Family carers who get caught short without a toothbrush for themselves after taking the person they care for to hospital in Huntingdon and Peterborough will now have access to a Carers Comfort Pack which includes all the essential items they need for an unexpected overnight stay.
A toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, comb, tissues, facial wipes and a notepad and pen have thoughtfully been packed into a small canvas bag by WI members from the Huntingdon and Peterborough area, who donated all the items themselves. They have made up 300 packs to share between the two hospitals.
The Carers Comfort Pack is supported by Carers Trust Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Dementia UK and the Alzheimer’s Society. It was launched this week at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon and Peterborough City Hospital during national Dementia Awareness Week.
The initiative resulted from a WI resolution campaign to make it easier for carers, particularly of those living with dementia, to stay with their cared for person in hospital, should they choose to do so. Linda Collumbell, a member of Ramsey St Mary’s WI and Chair of Trustees for Carers Trust Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, said carers often go to hospital unprepared for themselves, while packing for the person they care for, and could end up staying longer than planned.
Linda said: “The packs provide everything carers need for an overnight stay, or longer, if necessary. It will be available to carers who have signed up for John’s Campaign that supports family carers in hospitals, and will be available upon request from the hospital ward. The WI went out and bought everything and have done a fantastic job.”
Angela Moore, an Admiral Nurse from Dementia UK who is based at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, thanked the WI for their generous packs.
“I know this will be greatly valued by carers who end up staying longer than expected. It will be an absolute godsend. Thank you all so much.”
A leaflet from Carers Trust Cambridgeshire & Peterborough highlighting how we support family carers is included in the pack along with a feedback card (kindly printed by Huntingdonshire District Council) to evaluate the packs.
Teresa Jude, Carers’ Advisor with North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, and Alison Gray, their Dementia Specialist Nurse, welcomed the packs at their launch.
Alison said: “The packs are lovely and at Peterborough City Hospital we have engaged our palliative care team with the launch. They speak to carers regularly so they can promote the packs for carers wanting to stay with their loved ones. It is a terrific WI campaign and we are very grateful for their support with this.”
Hilary Shepherd, Dementia Action Alliance Coordinator (Cambridgeshire) & Alzheimer’s Society, also thanked the WI.
She said: “This is a great initiative as staying overnight in hospital can be very distressing for anyone, especially when you feel unprepared and in an unfamiliar environment. Simple items like a toothbrush could help to make the stay just a little more comfortable.”