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Carers Week: It's a priority of ours to support carers too.
Every day 6000 people in the UK will start to look after someone close to them, unpaid.
Caring is a major part of life and most of us will provide care or need it ourselves within our lifetime.
The majority of the patients receiving services from Saint Francis Hospice will be supported by a family carer too. Be them husbands, wives, sons or daughters; they may find themselves suddenly on the front line in the care of their loved one. And it's a priority of ours that we support them.
We are very aware that caring is a journey, and like any journey you need breaks and support to reach the end. We are also aware that the person on the journey is the expert; they know where it hurts and the specific stress points that they experience. So we always strive to be led by them, so that we can provide the right support for every individual we meet.
It may be one to one support, a carers drop in group, education and signposting on a carer's course, a friendly ear on the end of the phone, or a chance to have some social time with the person they care for and others in a similar situation.
During Carers Week, we hold a cream tea party for our carers and the people they're looking after. This event is just a small gesture to mark the huge contribution they make to the care of our patients. The idea is that for a few hours, they can sit back, enjoy a cream tea and let us wait on them. After all, calories don't count on carers week!
Today, 45 people filled our dining room and devoured their scones and jam to the sounds of Hall Mead School, who performed beautifully during the afternoon! It was lovely to see carers meeting other carers and friendships being formed over a cup of tea. It was wonderful to witness carers beginning to relax, enjoy the company and take time out before returning to the everyday demands of caring.