A carer is someone who provides unpaid help and support to another person who could not cope without their help. This could be due to age, physical or mental illness, disability or addiction.

A carer may be a partner, child, relative, friend or neighbour. Carers will be of all ages and situations; for example, a young carer who cares for a parent or sibling, or a parent carer of a disabled child.

A carer often does not realise they are a carer, and may struggle to tell someone they are finding it difficult to cope. A carer is not necessarily the closest relative of a patient or their next of kin.

Click here to download our information for carers leaflet.

Young carers information

If you are a young person involved in caring for a parent or sibling who has a physical or mental health need, disability or substance misuse problem, then you may be a young carer. You might have to take on responsibilities that an adult may usually have including practical tasks or supporting them emotionally.

If you want to find out more about being a young carer, go to the NHS Choices website or contact the Young Carers Support Service, which offers help and advice to carers between the ages of 8 and 18, on 0300 123 2224.

As a young carer, you might find this has an impact on your life in other areas, such as school or college, socialising with friends and how you feel emotionally. We know that it is important to make sure that you are supported when you access our services. If you have to come to hospital either with the person you care for or as a patient yourself, make yourself known to the ward sister or department manager. They will make sure that you are supported and informed about care, and can be an advocate for you and the person you care for, if need be.

If you (the carer) are admitted to hospital

There may be times when you need to go into hospital for a period of time to receive treatment. If possible, it is best to plan ahead to ensure arrangements are put in place so that the person you care for can continue to receive support. If the person you care for lives in Somerset please contact Somerset Direct on 0300 123 2224 for more information on how this care can be provided.

A Carers Emergency Response Card is service that provides emergency support to the person you care for in the event of an accident or emergency that prevents you from caring. See www.sompar.nhs.uk/carers for more information or call 01373 455 854.