A new Carer Hub at the Royal United Hospital (RUH) in Bath is set to become the first dedicated in-hospital information service for carers in the South West.
Located just inside the hospital’s main entrance, the Carer Hub provides signposting and support to the hundreds of carers who pass through the RUH each day.
From 8th September, the Carer Hub will be staffed by a team of dedicated, trained volunteers from 10am-12noon and from 2pm-4pm, Monday to Friday – though visitors to the hospital will have access to leaflets and support materials in the hub outside of these hours.
Director of Nursing and Midwifery at the RUH, Helen Blanchard said: “Carers play such a vital role – they are the unsung heroes of the health system.
“However, many people fail to identify themselves as carers and are unaware of the help and support they are entitled to.
“We wanted to house the Carer Hub here at the hospital, as this is the point at which many people find themselves taking on a caring role; whether it’s a person whose spouse or partner has just had a stroke, or a son or daughter caring for a parent whose mental or physical health has deteriorated.
“It is important to us to provide a welcoming space staffed by a team of dedicated volunteers here at the hospital to help carers find support and advice.”
Fiona Carr, a carer from Bath said: “Eighteen months ago my husband John had a major stroke. So overnight I became a carer for him.
“Unfortunately the stroke left him paralysed in his right arm and also with dysphasia which means he has trouble speaking. So he needs me to be his carer to get the most out of life.
“My brother-in-law told me something that changed the way I see caring. He said that when you’re in an aircraft, if the oxygen masks come down you’re told to put yours on first before helping others. Meaning that in order to help somebody you have to look after yourself as well.
“I have to make sure I’m fit and well in order to be a good carer for John, and that means getting support for myself. It’s good to know that there’s a Carer Hub at the RUH so that other people like me can find the support they need and are entitled to.”
The Carer Hub is still seeking a number of volunteers to join the team. Full training will be provided and volunteers are well-supported by the Friends of the RUH, who have kindly supported the project.
If you would like to register your interest as a potential volunteer and make a huge difference to the lives of carers, please contact Andy Graham, BaNES Carers’ Centre on 0800 0388 885.