Many of you will have come across carer passports, giving carers easier access to hospitals when the person they care for is hospitalised. I’m always keen that this is part of welcoming the carers in, rather than “allowing them in”; carers who are willing and able to continue to support in this way are such an asset to the hospital teams and can make a great difference to the well-being of people living with dementia.

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust has launched its own passport this month and they specifically state that they want to make carers feel more welcome when supporting people they look after in hospital.
What’s wonderful about this passport is that part of the concept is to actively provide support to the carers themselves.

Tammy Gotts, Lead Matron for Patients Living with Dementia, says, “The initiative aims to make carers feel valued, as they can play a pivotal part in the care of the patient. We recognise that carers may wish to be involved in the care of a patient while they are in hospital. Therefore, patients will benefit from co-ordination, understanding and co-operation between hospital staff and those who know them best.”

This very special Carers’ Passport offers not only open access, but also some benefits that regular hospital visitors are not eligible for. These include discounted food and drink in the on-site restaurant and free hot and cold drinks on hospital wards. It’s a very practical gesture, helping with the potentially significant costs of hospital visiting, but it’s one which underlines the hospital team’s appreciation of the valuable role carers play. I warmly welcome this clear embracing of partnership working, which has always been central to the Butterfly Scheme.