Are you a carer in crisis?

Are you a carer in crisis?

The most important thing in dealing with any crisis or emergency is to keep yourself safe. If you aren't safe you can't help anybody else.

Quick phone numbers 

  • Derbyshire County Council Adult Care / Children's Services tel 01629 533190 (Open 8am to 8pm Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 4pm Saturdays. Outside these times you will need to contact the social care out of hours number on tel: 01629 532600 if you are in urgent need of social care support)
  • NHS tel: 999 or 111 
  • Police tel: 999 or 101 
  • Fire Service tel: 999 
  • Childline tel: 0800 1111
  • Derbyshire Domestic abuse line tel: 0800 0198668 available 24/7 - if you're hearing impaired text: 07557 800313.
  • Samaritans tel: 116 123
  • NHS Carers Direct tel: 0300 123 1053

Emergency services - which numbers to use (all always open)

  • Police - if you need a quick response because someone's at risk or there's a crime in progress call tel: 999. If it's less urgent contact tel: 101.
  • NHS/Ambulance – if someone's seriously ill, injured or their life's in danger tel: 999. Otherwise contact either your GP or the NHS Direct helpline on tel: 111 for advice. 
  • Fire - don't attempt to tackle a fire yourself unless it is small and you can do so without putting yourself or others at risk. Otherwise evacuate the building shutting doors behind you and ring tel: 999.

999 SMS Text Service

If you or the person you care for need to contact the emergency services but would struggle to communicate over the phone, you can now text the police, fire or ambulance services using the 999 SMS text service. The service is also useful for those living in rural areas where the signal isn't strong enough to make a call but could send a text.

If you think you may need to use the service in future then you must register in advance by texting 'register' to 999. You'll then be sent further instructions on how to use the service. You can also find out more on the contact 999 website

NHS Accident and Emergency and Minor Injuries Departments 

An A&E department deals with genuine life-threatening emergencies, such as loss of consciousness, acute confused states, fits that are not stopping etc (always open). 

For less serious things such as sprains, strains and minor burns you can visit an urgent care centre or minor injuries unit (MIU) without an appointment (MIUs are open 8am until 10pm every day, including bank holidays).

A&E and MIUs aren't alternatives to a GP appointment - If your practice is closed you can call the NHS Direct helpline for advice on tel: 111.

You can view live waiting times of all Derbyshire A&E and MIUs units online, but it may be that your nearest emergency treatment service is actually in another county. 

Social care support

For any concerns relating to the support or safety of a vulnerable adult or child, ring Derbyshire County Council's Call Derbyshire on tel: 01629 533190. (This number is available from 8am to 8pm, Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 4pm Sat. If you need to contact someone in an emergency outside of those times, including bank holidays, you can ring the emergency out-of-hours team on tel: 01629 532600)

If crisis or emergency means you are unable to provide care

Sometimes things happen when you least expect them to. A crisis or emergency situation may mean you are unable to provide the usual level of care for the family member or friend that you look after. An emergency or crisis refers to something that couldn't be planned for, for example:

  • you are admitted to hospital unexpectedly
  • you suffer a family emergency such as a bereavement or you have another family member needing urgent help
  • your employment is at immediate risk due to your caring role.

If this happens to you, and you haven't got a carers emergency plan in place, the first thing to do would be to ask family and friends if they could help look after the person you care for. 

If this isn't possible, contact Call Derbyshire on tel: 01629 533190 or if it's outside office hours tel: 01629 532600, and they will carry out an assessment of the situation and make sure the person you look after is safe.

To prepare for future emergencies you may want to consider making a contingency plan and getting an Carer Emergency Card.

If you are struggling to cope with your caring role

If you are struggling to maintain your caring role and/or feel you're near breaking point it may be helpful to talk to someone. Many telephone helplines have trained advisors who can offer emotional support and give advice. If you need help outside usual office hours you could try:

  • Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust support line for people with mental ill health, including children and young people, carers/families and those with a learning disability or autism. Open 24 hours a day. Tel: 0800 028 0077 (freephone / always open)
  • The Samaritans, open 24 hours a day, tel: 116 123 (always open)
  • Sane Line, open 4.30pm to 10.30pm, tel: 0300 304 7000 (Open every day of the year, inc all bank holidays from 4.30pm to 10.30pm)
  • Childline (young carers), open 24 hours a day, tel: 0800 1111 (always open)

However, if you feel you desperately need a break and can no longer continue caring, emergency respite care for the person you look after may be available. You will need to contact Call Derbyshire for an assessment on tel: 01629 533190 or outside of normal office hours call tel: 01629 532600

If the person you care for is experiencing a mental health crisis

If the person you care for receives services from the Community Mental Health Team follow the procedures in their care plan as this should have the names and numbers of who to contact in a mental health crisis.

