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CARERS across the borough are benefiting from a new “passport” to help them identify themselves.

The Who I Am Passport for Wigan Carers has been set up by Wigan Council along with Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, Ashton Leigh and Wigan NHS, 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Ashton Leigh and Wigan Community Healthcare NHS Trust.

The passport is a booklet that enables carers the opportunity to inform hospital staff of relevant, accurate information on the person they look after so the right help is given. The passport will be particularly helpful if the cared for person/patient has communication difficulties.

Carers complete the passport adding information, comments and suggestions about the needs of the cared for person/patient in the three sections. The red section is for ‘must know’ information, amber section for ‘important’ information and green section for ‘helpful’ information.

The passport stays with the patient while they are in hospital, enabling all health professionals’ access to the information contained in the Who I Am passport.

Wigan Council’s Cabinet Champion for Healthy Communities, Coun Keith Cunliffe, said: “Many people living in Wigan care for someone, whether it’s a spouse, parent, child or close friend. But many will not see themselves as carers and will be unaware of what help is available to them.

“It is really important that carers are identified, recognised and supported and the passport is designed to do exactly that. It will assist staff, particularly in hospitals in identifying carers and enable them to gain relevant accurate information on the person they care for, if they are admitted. It will also help carers to record important details of the person they look after, ensuring the right help is given.”

WWL chiefs say it has seen a good uptake in its first six months. Amanda Allinson, Carers’ Hospital Support Worker, said; “The kind of help carers need is very individual; from practical assistance, financial, emotional support or even a little me time.

“Carers find themselves in a position where all their conversations relate to the cared for person. Having a Carers’ Hospital Support Worker at the hospital will fulfill some aspects of the needs of the carer. This initiative shows a commitment by the NHS within the borough of Wigan towards carers. We will support carers and ensure they are treated with dignity, respect and understanding.”

For more information E-mail ssdcarers@wigan.gov.uk or call 01942 705983.