(from the left): Lorna Harte, Sheila Holtby, Chairperson and Louise Casey, Director, West Cork Carers Support Group, Author Alice Taylor and Sally-ann Back, West Cork Carers Support Group
The renowned West Cork author, Alice Taylor launched the Carer’s Guide and Emergency Card at The Maritime Hotel on Wednesday March 26. Carers often worry about what will happen if, at short notice, they are unable to provide care. The Carer’s Guide is a folder where Carers can record all of their caring activities plus vital information such as the medical details of the cared for person. The Guide is intended to give Carers some ‘peace of mind’ in that it will ensure continuity of care if the Carer is away from home. It can also be used to ease communications between the Carer, the Caree and care professionals when a Carer needs to take a well-deserved respite break.
The Carer’s Guide also encourages the Carer to keep personal and medical details up to date and in one place so that, in the case of an emergency, they can be quickly accessed. This will ensure that all aspects of the care provided by the Carer are passed on to the care professionals in a clear format, thus ensuring ease of communication and practical coordination between the Carer and the local service providers supporting the care for the cared for person.
The Carer’s Emergency Card is a credit card sized card that is carried by Carers. It is used as an instant source of identification in case the Carer has an accident when they are out. Carers can obtain a Carer’s Emergency Card from West Cork Carers Support Group and complete the straightforward details including emergency contact numbers. The card should be carried in your bag or wallet. In the event of an accident, this would help alert Gardai, the ambulance service or other emergency response staff to the fact that there is also someone else in need of help.
The two emergency contact telephone numbers on the card should be persons who can help with co-ordinating assistance for the cared for person, while the Carer is receiving attention. It is important that Carers prepare the emergency contact persons who may come in to take their place by: Checking that these people might be able to step in at short notice and look after the cared for person; checking that they are happy with a call at any time, day or night, in an emergency; making sure that you complete the Carer’s Guide and inform your emergency contacts where this guide is normally kept.
What are the benefits? Carers feel more supported; Carers are less anxious about going out; Carers have peace of mind that their situation is understood; The aids have been developed at the request of Carers; they are Carer led; They are quality, cost effective initiatives.
The Carer’s Guide and Emergency Card have been developed by West Cork Carers Support Group and are supported by the HSE South.