Graphic image of a person with its arm around another person - white on dark pink backgroundIt's important to know if you are a carer. A carer is someone who provides unpaid support to family or friends. This could be caring for an adult child, other relative, partner or friend. The person you care for can be ill, frail, disabled or have mental health or substance misuse problems.

This page provides information about your rights as a carer and what help or support is available.



Why it's important to know if you're a carer

It's important to know if you are a carer

Video image of a female carer in a pink dress - links to the video Caring for a loved one is very rewarding. It can also be tiring, lonely or overwhelming at times. If you know you are a carer you can find out what support is available to you. In this video a carer talks about how important it is to identify yourself as a carer.



Get in touch if you need help

If you would like any further information about being a carer, please contact the Patient Experience team. We have a guide (handbook) for carers or please click here to view an accessible version of the document  that explains how to get help and support in your caring role.

You can also go to the Carers in Hertfordshire website or call them on 01992 58 69 69

The Hertfordshire County Council website provides useful information about support for carers.

How we support carers

Carers Champions in adult and children's services

Graphic showing a group of people in a hand - white on dark pink background Our Carers Champions are staff who have volunteered to take on this additional role. They liaise with staff in their teams to remind everyone of the importance of identifying, valuing, and supporting carers. We discuss your needs as a carer with you to enable us to signpost you for additional support as required. For example, we may signpost you to Carers in Herts.

Carers assessment

You can complete a carer's assessment link. If you would like more information, help, advice about this - or urgent support please call Hertfordshire County Council on 0300 123 4040. 

Partnership in Care

When the person you care for is in hospital, Partnership in Care helps you be involved as much as you want to be. Wards have open visiting hours so that carers can offer support at times that are convenient to them.

Young carers

All of our staff receive training in how to identify young carers and what support is available to them. 

We have engaged with young carers through attending their young carers youth council meeting and other young carers events. This has enabled us to understand what matters to them and how best to support them. 

Our staff signpost young carers to Young Carers in Herts you can also call on 01992 586969

Carer support organisations

Carer support organisation offer a range of free help to carers, including advice and support to plan your caring role. They can help you look after your own health and wellbeing by providing arange of free courses and activities, and can advise on arranging short breaks from caring. Check below for the carer support organisation local to where you live.

  • Action for Family Carers (supporting carers across Essex)

Call 0300 770 8090   Email:

Call 0300 111 1919 or email

Call 01992 586969 or email

Call 0300 772 9600  or email

Call 020 7378 4999 or email

Covers the towns and villages of North Herts, Stevenage, Welwyn, Hatfield, Dacorum, St Albans, East Herts and Broxbourne.

Call 01462 455578 or email

Have joined forces with Carers in Herts - covers the boroughs of Hertsmere, Three Rivers and Watford

Call 0208 905 1158 or email

Call 01582 547659 or 01582 547660

Parent carers

Parent carers are life-long advocates for their children

Graphic of parent and child - white on dark pink background Parent carers care for children or young people under 18 years with a variety of disabilities, health conditions or additional needs. These additional needs are often life-long and the challenges faced change as the child/young person grows and develops.


Carer assessments

If you are a parent carer of a child with special needs under 18 years, or you are a young carer, you have similar rights to a Carer Assessment and support (as with adult carers). This is covered by the Children and Families Act 2014.

Other children in your family

It is important to note that other children living at home may also help with caring and therefore need some extra support themselves. Having caring responsibilities can have an impact on a young person’s schooling, sleep, and friendships. Contact the carer support organisation in your local area for information concerning Young Carers.

Transitioning to adult services

As your child becomes older, if they have complex physical health needs, they can be referred to a Young People’s Health Transitional Service. The aim of this service is to co-ordinate the transfer of healthcare from paediatric to adult services. This transition starts at age 14 years and may continue up to 21 years of age. If your child has not had a referral to this service, contact their school nurse.

Annual GP reviews

As part of the transition into adult services, it is recommended that you and your child attend your local GP for an annual review from around 14 years of age. The annual health review should include various checks, such as weight, height, blood pressure and a review of diet, bowels and continence.

If your child is registered with the GP practice as having special needs, you should automatically be given a double appointment.

When your child reaches 18 years

When your child reaches 18 years of age, your legal parental responsibility ends. Please discuss what this means for your circumstances with the Young People’s Health Transitional Service or your child’s school nurse. As your child transitions into adult healthcare, they will be supported by the Health Liaison Team (HLT). The HLT provide expert advice and support to adults with a learning disability in using healthcare services to get the care they need.

For more information about this contact your local authority. For information concerning your specific needs as a parent carer, contact your local carer support organisation or Parent Network support group

Carer rights

What carers should expect

Graphic showing two people, one hold a banner with scales of justice the other holds a banner with a tick sign - white on dark pink background You should expect to be valued and supported in you caring role. 

The Care Act 2014 legally entitles all adult carers to a Carer Assessment. This is regardless of the level of support you are providing someone.



Caring for someone covers lots of different things, such as:

  • Helping with washing, dressing, and feeding
  • Ensuring medication is being taken correctly
  • Checking to ensure someone is okay
  • Taking someone to regular appointments
  • Being a companion when they are anxious or lonely

Carer assessments

Carer Assessments are carried out by the local authority where the person you care for lives. You can have a Carer Assessment even if the person you care for does not get any formal help from their local authority. You do not need permission form the person you care for to request a Carer Assessment. You are entitled to a Carer Assessment in your own right.

