NSLHD News September 25

As part of the lead up to National Carers Week, which runs from October 11 to 17, NSLHD News and NSLHD Carer Support have explored the world of carers and staff on the front line in our district. National Carers Week is an opportunity to recognise, celebrate, and raise awareness among all Australians about the diversity of carers and their caring roles. There are 2.65 million Australians who provide care and support to a family member or friend with disability, mental health condition, chronic condition, terminal illness, an alcohol or other drug issue or who are frail aged. According to Deloitte , friends and family will give more than 2.2 billion hours of unpaid care in 2020, valued at almost $78 billion.

Including carers: why those closest have the most to offer Staff are being encouraged

to look at ways they can integrate carers along the patient journey. For many patients and carers, coming to hospital can be a daunting experience, but Nurse Unit Manager for 8D at Royal North Shore Hospital, Jacque Hextall says listening is key to delivering a positive experience. “It’s so important for clinicians to involve the carer in the patient journey because its “A lot of us take for granted being able to communicate what makes us uncomfortable or if there’s something that will make us feel better, but some of our most vulnerable patients can’t – that’s where working with their carer is so important.” Jacque said carers usually have a wealth of knowledge about their loved one that can help improve outcomes and make everyone life more comfortable. “We always talk about treating the whole person and quite often no one knows more about a person than their carer,” Jacque said. helps to deliver the best outcome,” Jacque said.

“If you’re a nurse, you can see hundreds of patients a week and every single one of those people are unique – not just in diagnosis and treatment but also in what they like and dislike. “Using this information can help us improve not just the healthcare outcomes of the patient, but also their carer.” Carers often also feel the strain of their role, sometimes needing help to maintain their physical and mental health, especially in the hospital environment. “Like anyone who has a sick loved one, hospital stays can be stressful,” Jacque said. “We have a duty to not only look after the patient, but also their carer’s wellbeing which is linked to the health and

happiness of their loved one.” The NSLHD Carers’ Support team is available to answer any questions staff may have about caring for patients with carers. “Barbara Lewis and her team do a phenomenal job in working with staff to accommodate for carers, whether that’s putting a bed in the patient’s room so they can stay with them or organising an extra meal to be sent for the carer,” Jacque said. “We’re really lucky to have the service and I would encourage all clinical staff to engage with them. Involving the carer in our care has a really positive effect on everyone experience in healthcare.”



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