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Family Carer Friendly Hospital Award

Local charity, Suffolk Family Carers, has recognised the Trust's commitment to supporting family carers across West Suffolk Hospital by presenting it with a Family Carer Friendly Hospital Award.

Family carers have access to a range of support at West Suffolk Hospital such as extended visiting times, information packs, including a badge identifying them so that staff know they are the right person to talk to about the patient’s care and treatment. One to one support for family carers is also provided by Suffolk Family Carer support and information workers who operate throughout the hospital on the wards and in outpatient departments.

Julie Fountain, lead nurse for dementia and frail elderly at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT), said: “It is absolutely crucial for patients’ health and wellbeing that they stay connected to those closest with them while they are in hospital, which is why family carers play a vital role in a patient’s recovery. This is why we believe it is essential that the carers themselves receive the help and support they need when their loved one comes into hospital. It can be a stressful time and ensuring we help carers cope is just as important as the care we provide our patients.”

This award follows a rigorous ten month assessment period that has involved a panel of assessors including staff from Suffolk Family Carers, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Ipswich Hospital (which received its award in 2016) and Family Carers. Eight wards and the outpatient department at WSFT also received special recognition for the care and commitment provided. The award was presented by Kirsten Alderson, Suffolk Family Carers chief executive officer, to Dr Stephen Dunn, chief executive at WSFT.

Stephen Dunn said: “We are thrilled that our efforts have been recognised by Suffolk Family Carers, and look forward to finding further ways in which we can improve and make life easier for family carers. Julie and her team have worked in close partnership with Suffolk Family Carers to make this a reality; it’s a great example of joined up working between a charity and the NHS, and another example of our staff going the extra mile to improve the experience of patients and their families.”

Hayley Hancock, head of adult services at Suffolk Family Carers, said: “We are delighted to be presenting this award to West Suffolk Hospital. Despite playing a crucial role in the care of their loved ones, many family carers struggle to have their role recognised by health and care professionals. The Trust has worked hard to ensure its practices and policies identify and support family carers alongside the patients themselves. This award is testament to how carers’ needs are being recognised within the hospital environment and that appropriate support is offered by its staff.”

If you think you are a family carer and would like advice, information and support, please call Suffolk Family Carers information line on 01473 835477.

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Chief executive Stephen Dunn receives the Family Carer Friendly Hospital Award

Chief executive Stephen Dunn receives the Family Carer Friendly Hospital Award