Caring for someone with a brain tumour diagnosis can be mentally, emotionally and physically challenging. It is important to access the right support, for your own wellbeing so that you are in the best possible position to care for your loved one. Here are some steps that you can take.
Arrange a carer’s assessment
A carer’s assessment is designed to identify the extra help and support you could be entitled to as a carer. It’s free for anyone caring for someone over the age of 18, and can be arranged through your local council’s social services department. If you are caring for a child, contact the children’s department.
The assessment is usually carried out in person, and will take up to an hour. Beforehand, it’s useful to think about all the duties you carry out as a carer, and the impact it has on your life. This can include your employment, your social life, your mental and physical health, and how suitable your housing situation is.
The assessment may make some recommendations or give guidance about how you can access respite care, any benefits that you may be entitled to, and looking after yourself with exercise classes or other activities. They may be able to arrange extra help in the home if necessary, such as a cleaner or gardener to take some of the burden off you.
Managing caring and employment
If you are working in a full or part time job role as well as providing care for a loved one, this can be particularly demanding. It is best to speak to your employer about your caring duties so that they are fully aware of your situation. You are entitled to statutory time off work to carry out caring duties.
The amount of time that you can take off and whether this would be paid or unpaid is at the discretion of your employer. There is currently a Carer’s Leave Bill progressing through parliament which will entitle all unpaid carers in the UK to five days of unpaid leave a year.
Some employers may also be willing to offer you a flexible working arrangement, and if you have worked for them for over 26 weeks, they have a statutory duty to consider your request. If you have worked for them for less than 26 weeks, you are still able to request flexible working, but it is not a statutory right.
Discussing your situation openly with your employer from the outset can help you to maintain a balance between your job and caring, and avoid you becoming burned out and potentially having to leave the workforce altogether. In some cases, you may decide that working part time or taking a career break is the best option for you.
If you have to travel with your loved one to hospital appointments, you may be entitled to help with the costs. The NHS has a means assessed scheme and will refund reasonable travel costs for those who meet the criteria.
If you are looking for information about Gamma Knife radiosurgery, please get in touch today.