The importance of registering as a carer with your GP
The pandemic has placed considerable emotional and practical demands on family carers affected by dementia. Many have worried about being diagnosed with Covid-19 and what implications this could have on the care they provide to their loved one.
Unpaid carers are in Priority Group 6 in the vaccination programme, with people in this group starting to be vaccinated right now. It is therefore important to consider accessing the Carers Register at your local GP surgery. Registering on this list will mean that GPs will be able to vaccinate you to give you good protection against Covid-19, allowing you to continue in your caring role.
After signing up to this list, your GP can also identify the effects caring can have on your health, such as depression, stress, high blood pressure or pain.
Note that carers can also register themselves on the national Covid-19 vaccine booking system. You can access the link here.
Accessing the Carers Register
All GP practices now have a Carers Register; registration forms can usually be requested from your own practice reception. Alternatively, Carers UK have created a template letter, which you can complete and send to your GP: Template letter. Your GP will then be able to update your patient record and help you to start getting the support you need.
The benefits of registering as a carer with your GP
If you are an unpaid carer, which includes if you are in receipt of Carers Allowance, then there are lots of benefits to letting your GP know and registering as a carer at your local practice. These include;
Access to a ‘Carers Champion’ at many GP practices; this is a designated member of the practice who is assigned to support carers
Conversations about your mental health and the impact of your caring role
Provision of free annual health checks, flu vaccinations, and repeat prescriptions from your local pharmacy
Access to a carer assessment and benefits checks, including Attendance Allowance and the blue badge scheme
Involvement in the care planning of the person diagnosed
Signposting to health and social care services
Possibility to arrange ‘double’ appointments at convenient times for both you and the person you care for to avoid having to visit the surgery twice
Coronavirus (COVID-19): information for families looking after someone with dementia
We know that this is a worrying time for families looking after someone with dementia. The months ahead are going to be challenging. But there are a few things you can do to look after yourself, and the person with dementia, during this time