Information for carers

We recognise the essential role played by carers, families and friends in supporting our patients.

Carers provide help and support, unpaid, to a family member, friend or neighbour who would otherwise not be able to manage without this support.

Carers are essential for the health and well-being of the person they care for and we recognise that patients who are supported by their carers have improved prospects of recovery and staying well.

Our aim is to work alongside carers, and provide support and advice.

Our Outpatient Department were presented with a ‘Carer Friendly Award’ in 2020 by the charity Caring Together, for their work in creating a carer friendly environment.

Caring often begins at home but many people never think of themselves as carers: they are partners, spouses, children, relatives and friends.

Carers are people who care for a family member, a friend or another person in need of assistance or support with daily living. They include those caring for the frail aged, people living with long-term medical conditions, people with a mental illness, people with a disability and those receiving palliative care.

Non-urgent advice: Definition

A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.

At Cambridge University Hospitals, we want to recognise carers and the essential role they play. We want to support our workforce to be aware of carers and support information sharing with them. We aim to provide information and signpost carers to sources of support and guidance, and promote a carer friendly environment.

Carers’ passport

Some carers wish to continue their caring role, for example assist with personal care, whilst the patient is in hospital. We will always aim to support this – but carers should not feel obliged to continue with their caring role. Carers’ passports are yellow ID cards worn by a carer so that they can be easily identified by staff and have access to the ward outside normal visiting times.

The passports are issued to carers after discussion and agreement with nursing staff on the ward about the caring duties that the carer wishes to continue.

Ask the ward nursing staff about a carers’ passport if you would find this helpful.

‘What is important to me’ posters

‘What is important to me’ signs, placed near patients’ beds, direct staff, visitors and carers to collaborate to provide personalised details of the important aspects of patient’s lives such as where they grew up, what they worked as, their hobbies, the music they enjoy and their loved ones. The signs aim to remind staff of the things that are most important to older people and people with dementia.

Ward visiting times

Ward visiting times have been standardised across most ward to 11am to 8pm so that carers (and all visitors) find it easier to know when they can visit. If you are a carer and would like to visit outside these times, please speak to the nursing staff on the ward about a carers’ passport.

More information about visiting can be found on each ward page.

Overnight stays

Overnight stays on the wards might be difficult to arrange, but short term and overnight accommodation is available on site. This is a cheaper and more convenient alternative to searching for hotels near the hospitals.

More information can be found on our accommodation pages.

Car parking for carers

We offer discounted car parking rates for people who are regularly visiting patients in hospital.

Full details can be found on entry to the car parks, at the pay stations and the customer service desks situated in the car parks, or on our car parking pages.

Non-urgent advice: Carer’s Checklist

  • Tell the staff looking after the patient that you are their carer
  • Find out about a Carer’s Passport – ask the staff looking after the person you care for
  • Ask to be involved in conversations about the patient’s care and discharge from hospital
  • Check transport arrangements for getting the person you care for to and from hospital
  • If you live a long way away, look into accommodation options
  • Have you registered a What IF? Plan with Caring Together
  • Are you registered with your local carers’ support organisation?
  • If you have your own health appointment and think you might not be able to attend because of your caring responsibilities, contact Caring Together to see if they can help.


Non-urgent advice: Caring Together support for carers to attend COVID-19 vaccinations

At Caring Together we know how important it is that people looking after a family member or friend get the coronavirus vaccination.

We also know it can be very difficult for carers and those they care for * to be able to go to appointments for a range of reasons. This could be due to transport, needing someone to look after the person they care for or any other reason.

We are here to help. If you are a carer in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire or Peterborough who has challenges attending your appointment to have your coronavirus vaccination please contact us.

You can call us on 0345 241 0954 or email

This service is available from 4 January 2021.

*A carer is anyone, including children and adults, who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction and cannot cope without their support.

All local authorities have duties under the Care Act to ensure carers are identified, offered an assessment of what they need to carry on as a carer, and given help to address identified needs. The main local agencies providing support and information are shown below.

Caring Together

Information, advice and guidance for carers is available from Caring Together. This is a regional charity working in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk, providing information and advice, running services in local communities and campaigning for carers’ rights. Caring Together also provide homecare and breaks for people with care needs, and support in a crisis. Their support includes services for young carers aged 5 and up across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Centre 33

Here for all young people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough with emotional and practical support. If you are a young carer they can help with assessments, one to one support, specialist carer groups, information and advice. They can also train and support those working with young carers including families and schools.

Making space

For anyone caring for someone aged between 18 and 65 who has a mental health condition. Whether you need someone to talk to about your own concerns, advice and support about the complex mental health care needs of the person you care for or help navigating your way to other services, Making Space is there for you.

Contact us

For information about how we support carers, or if you have any suggestions or concerns about support provided for carers, contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service.

John's campaign

We have pledged to meet the good practice that John's Campaign advocates. The campaign asks hospitals/wards to pledge to welcome carers and include them in the patient's treatment plan when appropriate.

Our Trust is committed to working in partnership with carers to provide person-centred care. We value carer expertise and the vital role they play. They are welcomed outside visiting hours on all adult wards and encouraged to discuss their needs with the nurse in charge.