Information for Carers
Those who support their friends, family and loved ones are often described as carers for those who are using our mental health services.
Families and carers play a vital role in supporting people with mental health problems and those with addictions to drugs or alcohol.
Being a carer is often difficult and for some, lonely, but their role is invaluable.
Our teams, with the permission of the service user, always seek to involve friends and family in the programme of support we offer. This will include consultation on the decisions made about their care and treatment.
When somebody is providing unpaid care to a service user, the law might suggest they are formally considered to be a 'carer' and therefore may be eligible for a carers assessment.
Much of the information in the patients service users section of this website will also be valuable reading for carers for those with mental health problems.
This includes information about:
- Our services
- The Mental Health Act
- The Mental Capacity Act
- Where to turn for help at times of crisis.
The links below provide information about support groups run both by the Trust and others.
Staff in the NHS have a legal duty to keep information about the patients with whom they work, strictly confidential.
If the patient is willing to give consent, the team can share information with members of their family and those close to them. If consent to share information is not given, you may still talk to staff.
General information about patient illness, emotional and practical support, advice and guidance for you as the carer, does not breach confidentiality.
Your views are important to us and we strive to learn from the experience of those who use services, including families and carers. We welcome feedback and this can be given through a number of ways including, talking to the staff who are providing care (or the service manager), submit compliments or submit formal concerns or complaints.
Carer and Patients Consultative Committees
The Patient and Carer Consultative Committees are regular, bi-monthly meetings for service users and carers to meet up and share experiences of accessing mental health services to support improvement in service delivery.
They also regularly include representatives from service lines to discuss relevant developments and other areas of work.
Meetings are open to all service users and carers within their geographical area. Find out the date of your next meeting and read the minutes from the last meeting.
We produce a range of service user experience and satisfaction surveys, which we also encourage families and carers to complete when they are receiving services.
We know that we can learn from the views, experience and opinions of those who use our services and their carers. We therefore seek to involve service users and carers in all aspects of our work. You can read more about our approach to service user and carer involvement in our getting involved section.
Do you live in Medway?
If you are a Medway carer, Medway Council will provide you with information on a local carers’ helpline, claiming carers’ allowance and disabled facilities grants, and where to find support. To find out more visit the Medway Council website.
Carers Drop-in Service
The Carers Drop-in Service is a place where you can come and speak to a Mental Health professional, who will be able to offer advice, answer questions, give you information and assist with a Carers Assessment.
You can access the Carers Drop-in Service if you are a relative, friend or partner of a person who has a mental health problem, is aged 16 years and over and who receives care from the Trust.
You do not have to make an appointment - just come to Priority House in Maidstone when we are there and we will be able to see you.
The service is held on the first and third Tuesday of every month from 2pm to 7pm.
If you can't get to Priority House, you can call us on 01622 725000 at the times the service is on. Just ask for the Carers Drop-in Service.
Personal Safety Training for Carers
Do you sometimes feel threatened from those you care for? If so, this course specifically designed for carers can help. We will teach you safe ways to physically disengage from various situations along with providing an opportunity to share experiences and find support from other carers.
The course will be held at a number of different venues around the county. Download the poster for dates and how to book.
We value the important role that carers play in the lives of those who use all of our services whatever their age and we recognise that there is joint accountability between the Trust and carers, who are an important source of information about the people that they care for.
The Carers Charter has been produced in conjunction with carers and working together we make a commitment in the support we provide. If you have a question about the Charter and the care you or your friend or relative is receiving, please speak with your Carer Lead. Further details can be found here.
The Charter will be reviewed in July 2015.