The Carer Assessment looks at how caring affects your life. It helps you work out how you can carry on doing the things that are important to you and your family. It looks at your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Your assessment should cover:

  • Your caring role and how it affects your life and wellbeing
  • Your health – physical, mental and emotional issues
  • Your feelings and choices about caring
  • How your caring role affects your work, study, training and leisure
  • Relationships, social activities and your goals
  • Housing
  • Planning for emergencies, such as a backup plan

The aim of the assessment is to help you get the support you need. It is best to give
your honest opinion about your caring role, the care you provide and your feelings about being a carer. As a result of an assessment you may be eligible for support from your local authority. They will be able to offer advice and guidance to help you with your caring responsibilities.

You may wish to request a review of your Carer Assessment if your caring responsibilities change. Carer Assesments in Hertfordshire are done by the County Council.

Go to Carer Assessment at Hertfordshire County Council 

Caring from a distance

Caring can be more difficult if you do not live with or near to the person you care for, or if it takes you a long time to get to their home. In these situations it is important to plan ahead and consider any potential issues.

Get caring from a distance fact sheet


Understanding benefits that you and the person you care for may be entitled to can be a confusing and long process but it is worth checking. Age UK, Citizens Advice or the Money Advice Unit at your local authority can help, and they may also help with completing the application forms on your behalf.

Caring and working

It can be very challenging if you are trying to combine work with caring. The Work and
Families Act 2006 gives carers the right to request flexible working. This can take the form of flexible working arrangements: changing shifts to suit caring commitments; compressed hours (working agreed hours over fewer days or shifts); job shares or working from home.

You can make one request for flexible working per year. Although, the company you work for is legally obliged to consider your application, they do not have to agree with your proposals. If you wish to make more than one request in a year, you can still approach your employer to discuss flexible working arrangements. The charity Carers UK provide unpaid carers with expert information, advice and support. - including information about caring and working. 

Go to Carers UK website

Hospital appointments or admission

If the person you care for is coming to hospital, it is important that you let hospital staff know as soon as possible that you are their carer.

It is also important to speak to staff if you have any worries or concerns about your caring role, especially if you feel you need additional support or assistance.

Carer support

The hospital recognises the vital role carers play in the health and wellbeing of those they care for. We are committed to ensuring that a partnership approach to care is adopted. The carer’s role, knowledge and understanding of the patient’s needs, will be recognised and taken into account when planning their care, treatment and discharge.
Carers are welcomed onto the wards and encouraged to continue their caring role if they wish. This can include helping with meals, washing, dressing and offering support and reassurance to the person you care for. Carers will be offered flexible visiting and you can stay overnight with the person you care for, if appropriate. Please discuss your needs with the nurse in charge.

Carer schemes

Both the Carers’ Passport and Card schemes help staff identify you as having a caring role and ensure you are included in all discussions about the person you care for and their treatment plan and discharge.

  • Lister Hospital operates a Carers’ Passport scheme
  • The Princess Alexandra and Watford General Hospital have a Carers’ Card.

The Carers’ Passport and Carers’ Card entitles you to some discounts within the hospital, e.g. restaurant.

Please ask ward staff for more information. You can also apply for a Carers’ Passport or Card from your local carer support organisation.

What you need for a hospital admission

Please ensure the person you care for brings the following with them:

  •  Any medication they are currently taking
  • A list of these with dosage and other details is useful (see ‘Message in a Bottle’ scheme)
  • Pyjamas or nightdress and a dressing gown
  • Comfortable casual clothes for the day
  • Shoes or slippers
  • Face cloth and towel
  • Toiletries - soap, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb or hairbrush, shaving equipment (if required)
  • Glasses, hearing aid and dentures - please also bring a named container for each to ensure safekeeping
  • Hospital letter (if you have one) and any other medical information

Message in a Bottle scheme

The Message in a Bottle scheme by the Lions Club can also be useful in an emergency.A bottle is available from your GP surgery, pharmacy, health centre or local Lions Club. You put vital personal and medical information inside it and keep it in the fridge. Emergency services will know there is a bottle by two labels. One fixed to the inside of the front door and the other to the door of the fridge. Visit the Lions Club website to request your 'Message in a Bottle' or call 0121 441 4544.

Car parking

If you are visiting for more than a few days, there are discounts or special permits available. Please ask the staff on the ward about this.

Visiting hours

The hospital ward should have open visiting hours for carers. Please let the ward staff know that you are a carer and planning to stay for extended periods, or if you wish to visit outside of the normal visiting hours.

Estimated date of discharge (EDD)

Within 24 hours of admission, the medical team will set a date for when they expect treatment to be complete and the patient ready for discharge.

The patient and carer/family should be told this date.

If there is a change in the EDD due to a change in condition, the patient and carer/family should also be informed.

The EDD is reviewed every day. If you do not know the EDD, please ask your allocated nurse.

Allocated nurse

A nurse is allocated to each patient on the ward at the start of each shift. The nurse’s name is written on the whiteboard above the bed. This is the nurse you should speak to about the treatment plan for the person you care for.

What to do if you have any concerns

To help resolve your concerns as quickly as possible, please speak to the nurse in charge or ask to speak to one of our matrons. They will try to resolve these concerns and answer any questions straight away.

You can also contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). PALS provide advice and support for patients, relatives and carers. They are here to listen to you and help resolve concerns and queries. The hospital reception desk will provide you with contact details for PALS or you can refer to the hospital website.