Reach out and thank a carer

Alma Zerafa cares for her son Alfred Zerafa.

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) employs more than 13,000 staff and 1,800 staff have identified themselves as a ‘carer’ who provides care to loved ones in addition to their employment.

During National Carers Week (11-17 October), WSLHD is recognising and celebrating the contributions carers make to our communities.

The WSLHD Patient and Carer Experience team want to hear from our patients, visitors, and carers about their experiences when using our hospital or community health services.

Australia has 2.65 million carers who provide $1 billion of care every week. Carers provide comfort, encouragement, and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, mental illness, drug or alcohol dependency, chronic condition, terminal illness, or who are frail or aged. 

The main responsibility of a carer is to oversee the health and wellbeing of the person they care for, monitor their safety and help them be as independent as possible.

WSLHD Patient and Carer officer Joana Andre Garrido said since the COVID-19 outbreak many people have taken on more caring roles for their relatives and friends who are disabled, ill, or older and who need support.

“Carers are truly the unsung heroes of the healthcare system,” Joana said.

“Care can only be as good as the overall wellbeing of the carer.  During National Carers week we encourage all carers to take care of themselves as well as their loved ones.

“Take time this week to let the carers in your life or work know what an important and valuable role they play for those they care for and the wider community.”

WSLHD Clinical Governance patient safety officer Carmen Hoffman has three children and also cares for her parents Antonio and Carmen.

WSLHD Clinical Governance patient safety officer Carmen Hoffman is one of eight siblings who shares the care of her parents with her sister and feels it’s her duty to care for her parents.

“My parents originated from Spain and its part of our culture for the young generation to care for our parents,” Carmen said.

“It’s not a chore and it’s a way to pay them back for the hard work and love they have given us over the years.”

To provide your valuable feedback, please complete a quick survey where you can be in the running to win dermatological products, picnic humper and other prizes available thanks to the Westmead Foundation and the Better Foundation.  The survey ends on Saturday, 17 October, 2020.

For further information on WSLHD carer support, click here or email wslhd-carerprogram@health.nsw.gov.au

A free WSLHD Family and Carer Mental Health program is available for families and carers which provides support and assistance for mental health carers who are experiencing distress due to COVID-19.

If you care for someone with a mental illness and you are a carer who needs support, contact the WSLHD COVID-19 Let’s Talk free mental health phone service between Monday – Friday from 8.30am – 5pm on 8890 5236 and ask for the WSLHD Family and Carer Mental Health Program.

Carers NSW is celebrating National Carers Week by hosting a number of online wellbeing workshops and webinars including mindfulness meditation, tai chi, strength and balance, and online art for carers across NSW. For more information, click here.