Ask the patient two questions
In providing care, health staff should ask the patient two questions:
Are you a carer? Do you provide unpaid ongoing support and care for a family member or friend because of their disability, illness or age?
Do you have a carer? Does a family member or friend provide you with support and care because of disability, illness or age?
Does the carer need support?
If the patient responds 'yes' to 'Are you a carer?', several support options are available:
- Refer the carer to the social worker
- Refer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers to culturally responsive services such as an Aboriginal Hospital Liaison Officer
- Printed information for carers is on display in your hospital
- Carer Gateway 1800 442 737
- My Aged Care 1800 200 422
- Contact the local health district Carer Support Service/Carers Program
How will the carer be involved in the patient's care?
If the patient responds 'yes' to 'Do you have a carer?', the carer should be involved in patient care:
- With the patient's permission, share information with the carer about the patient's treatment, medication, services and test results
- Take time to talk to and listen to the carer - they know the patient
- Involve the carer in bedside clinical handover and bedside rounds
- Ask the carer about ways to provide personalised care for the patient
- Involve the carer in planning for the patient's discharge
- Teach the carer what they need to know as the patient goes home
Recording carers' details
In both cases, make sure that the carer's details are recorded in the Patient Administration Systems (PAS) and Electronic Medical Record (eMR).