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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. Our Cancer Support Services have also been awarded their ‘Carer Friendly Award’. Other services are working towards their awards.

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 easily be identified by staff. The passports are issued to carers after discussion and agreement with the patient, carer and staff about the caring duties that the carer wishes to continue.

When a patient is admitted to a ward: ask the ward nursing staff about a carers’ passport if you and the person you care for would find this helpful. The passport may enable a carer to have access to the ward outside normal visiting times in order to enable caring duties to continue.

If a patient is attending an outpatient appointment and you would like to accompany them as their carer – perhaps to assist with communication or provide mental health support - call the Accessibility Team on 01223 256998 or email the Accessibility Team. The Accessibility Team, based at outpatient main reception, have a supply of carer’s passport agreements and badges.

‘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.
  • Read the below document for further information of what services are available in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough


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 (opens in a new tab)

Information, advice and guidance for carers is available from Caring Together (opens in a new tab). 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 (opens in a new tab)

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.

For information on training and support for professionals: Young Carers Awareness Raising & Training. - Centre 33 (opens in a new tab)

Hear from young carers themselves: Young Carers: Who are they? | Centre 33 - YouTube (opens in a new tab)

Making Space (opens in a new tab)

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.

Alzheimers Society (opens in a new tab)

The Alzheimers Society provides support and information to people whose lives are affected by dementia. They can provide support to carers of people living with dementia who are in crisis, offer support to those facing hospital admission and those who have loved ones in hospital.

If families have loved ones in hospital who can no longer return home, the Society will work with that family to help ease the transition to residential care: support around choosing a home, explain how paying for care works, help families to understand how to make the move a success and address issues such as grief and loss.

The Alzheimers Society can also offer short term specialist peer support groups for carers and people with dementia.

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 (opens in a new tab).

John's Campaign

We have pledged to meet the good practice that John's Campaign (opens in a new tab) 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.