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Pic: Carer Louise Brown, carer Antoinette Nakhle, NSLHD Carer Support Service Manager Barbara Lewis, performer Lara Nakhle and NSLHD Chief Executive Deb Willcox.

Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD) will make history when it lists a patient’s carer status on their medical records, Chief Executive Deb Willcox has announced.

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More than 130,000 residents of NSLHD’s catchment care for another person, with more than 25,000 of them providing 24-hour care.

Ms Willcox said many carers were under enormous pressure and their extra responsibilities often impacted their own health.

“Making sure a patient’s carer status is captured on our records means our clinicians will be alert to any physical or mental health issues brought on by being a carer,” she said.

“Importantly, this means we will also be able to make sure appropriate arrangements are made for the person for whom they care.

“If a carer is out of action due to illness or injury, we will be able to ensure everything is covered, so the person they care for is looked after, and the carer has one less worry.”

Ms Willcox, launching NSLHD’s second carer strategy, said the new, updated strategy was designed to ensure all NSLHD employees recognised and supported carers.

As well as committing to making sure carers are properly identified in their own health care records, the strategy also ensures:

all orientation sessions for new NSLHD staff and volunteers acknowledge the importance of identifying and engaging with carers;
staff undertake regular, ongoing education sessions about the importance of carers; and
annual surveys of the NSLHD workforce are undertaken to identify and support staff who are also carers.

NSLHD Carer Support Service manager Barbara Lewis said the strategy would put carers front and centre of the local health service.

“Our carers play a vital role in the community, and need to make sure they get the recognition and support they deserve,” she said.

The new NSLHD Carer Strategy will guide the District’s carer-related responses until 2023, when it will be revised and updated.