Who is considered a carer?

A carer is anyone, including children and adults who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction and cannot cope without their support. The care they give is unpaid. When we refer to carers in this document, this is inclusive of both adult carers, parent carers and young carers.

Carers have an important role in the effective and safe delivery of treatment and care of patients in hospital; this role will often cross the boundaries between the patient’s home and the hospital setting. It is important that we are able to identify, involve and support carers in the clinical setting in order to get the care of the patient right.

At University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust we promote the patient/carer relationship; ensuring that the carer is able to continue in the caring role to improve the inpatient experience, promote wellbeing and support the discharge process. For some groups of patients the involvement of their carer is important in the delivery of care in hospital, e.g. children, patients with dementia, those with a Learning Disability and patients on an End of Life pathway. University Hospitals Plymouth is aware of how difficult the carer role can be and values the vital work done by you. The Trust also recognises the impact that caring responsibilities have on carers and that there is a need to support and help people in their caring role. This is why they have the Carers Support Scheme. Please identify as a carer with the Ward staff and ask them about this Scheme.

Carers Support Scheme

The Hospitals Carers Support Scheme has been developed to distinguish and identify informal carers on the ward. Once a carer is identified and their role agreed, the ward manager is able to issue the Carers Support Scheme Card which identifies the agreed role and level of support to be provided while the cared for person is receiving treatment.

Meal Vouchers

Ward staff can provide meal vouchers for informal carers who are contributing to the delivery of care whilst in hospital. The voucher value is £5.00 and these can be redeemed in Restaurant 7 on level 7, or in Warrens Bakery on level 6 when the main restaurant is closed. The ward manager can obtain these vouchers from the Patient Services Office on Level 7. These should be issued on a day-by-day basis and not in bulk.

Parking Arrangements

Free car parking is available for informal carers who have agreed to contribute to the care of the patient (cared for person) whilst in hospital and should be offered by the ward manager or deputy as part of the agreement with the carer. One car parking pass per day is available per patient. This can of course be shared between carers. The Carers Card must be shown to the Parking Desk on level 6 to obtain free car parking.

Local Carer Services 

We also have support at Derriford Hospital from the Carers Hospital Service Team which is a collaboration between Devon Carers, Caring for Carers (Plymouth) and Cornwall Carers.

The purpose of the Carers Hospital Service is to offer additional support to you 'Unpaid Carer' following a hospital admission for either yourself or a loved one.

The service looks at ways of offering support with your caring role following the discharge of yourself or person that you offer support and care for. The service can also help to assist a successful discharge as well as preventing re-admission.

This can be practical support, emotional support, providing information or helping to navigate services to ensure both you and the person you care for are safe and you, the Carer are able to continue caring in a safe environment and situation.

Please be aware that the hospital service is not based at Derriford Hospital, however through their experienced hospital liaison workers, who attend each week they are able to pick up any referrals on our ward rounds.

As well as that, if you or the person you care for have a planned stay in hospital, or have had a very recent stay in hospital, please get in touch with us for further information about the support available to you as a carer:

If you live in Plymouth contact Caring for Carers

Telephone: 01752 201890
Register as a carer online

If you live in Devon contact Devon Carers

Telephone: 03456 434435
Register as a carer online

If you live in Torbay contact Torbay Carers Service

Telephone: 01803 66 66 20

If you live in Cornwall contact Cornwall Carers Service

Telephone: 01736 756655
Register as a carer online

If you are not from any of these areas please use this Carers Trust Link to find out where your local carers service is

View our Carers Policy


Families and carers can offer valuable insights into hospital services. 

We are keen to capture the views of carers regarding the quality of care received by the person/patient they care for at Derriford Hospital and to understand how carers themselves feel they have been treated in the hospital environment. 

You are a ‘Carer’ if…you give up your time, without pay, to look after a family member, friend or neighbour who is ill, frail or has a disability. You may be a young carer, parent carer, or care for an older person or other adult with care needs. 

If you are a carer, we would like to invite you to complete our carer’s survey; it should take no longer than 15-20 minutes to complete. 


Was this page helpful?

Was this page helpful?

Please answer the question below, this helps us to reduce the number of spam emails that we receive so that we can spend more time responding to genuine enquiries and feedback. Thank you.