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'Help Available To Carers From The Health Service'

Six million carers in Britain look after a relative or friend who is elderly, ill or disabled. Many spend long hours on the practical work of caring. Some experience great stress; some are elderly themselves. Often they receive little or no help. These carers are the backbone of community care in this country. Without them the state would have to bear greatly increased costs in its health and social services.

Carers are entitled to help in the task of caring. Make sure that you are aware of, and use, the support which is available locally. Your GP should be your first point of comtact. As well as diagnosing and treating any health problems, he or she should be able to refer you to different sources of help in the NHS. You may be offered:

  • help from District Nursing Service with tasks including care of pressure sores, changing dressings, or giving injections

  • help with laundry (bed linen)

  • aids and equipment in the home

  • specialist continence advice

  • chiropody, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy

  • home visits for dental care, family planning, physiotherapy and chiropody if the person you care for is unable to get access to these services outside the home because of severe disability

  • specialist nursing support from Community Mental Health Nurses or Community Learning Disability Nurses

  • additional nursing help and equipment if the person you care for is terminally ill

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