Carer Voices and NHS Lothian to offer a carers ‘check in and chat’

Section: People and NetworksType: News Item Date Published: 14th April 2020

NHS Lothian and the Carer Voices project are now offering support to carers and families with loved ones with dementia in acute hospitals.

In partnership with NHS Lothian, the Carer Voices project is now offering a 24/7 ‘Check in and chat’ telephone support service for carers and families of people living with dementia in acute hospitals during the COVID-19 crisis. It is hoped that the initiative will continue to promote person-centred care, help provide some reassurances to carers and loved ones, answer basic queries and link people to local services and support during the outbreak.

Carer Voices Project Lead, Tommy Whitelaw will be representing the ALLIANCE working in collaboration with NHS colleagues to provide a listening ear and connect families through the use of technology at a time that hospital visits have been restricted to reduce risk. Much of this guidance led by NHS Lothian colleagues Gillian McAuley, Nurse Director and Geraldine Marsh, Associate Nurse Director has also now been replicated by NHS England.

Tommy says: “These are potentially difficult times for many people, especially those living alone who may not have anyone to share their concerns. As a former carer, I’ve experienced many of these emotions and benefited greatly from people writing to me. People may just want to check-in and have a chat about what they saw on television last night. Hopefully, this initiative will support people with some of the challenges arising from the Coronavirus outbreak.”

Director of Strategy and Engagement, Irene Oldfather says: “We know from health professionals from Italy that one of the hardest things they experience is people not being able to have loved ones around them during this time. It’s possibly one of the cruelest things this virus does by separating people and their families in their most vulnerable moments Check and chat is a great initiative to offer families a listening ear.

Tommy’s Intelligent Kindness Campaign resonates across Scotland and we hope our listening ear will be reassuring for families and carers just looking to chat in these otherwise very isolating times.”

For any queries about this initiative, please email

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