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Shared care records should include carer contingency plans

Shared care records should include carer contingency plans
By Jess Hacker
17 October 2023

Plans for when an unpaid carer is unable to support the person they care for should be recorded in the carer’s primary care record, NHS England has advised.

In new guidance for ICBs in developing carer contingency plans, NHS England said a ‘digital record-based approach’ to planning is considered best practice, with ICBs advised to ensure shared care records include carer identification and contingency planning.

NHS England said: ‘With appropriate consent the existence of a carer contingency plan can be recorded in the carer’s health and care record, including the summary care record, via the carer’s primary care record, and with this identified across providers and geographies.’

The NHS Long Term Plan committed to offering up to 100,000 carers contingency planning conversations, with plans marked in summary care records for the benefit of health professionals.

In its new guidance, published 13 October, NHS England advised that many carers are ‘reluctant to self-identify as carers’, and that those receiving care are ‘not always willing to identify who is providing unpaid care for them or the extent of [the] support’.

It suggested systems ensure health professionals are able to broach conversations with a carer ‘sensitively’ in situations where they may not be able to provide their usual level of care.

Health and care professionals must also understand the value of carer contingency plans for unpaid carers, as well as know where to signpost carers for support with writing plans.

It said: ‘Professionals should also understand what support offers are available to unpaid carers; otherwise, contingency planning conversations may be dominated by discussion of current unmet need for the carer and/or the person they care for, not planning for emergency situations when the carer cannot provide this care or a person’s care needs increase beyond what they can provide.’

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