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Carers passport scheme's being introduced in Dorset

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9:03am 19th November 2017

Dorset Healthcare are introducing a new 'Carers Passport' scheme.

The passport gives carers hospital access outside of regular visiting hours providing extra support to patients.

Last year's pilot at Weymouth, Portland and St Leonard's hospital proved so successful that it's now being rolled out to all 11 hospitals in Dorset county.

The scheme is available to anyone who looks after a loved one with on-going mental or physical health problems.

Alison Low, Senior Sister on the Fayrewood Ward at St Leonards Hospital, said: "It makes a huge difference to the care we can provide when we have inside knowledge of a patient from their loved one. It helps us to meet their individual needs more effectively, and also gives the patient additional support at what can be a difficult time."

Under the system, carers identify themselves on arrival at the hospital and are given a 'passport' which allows them to stay throughout the day and into the evening. Overnight stays are still up to the discretion of ward nurses.

Marry Karchel of Sherborne, was the main carer for her late husband Peter, who had Parkinson's Disease. Last year, he spent his final months at the Yeatman Hospital in Sherborne where Mary was able to visit him as often as she wished. She said: "The hospital staff involved me in the care, invited me to give my opinions and at every junction would inform me of any changes in care or things they would like to do.

"I could go in at any time - day or night, it didn't matter - and that was a great support in looking after Peter.

"I used to visit him in the afternoons but he was often asleep and I couldn't chat to him. So, a nurse would often call me in the morning and say: 'he is awake now - come and stay as long as you like'.

"We had the most wonderful help and care."

The carer's passport idea was sparked by John's Campaign, a national initiative founded in late 2014 following the death of dementia patient Dr John Gerrard. His daughter Nicci, faced restricted visiting hours during his final days so began campaigning for more access for careers, a move backed by NHS England.

Talk to any member of hospital staff to find out more about the carer's passport scheme. More information is available online at: www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk



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