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Most carers are too busy dealing with the challenges of everyday life to plan very far ahead.

However, it’s important to consider what might happen to the person you look after if you were suddenly unable to care for them – perhaps due to sudden illness or an accident.

Planning how you might deal with such emergencies could stop a small mishap or incident turning into something much more serious.

Things to consider

No-one wants to dwell on the worst-case scenario, but consider what might happen in the following situations:

  • You are suddenly taken ill and perhaps taken to hospital
  • Another family member has an emergency and needs your help
  • Someone else dies or is taken ill
  • You are delayed away from home, perhaps due to a vehicle breakdown or bad weather.

Would the person you are looking after:

  • Be safe at home for any period of time? If yes, for how long? Overnight?
  • Manage on their own for a short time, for example, are they able to use the bathroom unaided or get themselves into bed?
  • Be able to contact someone else?
  • Contact emergency services or pull a community alarm?

Having an emergency plan doesn’t mean that you will never have to deal with an emergency but planning ahead will put your mind at rest.

Carer’s needs assessment

Your carer’s needs assessment focuses on your well-being and support needs. You should be asked to what extent you are able and willing to care for the other person. If you have a long-term health condition your own support plan should reflect this, for example, providing you with short breaks from your caring role.

Carers Emergency Card Scheme

Once you have registered for the scheme, you will receive an emergency card which fits into your purse or wallet. The idea is that you carry it with you at all times.

If you are involved in an accident or sudden illness, the card is used as an immediate source of identification and will alert the emergency staff to the fact that they are dealing with someone with caring responsibilities.

They contact the emergency call centre number on the card and alternative help will be arranged for the person you care for.

The service is confidential and no personal details are written on the emergency card – the only means of identification is the registration number on your card. 

For more information, contact your local carers centre or team.

Tell people you are a carer

Carers need plenty of support so it’s important to tell people if you are looking after someone.

Tell your employer and make sure your GP knows you are a carer.