Carers 'need' more training

Carers tending to a cancer sufferer perform tasks they have not been trained for and are not comfortable doing, a health charity found. MacMillan Cancer Support discovered 240,000 carers wanted more training to adequately care for a loved one.

'Knock on effect' on patient when carer is isolated

When a carer is not supported it has a "knock on effect" on the patient, warned the chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Ciarán Devane wanted to see the duty placed on local authorities to identify carers in the care bill extended to the NHS as well.

Mr Devane was speaking to Daybreak after research by Macmillan Cancer Support exposed the extent to which carers have little to no training in medical tasks.

Govt: Care bill already provides for carers

The care bill already contains proposals designed to support carers, the care minister has said.

Norman Lamb agreed with Macmillian Cancer Support, that carers made "a huge contribution" to the UK, but continued with plans to have them identified by the local council, rather than the NHS.

Carers make a huge contribution to society and we want to do all we can to support them.

We agree that there needs to be better joint working and proposals already in the care bill will mean that local authorities will have to co-operate and work closely with the NHS to identify and support carers.

We have also provided £400 million to the NHS for carers breaks and given over £1.5 million of funding to help develop initiatives with GPs, nurses and carers organisations to train people to help support them in their caring roles.

– Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb

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Macmillan: 'Nonsensical' for councils to identify carers

Serious changes should be made the to care bill, currently making its way through Parliament, to better support carers, a leading health charity has said.

Ciaran Devane, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support said it was "nonsensical" that the care bill places a legal duty solely on local authorities to identify and support cancer carers.

Caring is a huge responsibility taken on out of duty and love. Families and carers are the backbone of society and they deserve to be supported.

Without support, cancer carers can go beyond breaking point which is bad for them and their loved one but is also costly to the NHS and ultimately to the taxpayer.

By identifying cancer carers and explaining what information and support is available, health professionals can vastly improve their quality of life and help them to continue caring - which is what they want to do.

– chief executive of macmillan Ciaran Devane

Caring without training leaves you 'vulnerable'

Carers are feeling increasingly vulnerable because they have not had enough training on the basics, like changing bandages or administering injections, a leading health charity found.

One such carer, Pamela Digney, from Lincolnshire, spoke to Macmillan about the challenges she faces looking after her husband Roy, 75, who had cancer removed from his spine:

My husband is paralysed from the waist down from his operation, so I have to help him with everything.

I have to administer morphine patches and liquid morphine for pain relief, as well as help him with his catheter. Infection control is also a constant concern.

I haven't been given adequate training or information to help with these things, and it leaves you feeling quite vulnerable when you have to do them on your own.

– Carer Pamela Digney

Lack of training leaves 63% of carers 'distressed'

Macmillan Cancer Support surveyed over 2,000 carers to find out how they were coping with helping to treat a patient on a day-to-day basis.

The health charity found:

  • Of those with no or inadequate training, 63% had been left feeling distressed.
  • And 50% said caring for a loved one with cancer left them feeling frightened.
  • Over one in three, 34%, worried their loved one would need to take a trip to the hospital.
  • Of those who perform healthcare tasks, 36% have had to urgently call a doctor or 999 to get support or advice on how to help the person they care for.

Macmillan: Carers feeling helpless without training

Carers tending to a cancer sufferer are performing tasks they are not trained to do properly and often feel overwhelmed, a leading health charity has found.

Injection
Many carers struggle to administer injections because they have not been trained to use a syringe, Macmillan Cancer Support has found. Credit: PA

Around 240,000 people care for a cancer patient who will require injections, a catheter and a change of bandages but 53% of those say they have had little or no instruction from a healthcare professional.

One in five, 21%, cancer carers who had received some training said it was not enough.

Macmillan is now calling for changes to be made to the care bill, which was discussed in the House of Lords last week, to ensure the NHS in England supports cancer carers.

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