South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust recognises that carers play an important role in the continuing care of many of our patients during their hospital stay and in planning their discharge.

By implementing best practice, we want to promote the health and independence of carers.

We like to work closely with you as your knowledge and experience of caring for your loved one or patient is absolutely invaluable. It is because of this that we look to involve carers in all aspects of patient care, including offering flexible visiting hours so you can help with meal times, or getting washed and dressed.

How we achieve this:

  • Early Identification and recognition of carers of all ages
  • Identifying and recognising your commitment as carers
  • Ensuring you are aware that you have certain rights as a carer, including the right to a carer’s assessment
  • Allowing you to make choices about your caring role
  • Actively seeking patients’ permission to share information with carers
  • Involving you in patients’ discharge planning  and offering relevant support
  • Monitoring your experience and satisfaction through surveys and carer organisation feedback
  • Identifying and supporting patients with a caring responsibility
  • Keeping you informed of patient condition
  • Ensuring information is shared with you to facilitate a safe admission and discharge
  • Sign post you to external support agencies such as Local Carers Centres
  • Carers who are patients themselves may have a special need for both a longer convalescence and more respite care for the person they look after. They may need additional support on discharge, as well as to be directed to sources of support.

Carers passport

A carer is someone who looks after a family member, partner, friend or neighbour who due to illness, disability, frailty or addiction is unable to manage alone. For many people they will not see themselves as a carer, it can be difficult for carers to see their caring role as separate from the relationship they have with the person for whom they care for, whether that relationship is as a parent, a son or daughter, a friend.

Many carers juggle their caring responsibilities with work, study and other family commitments; this can have an adverse impact on their physical and mental health, which can lead to significantly poorer health and quality of life. Carers often feel ‘cut-off’ from, and ‘ill-informed’ about, the care and treatment of people they care for, even though they may be providing a significant level of care.

At South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust our staff recognise the great value and importance of carers and we are strongly committed to supporting and working in partnership with them in order to ensure that we can provide the highest quality and most effective care possible.

A stay in hospital can be a confusing, even frightening, experience. Our staff are experts in healthcare but it is the carers who are experts in the individual, personal needs of their loved ones. Making it easier for them to have as much access as possible to support the patient’s personal wellbeing throughout a hospital stay can make medical treatment more effective, leading to improved outcomes.

The Introduction of the Carers Passport is designed to identify Carers, involving them through all aspects of treatment, care and discharge and offering reasonable adjustments (where available) to support them in their caring role.

carers passport.jpg

The initiative recognises the extremely difficult and emotional time experienced by those involved and recognises the stress and vulnerability experienced by carers. The aim is to provide some comfort and reinforce that we are thinking of families and/or carers needs as well as the needs of their loved one.

The credit card-sized passport, worn on a lanyard, identifies you as a carer to our team and enables you to:

  • visit outside normal hours, including overnight, with the agreement of the ward manager.
  • help the patient with eating and drinking.
  • be actively involved in the patient’s care and planning for discharge.

To accompany your passport ‘badge’, you are given a special folder in which to keep useful leaflets with information relevant to the patient’s care and a guide to the various support and advice organisations available in South Tyneside and Sunderland, as well as nationally. Also included is a ‘This is me’ document containing details such as the patient’s likes and dislikes and the name by which they like to be called. This can be shown to staff to help them to respond to patients’ individual needs and provide more person centred care.

In addition to this the Trust has also signed up to the Johns campaign which is a national campaign. The key focus behind John’s Campaign is an open visiting culture; supporting carer access to the hospital outside of normal visiting hours, to enable them to be with the person with a dementia when they may be stressed, anxious, upset or lonely.

John's logo.png We support John’s campaign and have signed up to this pledge:

'We aim to work in partnership with carers as part of our commitment to provide high quality care for our patients. Carers for dementia patients are offered extended and flexible visiting hours to meet the needs of the individual, in support of John's Campaign’

Please speak to a member of our ward staff for more information about the carers passport and how you can be more involved in the care of your loved one.

Carers Assessment

A carer assessment will help to direct you to the right type of support that you need to carry out your caring role. Contact your local council or carers centre for more information.

Contact our Patient Experience Team

Lesley Carlton

Lead Nurse for Patient Experience

Main Office: Sunderland Royal Hospital Trust Head Quarters

Tel: 0191 565 6256 ext 49111 | Email:


Susan Clark

Patient Experience Facilitator

Main Office: Nursing & Patient Experience Office, Harton Wing, South Tyneside District Hospital

Tel: 0191 2032933 | Email:​​​​​​​


Alison McNally

Patient Experience Facilitator

Main Office: Nursing & Patient Experience Office, Harton Wing, South Tyneside District Hospital

Tel: 0191 2032918 | Email:​​​​​​​


Michelle McKinney

Patient Experience Assistant

Main Office : Bereavement/Volunteer Office  Main concourse B floor

Direct Line 0191 5699124/0191 5656256 ext 42947 bleep 52374



Debbie Hope

Patient Safety & Experience Co-ordinator & PA to Debbie Cheetham Head of Patient Safety

Main office : Bereavement/Volunteer Office  Main concourse B floor

Direct Line 0191 5699124/0191 5656256 ext 42947 bleep 52374


Useful links

South Tyneside Adult Carers Service 

Telephone 0191 4061531 Email

South Tyneside Young Carers Service

Telephone 0191 4661389 Email

Sunderland Carers Centre

Telephone 0191 5493768 Email

Durham County Carers Support

Telephone 0191 0300 0051231 Email

Carers UK Helpline

Telephone 020 73784999 Email

South Tyneside council –Lets Talk Team

Telephone 0191 4246000 Children’s Social Care Telephone: 01914245010

Sunderland City Council-Adult Social Care and Support

Telephone: 0191 5205552 Together for Children Telephone: 0191 5205560

Durham County Council-Social Care Direct

Telephone: 03000267979

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