It is more now than ever that carers may feel uncertain and we want them to know that we are still here to offer them information and guidance along with practical and emotional support. Although we have suspended all face-to-face meetings, our team is still available online or through our Response Line.

We asked a few of our Response Line workers to share their stories, hopefully providing an insight into the range of support they can offer Carers, from practical help getting the right equipment to being a sympathetic ear.

Call us on 0300 028 8888, or email if you have any questions or concerns, or if you simply need a chat.

One call is all it takes…

“I recently helped a carer who called into the Response Line worried about what would happen when the person they looked after was discharged from hospital. This carer was particularly concerned about not having the right support in place at home, which is understandable given the current situation.

From the initial phone call, I was able to help put in place support that would help ease this carer’s concerns, including:

  • referring this carer to one of our Emotional Wellbeing Hospital Workers, who could offer telephone support to help relieve the loneliness and isolation;
  • contacting a local charity on the carers behalf to ensure that help would be on hand after discharge, especially with home delivery of food provisions and prescriptions;
  • ordering equipment – that could not be provided by the hospital – from our Carer Equipment Service to help this carer maintain some independence around the home;
  • referring the carer to our dedicated Dementia Team who could provide tailored support and guidance around looking after someone with dementia; and,
  • putting the carer in touch with our Hospital Team who can guide the carer at the hospital and be on hand when the times comes to plan a hospital discharge that is suitable for the Carer too.”

Now not all carers will need or want this level of support, and that’s okay. Here on the Response Line, we make sure that each carer contact counts, and our greatest skill is listening to carers and helping them put things into perspective.

Sometimes, all it takes is that one phone call.

Story from Lorna, Carer Response Line Support Worker

 ‘Woke up this morning and I didn’t feel alone…’

“I picked up a call from a parent carer who was looking after two children with Autism. The carer’s usual routine had been completely disrupted due to the current situation, which was causing a stressful impact on their health and wellbeing.

It took a few calls and referrals to other organisations, but after a few days we had successfully put in place a plan that would help this carer in getting support with delivery of essential food provisions through her local Community Hub, and support – where necessary – from the local Children and Family Centre.

We were also able to signpost the carer to information about school arrangements for children who have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan in place. This was helpful for the carer as it would provide an option for the carer to have some much-needed respite and time out from caring.

Most importantly, this carer was able to get in touch with us over the course of the week via the Carer Response Line, where we listened to the carer without judgment and offered a sympathetic ear to her concerns. As the carer explains, ‘when I spoke to you and your colleagues; it’s the first time I’ve been listened to and not felt judged. I woke up this morning and I didn’t feel alone. You guys have done so much for me in these few days that I genuinely cannot believe how much support you have all given me’.”

Story from Astrid, Carer Response Line Support Worker

“I would like to thank you and everyone at a Carers Support for being there when we are at breaking point, you are all lifesavers even though you are all very modest and humble about the vital help that you give.”

Quote from anonymous carer who contacted the Carer Response Line when the news about the lockdown was announced.

Helpful and Hopeful News

It can be tempting to stay glued to the television or your phones constantly checking if there are any updates on the current situation. And whilst it’s important to understand how things are developing, we all also need to be mindful in exercising a bit of self-discipline.

‘I was supporting a carer whose husband ‘just heard on the news that they aren’t giving respirators to people with cancer who get Corona virus’ and that means him! I know that they have to draw a line, but when you or your loved one is on the wrong side of the line, it is an alarming thing to contemplate.

After sharing this carer query with my colleagues over Teams, someone else signposted this BBC interview with George Alagiah, which is helpful and hopeful. I was able to e-mail the link to the scared carer to share with her frightened husband. This example highlights how it can help to hear from others in a similar situation and to put things into perspective’.

Example from Hermione, Macmillan Carer Wellbeing Worker

My last few calls on the Response Line have concerned:

  • Carer Health & Wellbeing Fund
  • East Grinstead foodbank
  • Partnership update from Alzheimer’s Society
  • How to volunteer at West Sussex County Council
  • How to get in touch with Crawley Help Hub
  • A Young Carers referral
  • A Macmillan team referral
  • A call to confirm counselling is cancelled / postponed
  • Helping an out-of-area carer with an elderly parent in Crawley
  • An NHS referral
  • Carer Equipment Service
  • Request for registration and a Carers’ Discount Card
  • A carer who was referred onto the BRC Hospital service

 Examples from Dennis, working on Response Line

Although we have suspended all face-to-face meetings, we are still offering our core services: Emotional Support, Carer Contingency Planning, Carer Assessments, Practical guidance (including equipment and grants) and information provision.

Our team is available online or through our Response Line from Monday to Saturday. Our opening hours are 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm on Wednesday, and 10am to 12pm on Saturday. We are still here for you, so call us on 0300 028 8888, or email if you have any questions or concerns.