A little peace of mind goes a long way for carers in Leeds

A service in Leeds is encouraging people who take care of loved ones with long term health conditions to register so they can benefit from additional support in the case of an emergency.

The Carer's Emergency Service is operated by Housing 21 on behalf of Leeds City Council, and provides a replacement care worker for up to 48 hours if the regular carer is suddenly and unexpectedly unable to get to the person they provide care for.

Leeds has more than 70000 unpaid carers who devote a great deal of their time to looking after ill, frail and disabled relatives and friends, but less than 2% of them are registered with this free emergency support service.

The Carer's Emergency Service guarantees a response of less than one hour when they are notified that a carer registered with them has an unavoidable emergency to deal with such as being taken ill, being admitted to hospital, needing to attend to another family member, their transport breaking down, attending a funeral or a work related emergency, but cannot leave the person they care for unattended. Free care can then be provided for up to 48 hours (72 hours over a bank holiday, until alternative arrangements can be put into place.

Registering for the service is simple. Carers just need to make contact and arrange for an emergency liaison officer to visit them at home to compile a bespoke emergency plan about them and the person they provide care for. The carer is also given a card and fridge magnet with an emergency telephone number on it, so they can access the service quickly in an emergency.

Donna Holmes, locality manager for Housing 21 said:

“This service is really highly valued by the carers that are registered with it, and we know that they only represent the tip of the iceberg!

“Carers have a massive responsibility and often have to juggle caring with their own work and family commitments, so to have something to fall back on in an emergency is a massive bonus for them.

“All our staff are appropriately qualified and have undergone routine checks, so carers really do get a service that they can trust when they register with us.”

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member responsible for adult social care services in Leeds said:

“Being a carer is a really demanding role, which requires an incredible amount of effort and commitment, so it's really important that carers have access to all the support they need.

“Many carers worry about what would happen if they were unavoidably delayed, taken ill or called away in the middle of the night, and this service really does put their minds at rest by acting like the fourth emergency service if and when the need arises.

“I would encourage anyone with caring responsibilities for a spouse, relative, friend or neighbour to register with this service to make sure that their loved ones continue to be cared for in the case of such an emergency.”

Case study - Carer's Emergency Service (CES) - Pattie Ryan

Before her mum passed away last December, Pattie was a carer for both of her elderly parents as well as working full-time as a personal assistant.

Pattie’s mum had Alzheimer’s and couldn’t be left on her own. On one occasion dad was taken into hospital unexpectedly, and Pattie called on the CES to sit with her mum whilst she left work and went to be with her dad at the hospital.

On another occasion, Pattie was due to go on holiday and had arranged for her sister to come down from Scotland to care for both parents whilst she was away. The day before her holiday dad was admitted to hospital unexpectedly. As Pattie’s sister wasn’t arriving until the following day, the service provided a care worker to be with mum until she arrived. This allowed Pattie to be with her dad at the hospital and continue with her plans to go on a well-earned break.

Pattie’s mum passed away in December, but Pattie still uses CES to support her as her dad’s carer.

Pattie said:

“CES has been a fantastic support to me. They have stepped in on three separate occasions with virtually no notice and taken really good care of my mum in her own home.

“The care workers that came were all excellent, and it’s just such a relief to have the peace of mind that my parents can be cared for in familiar surroundings if I’m unavoidably detained.

“CES is like the fourth emergency service to me, and I hope that more carers in Leeds will find out about them and register for the service. I couldn’t imagine being without them now!”

Register for the Carer’s Emergency Service by telephoning 0303 123 1921 or emailing cesregistrations@housing21.co.uk


For media enquiries, please contact;

Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578

Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk