How to work with a young carer
Always listen to them.
‘They could be putting my mum's life at risk by not listening to me. I've been looking after her. I know everything about her.'
And explain the patient's treatment plan to them.
'I broke down what to do and what to expect. I even explained some medical terms. My patient felt better knowing their daughter understood it all. Her daughter also seemed much more relaxed.'
Try to understand how they may feel.
'We only go to hospital when things go bad. It always stresses me out. I can't sleep because I don't stop worrying. Then everything starts to drain me. I start acting angry. I don't mean to.'
Make some allowances for stress.
'I asked her son if he wanted to take a moment to pause before we continued talking. At first he got angry but then he did take a break. We both felt better after that break.'
Ask for advice.
'I never met a young carer before. I reached out to a doctor on the children's ward. He told me about his experience and connected me to the local young carer support service. They really helped.'