Do you look after young people who help others? If so, you may have young carers in your family helping either you or another member of the family who couldn’t cope without their help and support.
Kingston Hospital has a service which helps young people to recognise if they provide unpaid carer for others and find out what help and support is available for them.
Find out more about how you or a young person can be referred for advice, help and support in their caring role, in our Young Carers’ Support Service FAQs:
Q: Who is the service for?
A: The service benefits young carers residing in any borough who are taking on practical and/or emotional caring responsibilities normally expected of an adult and may be concerned about their own health or wellbeing. The Carers’ Clinical Liaison (CCL) Practitioner puts a support plan in place by referring them to support networks for young carers in the community.
Q: How do I know I identify as an unpaid carer?
A: A young carer is anyone under the age of 18 who is affected by the care needs of a family member requiring practical and/or emotional support normally expected of an adult. This could be due to a physical disability, a learning disability, a mental health issue, a substance misuse problem, or a long-term illness. The young carer may find themselves doing anything from cooking, shopping, and housework to administering medication, assisting with personal care such as washing or dressing, interpreting, physical support such as lifting, and even emotional support or looking after younger sibling.
Q: Can I self-refer to the service?
A: This is a new service being offered at Kingston Hospital. Currently, all referrals should be made by hospital staff members directly to the Carers Clinical Liaison Practitioner. Please speak with the nurse or doctor to request that they make a referral on behalf of a young carer, or if you are a young carer, you can speak confidentially with any member of staff and ask them to make the referral for you.
Q: I feel overwhelmed with looking after the cared for person, can the service help?
A: The service is for concerns regarding all young carers either during a hospital stay for a cared for person or yourself, or your ability to cope with providing care at home. If you meet this criterion, please speak with any member of the clinical team. They can refer you to the service.
Q: What is the role of a Carers Clinical Liaison Practitioner?
A: A CCL Practitioner’s duty is to focus on the concerns a young carer has regarding their own health and wellbeing. A CCL puts a support plan in place by referring them to support networks for young carers in the community. The support available for young carers includes: – Confidential information, advise and support, one-to-one emotional support, mentoring programme in schools, after school support groups, holiday leisure break programme, bespoke projects and events among others.
Q: What does a carer support plan look like?
A: The CCL will meet with the young carer alongside their parents or guardians and take them through a structured conversation designed to better understand their needs. This will include going through a wellbeing checklist and giving initial information regarding their rights and entitlements as a young carer. The wellbeing checklist will help to increase understanding about how the young carer feels regarding the care they are giving and how this may affect other parts of the young carer’s life. On first contact, a young carer’s resource is also shared. The letter includes guidance and information regarding being a young carer and young carers resources available in local areas. The letter is intended to give the carer some reassurance that they are not alone and there are lots of options to be explored to support them.
A second follow up meeting may be arranged between the young carer and the CCL Practitioner at the carer’s convenience.
Q: Can the Carers’ Clinical Liaison Practitioner provide medical updates or anything of a medical nature?
A: The Carers’ Clinical Liaison Practitioner will not give any updates on behalf of the clinical team to the young carer or next of kin. Please speak with the Nurse in Charge if any medical information is required.
Q: Who do I speak to if I have question regarding the service?
A: All clinical staff have been made aware of the service. Please speak with them and they may be able to refer you to the Carers clinical liaison practitioner. The service runs Monday to Friday and carers should be contacted by telephone within 1 working day after receiving a referral.
Q: Who should the young carer/their parents/guardians contact if they have concerns regarding the rights, health or wellbeing of a young carer?
A: The Local Authority Adult Social Care Services or local Carers Centre may be able to put some extra help in place to benefit you and the cared for person.
We hope these FAQs helped answer any initial questions you had regarding the service.