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Who is a carer?

CarersDo you look after someone who is in one of our hospitals? It may be that you provide substantial and regular care to a partner, child, relative, friend or neighbour, who could not manage without your help.  If so you may be termed a carer and could be an adult caring for a relative with dementia, a young carer who cares for a parent or sibling or a parent carer of a disabled child. In all cases there are support organisations and help that you can access. 

View our joint Carer's Charter with NBT that recognises the vital role carers play within our hospitals and sets out both trusts' commitment to work together with carers as expert partners in patients' care.

In hospital

When someone you care for is in hospital it can be a very worrying and stressful time.  When you're looking after someone, you may feel you have a right to access information held about them, or that you need the information to help you care for them.


However, by law we have a duty to protect an individuals confidentiality. If you want information about a person you care for then staff may seek the patients approval first.

If the person you care for lacks capacity then staff may apply The Mental Capacity Act.

If you are a carer of someone with Dementia, please ask our staff for a This is Me leaflet. 'This is Me' is a simple and practical tool for people going into hospital and their carers. It provides a 'snapshot' of the person with dementia and gives hospital staff information about them as an individual, including the patients likes, dislikes and interests.

 It is important to talk to staff as early as possible if you are or might become a carer. As a carer you can help staff with information, and staff can work out what support you might need in your caring role, as well as the support the patient needs on discharge.

Carers assessment

As a carer, you should be given an opportunity to talk about your needs and what help you may need to look after the patient when they are discharged from hospital.  It is your legal right to have your needs addressed and this is achieved by having a carers assessment

An assessment is used to find out what a carers needs are and to establish whether any help can be provided to meet them.  It is also a good opportunity to talk to somebody about how you feel about caring.  Ask the nurse about how to get an assessment if you think it may be of benefit. 

You can also  contact  Bristol City Council about an assessment telephone 0117 922 2700 or email or you can get  an assessment through your local carers centre by calling 0117 939 2562.Carers

Support for carers

Carers Direct offers free, confidential information and advice for carers. They can be contacted on 0808 802 0202 and lines are open 8.00am to 9.00pm Monday to Friday, 11.00am to 4.00pm at weekends. Carers can also ask for a call back in more than 170 languages.

Need a listening ear? You don't need to be religious to get help from our spiritual and pastoral care team.  Having a friend or relative who is ill and in hospital can be very worrying and you may sometimes find it hard to balance your needs with theirs.

If you are a carer for someone in Bristol you can access a number of free courses to support you in your caring role. To find out more please contact Gill Deacon, at The Carers' Support Centre on 0117 958 9988 or

A carer liaison and development worker is based at the BRI and can:

  • provide help, support and advice to carers through their hospital journey as a carer and/or patient, working directly on hospital wards and signposting to other services for support
  • liaise between the discharge team, busy ward staff and carers and their family, to help sort out your concerns or worries

The service is currently being piloted on Wards 4, 7 and 23. However, if you need any advice or require support on another ward, please contact Emma Harris, who will be able to offer advice or signpost you to another service, on 0755 7441613 or

Below is a list of Bristol-based carers' organisations who offer help, support and advice:

Working with carers

We want to work in partnership with carers to ensure we carry out our role more effectively. We want to listen to what you say so that we can work more efficiently and improve the experience of our patients and carers. 

We have four Carer Governors in the Trust who would be happy to hear  your views. For more information please go to the governors' page.

If you are a carer or staff member/carer and would like to be involved in how the Trust improves the experience of carers please contact Karen Hurley via 07825 299 112 or