10 June 2023

Funding carer meal vouchers

“My name is Gloria Ede and I started working as the carers lead in June 2022 for University Hospital Southampton, more recently swapping to work for Southampton Hospitals Charity.

Most people don’t think about the role of carers, which is why I want to create awareness and raise the voice of carers. I can offer some welcomed support to the carers and families of people admitted to the hospital.

Last year, the Government published the Health and Care Act which introduced new legislative measures that aim to make it easier for health and care organisations to deliver joined-up care for people who rely on multiple different services, including unpaid carers.

Here in Southampton, it became part of our carers strategy to raise the voice of carers and to show them appreciation following COVID-19 when it became obvious the role that unpaid carers play, and that additional support was needed for them.

Thanks to Southampton Hospitals Charity, we’ve been able to introduce carer meal vouchers for a carer staying overnight in hospital. It is not a one off but designed to be issued one a day during the patient’s admission.

It can be difficult for carers due to the cost of traveling and paying for parking, so having at least one meal can make a real difference, especially during the cost of living crisis.

Feedback has shown that people lose a lot of weight or add a lot of weight coming to stay in the hospital because they either can’t afford a healthy meal, or they can’t even afford anything so they lose weight.

If they become ill in the future, there will be no one to take care of the people they care for, so this initiative will help both the carer and our patients.

These meal vouchers are currently issued by the individual wards for carers. Please do email me at carersupport@uhs.nhs.uk if you are a carer and want to discuss the support we can offer you.”

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