When you are caring for someone, it is important that you try and plan ahead. Your caring role may change over a period of time due to changes in your life, or the life of the person you care for. As part of the Carer's Assessment process, and when you call Essex County Council for advice, you will be helped to understand what your needs might be, and how to plan. You may worry about what would happen to the person you care for if for some reason you were unable to continue looking after them. Perhaps if you were unwell, had an accident, or experienced a crisis in your life. Essex County Council currently offers a Carers Emergency Planning Service.
The Carers Emergency Planning Service
This service supports you in completing an emergency contingency plan, and issues you with a Carer's Emergency Card to be carried at all times.
This Carer's Emergency Card will have a 'single point' contact telephone number, and a personal identification number unique to you (no other personal information will be included). If you are suddenly unable to fulfil your caring role, anybody can telephone the number on the card, and alert our Emergency Duty Team. This service operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is free of charge. It will continue until longer term arrangements can be made.
What situations are covered by this service?
It would not be possible to give a comprehensive list of situations covered by this service, however below are some examples of the kind of emergencies this service is intended to support:
- if a carer is involved in an accident and is taken to hospital, or is unable to immediately resume their caring role
- if a carer is suddenly taken ill and is taken to hospital, or unable to continue in their caring role
- if another family member suddenly has a medical emergency, and the carer needs to travel to this other family member
- if the carer is out, and is unavoidably detained by an accident, car breakdown, traffic congestion, and the person they look after would be at risk by being left unattended for this time
How does the scheme work?
While completing your application form, you will be asked to nominate people who could be contacted in an emergency situation. Following registration you will be issued with you own Carer's Emergency Card, which you should carry with you at all times. If anyone phones the number on the card to report that you are unable to continue your role, our staff will call your nominated contacts. If you have nobody who could be contacted, or none of your nominees are available, an experienced Carer Support Worker will be sent to look after the person you care for. You need to be aware that if the Carer Support Worker is called upon to provide emergency cover, they may take up to 2 hours to get to the property. This service is available for anyone who provides an informal/unpaid caring role for an adult, whether a family member, friend, or neighbour.
In Case of Emergency (I.C.E.)
If you are looking after someone then you may find it particularly helpful to use the I.C.E. system on your mobile phone. You simply need to add the word 'I.C.E.' before the names of anyone you would want to be contacted in an emergency in the contacts directory in your phone. In the event of you suddenly being taken unwell, the person who finds you can search under 'I' on your phone, and quickly call your named emergency contacts. This system is widely recognised by staff working for the emergency services.