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Health column - Carol Dyson

There are currently over 63,000 unpaid adult carers in Worcestershire. However there are also a large number of people who are looking after a family member, friend or neighbour who don’t realise that they are also a carer.

This week, 8 – 14 June, is Carers Week. As a carer support worker at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, I want to put a focus on the role of the carer and the help that is available for carers, that people that might not be aware that they are able to get.

A carer provides unpaid support to family or friends who need help because of illness, age, disability or addiction. A carer can be of any age.

I know that caring for a family member, friend or neighbour can be an extremely rewarding experience - but it can also be a very challenging one. Carers face issues of stress and worry, social isolation and financial worries among other things.

In Worcestershire we have a local Association of Carers, who recognise the physical stresses and strains that often go hand-in-hand with caring. They offer a whole range of support to carers from practical sessions to help over the telephone and house visits or even financial assistance.

The Worcestershire Association of Carers works within a huge network of agencies and charities meaning that if they can't help with a specific problem, they can signpost you to somewhere that can.

I specifically work within the carer’s unit at Worcestershire County Council and we work very closely with the end of life care teams here at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust to offer extra help to carers across the county.

We take referrals from our hospitals wards, carers themselves, relatives of carers and more. My role is to support carers, relatives and the families of these as best as possible, directing them to the service in the community that they need.

If you are a carer, come forward to the Worcestershire Association of Carers and get support. You can call the Carers Helpline on 0300 012 4272.

The helpline is open Monday to Friday 9am - 7pm and on Saturdays 9am - 12pm.