Carer Passports, a UK initiative of Carers UK, has been chosen as a global innovative practice by the International Alliance of Carer Organizations (IACO) and global group Embracing Carers.

According to a 2017 global carer survey of Embracing Carers, over a quarter (24%) of unpaid carers looking after a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill feel their role as a carer is not recognised within the healthcare system inspite of the important role they play in maintaining their patient’s health.

Carer Passports is simple tool to aid hospitals in identifying unpaid carers and gathering important insight that informs patient care.

This scheme enables to bring improved co-ordination, understanding and communication between hospital staff and carers and has indicated to boost care and health outcomes for patients.

Carer Passports offers carers with access to support with their role such as free hospital parking, discounts in the hospital canteen or information and resources, based on what benefits the hospital is able to provide.

Carers UK has initiated the use of Carer Passports in hospitals and was funded by the Department of Health and Social Care to develop a suite of resources to aid hospitals develop and implement Carer Passport schemes, such as template application forms and publicity posters.

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Carers UK director of policy and public affairs Emily Holzhausen said: “Too often carers do not receive the recognition and support they need in the health care system, yet they play a vital role ensuring their loved one’s safety and quality of life. Their knowledge can be of great value to hospital staff, whether that’s providing information about their loved one’s conditions, observing symptoms or noting side effects to treatment or medication.

“Carer Passports offer hospitals a systematic approach to identifying carers, meaning carers are both more likely to identify themselves and more likely to feel valued and supported in their role.”

IACO board chair Nadine Henningsen said: “Recognising carers, encouraging them to self-identify and including them as part of an integrated care team is a significant challenge for most health and social care systems. Through the global ICP initiative, we can share innovative practices, such as the Carer Passport, and encourage health care organizations in other countries to learn, adapt and replicate evidence-informed practices to support the vital role of carers.”