Carer Support – before and after death.
- Identify any carer(s) in a timely fashion
- Structured approach to identification of carers’ needs.
3.1 Identify any carer(s) in a timely fashion
The carer is often required to manage a complex medicines regimen and pharmacy support with advice and information can improve quality and safety of medicines administration.
To get started:
- An agreed protocol for identifying carers of people who have advanced serious illness or who may be approaching the end of life.
Consider how all members of the team can contribute to carer identification.
Record the patient's main carer(s) and their details, for example, name, address, contact number, relationship to patient, for example, spouse, neighbour, son (state if young carer) or paid carer.
In agreement with carer, ensure ‘Is a Carer’ is documented appropriately and highlighted in the record of the carer.
When the patient dies and the person is no longer a carer, their record should be updated. In agreement with the carer, update record to acknowledge the bereavement. Staff should think about any bereavement support they could provide.
See also Standard 7
3.2 Structured approach to identification of carers’ needs
The project team will develop tools to support a structured approach.
To get started:
- Where possible, record a holistic carer assessment, that is, to identify problems from their perspective: both in terms of their needs as 'clients'(a patient) and their needs as 'co-workers'(caring for a person).
Often the pharmacy will have close contact with the carer, collecting medicines etc.
Consider how the Pharmacy supports carers to preserve their own psychological and physical health, as ‘clients’ (directly or signposting).
Consider how the pharmacy provides information, knowledge and skills to carry out their role as ‘co-worker’ more effectively (directly or signposting)
Many HCPs report being fearful of opening up 'a can of worms' by asking carers what support they feel they need, but evidence shows that it is often quite simple things that make a difference and even just being asked is in itself supportive.
The Carers Support Needs Assessment tool website is https://csnat.org/ and the online training and implementation toolkit is at https://arc-gm.nihr.ac.uk/training/login. The toolkit hosts a full set of training videos as well in Learning Unit 1, Module.
A conversation about potential carer needs relating to “Managing symptoms including medicines” might include understanding different medicines, being involved in discussion about symptom management, arranging supply including delivery, “Just in Case” medicine supplies, learning practical skills e.g. giving injections and accessing help with symptom management out of hours (see the Marie Curie Just in Case medicines page).