A carer is anyone who provides unpaid care, for a friend, partner, neighbour or family member. They may need help because of their age, they are ill, frail, have a disability, addiction or mental health issues and could not manage on their own.

It could be for just a few hours a week or round the clock. Many people act as carers without even thinking about the role they perform. It can be difficult for carers to see their caring role as separate from the relationship they have with the person for whom they care, whether that relationship is as a parent, child, sibling, partner, or a friend.

Carers can be part of the family, partners in a heterosexual or same-sex relationship, a neighbour, friend, or simply an acquaintance. They can be of any age, of any religious leaning, of any social, cultural or ethnic group. There is no such thing as a typical carer.

Carers can be:

  • A young person under 18 looking after a family member, this could be a sibling.
  • Looking after a relative with a mental illness or physical disability.
  • A parent of a child with special needs or learning disability.
  • A friend, relative or neighbour looking after an older person.

Carers do not have to:

  • Live with the person they care for.
  • Be the only carer involved in supporting someone.
  • Be related to the person they care for.

The Trust values carers, and recognise that they might be the only constant in an individual's life. The carer knows the service user best, especially their full potential when well, and can be a spokesperson for someone unable to describe their own situation, whether they are well or unwell.

Working with carers helps us to achieve the best outcomes not only for the service user but also for our staff and services in general.

View the service user and carer strategy.

The Triangle of Care is a working collaboration between the service user, professional and carer that promotes safety, supports recovery and sustains well-being. We are committed to changing the culture of our organisation to one that is carer inclusive and supportive.

It was initially developed to improve mental health acute services by adopting six principles. It is widely accepted that these key principles can be applied to all service areas.

  1. Carers and the essential role they play are identified at first contact or as soon as possible thereafter
  2. Staff are ‘carer aware’ and trained in carer engagement strategies
  3. Policy and practice protocols regarding confidentiality and sharing information, are in place.
  4. Defined post(s) responsible for carers are in place
  5. A carer introduction to the service and staff is available, with a relevant range of information across the care pathway
  6. A range of carer support services is available.

The standards then include rigorous self-assessments and action plans to demonstrate how we are involving and supporting carers as well as promoting the important role, they have and further improving services for carers.

For more information, visit the Carers Trust website.

‚ÄčAs a Trust, we have successfully achieved our 1* accreditation, meaning the majority of our inpatient wards and home treatment teams have committed to make a difference to the lives of carers by self-assessing their service provision for carers to highlight what is working well and what could be improved.

We now look forward to working with community services including mental health, learning disability, dementia and substance misuse services in order to achieve our 2* accreditation status.

If you would like to find out more or help us by contributing your ideas and experiences as a carer please contact Jenna Matthews, by calling 07980 930114 or email Jenna Matthews or you can complete our dedicated Triangle of Care survey

It is a legal requirement for carers to be offered an assessment at least once a year. This does not mean that someone is judging how good you are at looking after the person you care for. It is simply a way of making sure that your own needs are looked after.

The Assessment examines ways to reduce the stress, worry and demanding workloads that many carers experience. It can be a very useful way of improving the difficult aspects of caring. This assessment may assist you to get the support that you need, which may include a break from caring, emotional support, or signposting to various organisations. If you feel that you may benefit from a Carers Assessment then please speak to a member of staff or you can contact your local carer’s service using the useful links information below.

Service User and Carer Council - We recognise that service users and their families are experts in understanding what they need, due to their own or loved ones experience of mental and/or physical ill health. We would like you to feel empowered by inviting you to give your views, be heard in your own right and be an active member of our Service User and Carer Council.

Interested in joining? Please email the experience team or call 01772 773 489 (Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm). Visit our Service User and Carer Council.

My Story – Telling your story can help us improve care and patient experience at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust. We want to know what matters most to you, in your own words. By listening to your story we can learn what is good and maybe what needs to get better. This helps us to improve our services and patient experience. If you would like to tell your story please contact our team by emailing the experience team or phone 01772 773 489 (Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm). Visit our My Story web page.

Friends and Family Test - The Friends and Family Test (FFT) asks the people in our services whether they would recommend the NHS service they have received to friends and family who need similar treatment or care. Everyone is offered the opportunity to complete the FFT questionnaire when they are ready to be discharged from our services or at other points during their care pathway. You can complete a survey online, however please email the experience team or phone 01772 773 489 (Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm) if you would like a paper copy.

Wards and services: Contact details for specific wards and services can be found on our services page.

PALS: Our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) is a free and confidential service for anyone who has concerns about aspects of care that you, a friend or family member has received. PALS are here to help you identify what to do, where to go and who to speak to for support. Call us on our Freephone 0800 234 6088, or by phone on 01772 676 028 or email the PALS team.

PALS are available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. If you need to contact us outside of these hours you can leave a confidential message on our answer machine, or alternatively email us and a member of the team will contact you as soon as possible. You can find more information on our dedicated PALS webpage.

Mental health helpline: Our Mental Health Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 0800 953 0110. It is staffed by trained mental health professionals who are able to provide assessment and referrals to appropriate services. Ring it if you need to access services or for advice about someone who needs treatment or support.

We also have a Wellbeing Helpline and Texting Service, available Monday to Friday 9am to 11pm and Saturday to Sunday 12pm to Midnight staffed by volunteers and those with lived experience, who can offer emotional support - ring if you want to chat about your mental health or are lonely. Contact the helpline by calling 0800 915 4640 or by texting 'Hello' to 07860 022 846.

Local carers organisations

N-Compass and Carers Link Lancashire deliver The Lancashire Carers' Service. They provide information, advice and a wide range of specialist support services designed to help carers continue in their caring role for as long as they choose and reduce the impact the caring role can have on their own health and wellbeing. 

N-Compass (North or Central Lancashire) 

Carers Link (East Lancashire)

Blackpool Carers Centre

Blackpool Carers Centre is an independent and local charity. They provide a range of services to support and enhance the lives of unpaid carers of all ages throughout Blackpool and The Fylde Coast.

Blackburn with Darwen Carers Centre

Blackburn with Darwen Carers Centre supports carers aged 18+ living in Blackburn and Darwen. They make sure you have access to support, information and wellbeing activities so that you and the person you care for can be as well as possible. 

Barnados Lancashire

Barnados Lancashire supports young carers under the age of 18 who provide regular and ongoing care and emotional support to a family member who is physically or mentally ill, disabled or misuses substances and are significantly affected by their caring role.

Lancashire Positive Minds

Lancashire Positive Minds is a parent and carer group that provides support, advice, strategies and more for parents and carers who support their young through mental health difficulties.

Carers Support South Lakes

Carer Support South Lakes identifies the needs of unpaid carers of any age and provides quality services, support and advocacy to promote their health and wellbeing.

Furness Carers

Furness Carers was established to support carers living within the Furness area of Cumbria and is a vital link to information and support services covering all aspects of the caring role.