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Carer Profile 7

Carer – 42 year old woman who lives with her Father, who she carers for. Her Father has Prostate cancer (terminal) and was also showing signs of dementia, which were at first thought to be a direct result of the medication he was taking.

The carer picked up a DCA leaflet at the hospital treating her Father (2008) and eventually made contact with DCA in February 2009, when she felt overwhelmed by her caring role. A home visit was arranged for the following week. The carer was very emotional and said she felt isolated and trapped and was in desperate need of a full nights sleep, as her father was waking several times each night in a confused state. She had at that time, no help from other family members and was the sole carer, unable to leave the house or visit her boyfriend who does not live locally.

DCA arranged for ‘The British Red Cross’ to provide 2 × 3 hour weekly sitting services to allow the Carer time to do the weekly shop and meet up with friends. DCA also arranged for Macmillan to provide one weekly overnight sitting service to enable the carer to get some much needed sleep and also for ‘Crossroads Care’ to provide one overnight sitting each week to allow the carer to visit her boyfriend.

Relationships within the family had deteriorated since diagnosis, as the Carer felt unsupported by her family, and other family members said they felt unwelcome at the house. There was therefore much friction and many arguments when family did visit. DCA facilitated a ‘Family meeting’ where all family members were able to speak calmly and honestly. It was agreed during the meeting that, as the Carer had not asked for help, they thought that she was coping well and that she may see their offer of support as a failing in her care for her father, as she always seemed’ on edge’ when they visited. The carer was able to speak openly about her needs and said she had not liked to ask for help as they had not previously offered support when they did visit, this had led to some resentment and ill feeling and her being ‘on edge’ during visits. A rota of shared care was agreed and the carer is now able to enjoy a life of her own, as well as caring for her Father and other family members now feel included in Father’s care and wellbeing.