If you can’t find the care plan or there isn’t one, make an emergency appointment with their GP or call the GP’s out-of-hours service.

All local NHS Trusts have a Mental Health Crisis Team. These teams are made up of psychiatric nurses, social workers and support workers. They carry out mental health assessments under the Mental Health Act, provide support and short term help until another team is available.

  • North Derbyshire Crisis Team, tel 01246 512831 (24 hour service)
  • South Derbyshire Crisis Team, tel: 01332 623700 ext 33900 (24 hour service)
  • High Peak Crisis Team, tel 01298 814784 (24 hour service)

If you are unsure what the best course of action would be or need further help you can ring NHS direct on tel: 111 for advice.

Derbyshire County Council Adult Care may also be able to help on tel: 01629 533190 or 01629 532600 if it's out of hours.

Waiting Well is a new online resouce from Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust , it is written to help anyone who is facing a long wait for an appointment with a Mental Health Professional or a transfer to another service.  It gives some good advice on how to cope with what can be a difficult time.

General Mental Health Advice/counselling

  • Mind Info line  tel: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, Closed weekends and bank hols)
  • Mind Legal Line tel: 0300 466 6463 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, Closed weekends and bank hols)
  • Rethink Advice Line: 0300 5000927 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, Closed weekends and bank hols)
  • Saneline tel: 0300 304 7000 (Open every day of the year, inc all bank holidays from 4.30pm to 10.30pm)

Things you can do to help someone suffering mental ill health / suicidal

Scottish Young Carers have developed a useful guide that gives practical tips on how to help people suffering bouts of depression, panic attacks, bi-polar episodes and self-harm. The guide was written for young carers but has tips that are useful for anyone who looks after someone with mental health issues.

Derbyshire Safeguarding partners have produced a guide on what to do if the person you care for is feeling suicidal. The guide has helpful phone numbers and practical tips and advice.

Mind has a wealth of practical advice and information about how to help someone suffering a mental health related crisis.

You may also wish to find out about mental health advocacy.

Other useful contacts and resources

Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust have developed a 'situation, background, assessment, recommendation and decision (SBARD)' card to help families and carers get the help they need. The card encourages you to think about what you want to say and get your thoughts clear in your own head before you speak to professionals involved in your loved one's care.

Mind Infolines - Infoline on tel: 0300 123 3393 and legal line on tel: 0300 466 6463 

NHS Carers Direct tel: 0300 123 1053 offers support and help for carers  

Citizens Advice - there are also local branches in Derbyshire which can be found on the Derbyshire CAB website. (limited opening hours - detailed on individual websites, closed on bank holidays)

Derbyshire Discretionary fund - the fund may be able to offer emergency financial help to support you during a crisis situation or help you cope with exceptional pressure when you have no other source of funding. (Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm ,closed bank holidays)

Free legal advice for carers - Rothera Sharp Solicitors have teamed up with Derbyshire Carers Association to offer free legal advice clinics to carers in the county. (only available at specific times)

Brokerage service – tel: 01629 537763.  The Derbyshire County Council Brokerage Service can help you to find care services with availability in your area, including care homes and domiciliary (home care) services, if you wish to purchase care privately in order to get a break from your caring responsibilities. (closed weekends and bank holidays)

Derbyshire Carers Association - tel: 01773 833833. Derbyshire Carers are the lead provider of support services for carers in Derbyshire and can provide information and advice about how to get help in an emergency. (closed weekends and bank holidays)

Care of pets and animals

Finding someone to help look after pets in an emergency situation can be a worry. Options to try are:

  • family, friends or neighbours  
  • Cinnamon Trust, tel: 01736 757900 (available 24 hours a day in an emergency)
  • RSPCA, tel: 01332 344620 (South) or 01246 273358 (Chesterfield and North East) or 07432 709199 (High Peak). Or you can call the national line on tel: 0300 1234999
  • St Bernard's Animal Sanctuary, Chesterfield on tel: 01246 455777
  • Farming Community Network on tel: 03000 111 999
  • local dog wardens

​Planning for future emergencies

As a carer it is useful to have plans in place to deal with emergency situations. You can find out more on the planning for an emergency page.

This information was last updated on 07/09/2020

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