Peace of mind for carers

By on 25/06/2009 in News

anderson-sue2The Carer population of Birmingham, estimated at 100,000 people, could soon see improved quality of life thanks to a new in-case-of-emergency service.

The Carers Emergency Response Service (CERS) is a free ‘safety net’ service for carers. It ensures that the cared for can be looked after, should carers be faced with situations that are beyond their control, for example, if the carer is involved in an accident or has been delayed. The Birmingham based scheme is the largest in the country, is totally free and does not affect any benefits that may be received.

Carers lives are geared around the lives of people they care for, and this can be a very delicate balance. Even a relatively minor unexpected event, like a train being late, can be a disaster.

Every carer’s situation is totally different, e.g., some people have ritualised behaviour and may be confused and distressed by a change of routine, they may need regular medical procedures or to attend medical appointments. The cared for often struggle with communication and letting people know what they need.

Some carers are so frightened by the prospect of something happening to them that will affect their ability to provide care, that they are virtually housebound and have no life of their own.

Carers who sign up to the CERS service will be registered on a database to receive support in an emergency, and will be helped to create an Emergency Action Plan that details the type of care that may be needed. For those carers who have no friends or family to help them, or for people who need more specialist care, a team of expert care staff is on call.

The plan would be used when the CERS team are notified that an emergency has occurred. Carers will be given a card so that if they are involved in an accident or medical emergency, the police or ambulance service would be able to contact the CERS team.

Councillor Sue Anderson, cabinet member for Adults and Communities, comments: “Carers can often feel like a very isolated, invisible part of society that no one does anything to help. Without the right support, caring can seriously damage your health. CERS provides care for carers, to reassure them that they are not alone.

We hope to access the ‘hidden’ community of carers, who would not necessarily see themselves as carers or who pride themselves on being able to manage alone. If you provide support to a friend or relative who could not manage without your help, then you are a carer. CERS reassures Carers that life for the cared for can continue as usual and that people will receive the same high standard of care.”

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