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Carers and juggling?

We couldn’t let Carers Week pass without thinking about the juggling act that is called ‘being a carer’.

Over the past year many of us have had ongoing caring responsibilities. From personal experience, being a carer is a bit like doing DIY (bear with me) in that it is the ‘smaller’ jobs that take much, much longer than you think.  Day to day caring is hard, but throw in an illness, change of care agency or financial assessment and things can easily unravel.   Who would have thought that trying to arrange for a loved one to be discharged from hospital would take 17 phone calls to four separate places? Or that you could be kept awake at 3am by letters from the DWP because you forget to tell them about a recent hospital admission? I could go on, but then so could you I bet.

I always knew that many of my clients had problems finding straightforward and impartial information, but had never fully appreciated it until I was the one making the 17 calls.  I know how to navigate health and social care, am confident of the law in this area and know the way things should work, but I still had to make the calls and weed through conflicting information.  And I realised that whilst no care decision stands in isolation, professional support has very distinct boundaries.  Where you want to make one phone call to get advice or sort something out, you then have to make another four calls to speak to ‘other departments’.  The only person seeing the ‘big picture’ is you. 

And without meaning in any way to sound big-headed, that is possibly the biggest advantage of instructing a health and community care lawyer.  I – and my colleagues – will look at the bigger picture and provide up to date legal advice that takes into account all aspects of a decision.  For those with caring responsibilities this is vitally important: you strive for the best outcomes for the person you care for, but often forget to think about the effects on you.  I can think of many cases where a carer has agreed to pay a ‘top up’ from their own money to ensure their loved one gets the best care…but what happens when they need care or support?

There are many fantastic carer support groups out there, providing invaluable guidance and support but sometimes a carer just needs to know where they, or the person they care for, stands legally.  If that’s you, give us a call today: make one phone call rather than 17!


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