hospice to share their stories and support each other.
Jo Hyde, a Carer Support Nurse from the Family Support Team at the hospice, said: “Being a carer is not just about providing physical care for the patient, it’s also about providing emotional support as well as looking after the person’s physical needs.
“If carers have a good support system in place then it ultimately feeds back to the patient. If the carer feels supported and looked after and confident then in turn their care reflects that.”
Jo and the team work with other systems in the hospice to ensure that there is little excuse for carers not to make the most of their support services. This includes putting on free transport and providing a respite carer to look after their patient while they are out.
Jo said: “It can be quite a challenge for carers to feel OK to come along to the carers’ café so we do everything we can to make it difficult for them to make an excuse.”
For Mike Salter from Rodbourne, the carer’s cafe is a lifeline which enables him to take a little respite from caring for his wife, Jenny, who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The 65-year-old said: “I have been going to the carer’s cafe since 2010 and it has been a godsend, it’s been a huge help.
“I was a photographer so I spent a lot of time with different people, but when I became my wife’s carer I couldn’t do that anymore because she needed me at home.
“I can come here and talk to other people. Although the people we care for have different diseases and life limiting illnesses we understand where we’re all coming from.
“Being able to come here is like an oasis in the desert for me.”
The monthly carers’ café is not the only support that the hospice offers – there are also regular six-week courses available throughout the year to support them through life as a carer.
People can also take part in regular wellbeing days, and make the most of one-to-one support.
Jo said: “We offer lots of different services for our carers, not just the café.
“We can offer financial advice to people, as well as a bereavement service which can help a carer deal with the death of their patient.”
l To find out more about what Prospect Hospice does to support families and carers, or to find out what they can do to help you, call 01793 816135 or visit www.prospect-hospice.net/Our-Care/Families.