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Ask the expert: who would look after my husband while I'm not around?

Jen, from the Carers UK adviceline, offers some advice on how to how manage care when you need to take some time out for your own health or wellbeing.

You asked:

I care for my husband who had a stroke. Recently I have been feeling unwell and am being tested for lymphoma. If it turns out that I do need treatment then I’m worried about who would look after my husband while I’m not around. What can I do?

Our advisor says:

AdvicelineBeing unwell is always difficult, but especially so when you’re a carer. In fact our research shows that 51% of carers have let a health problem go untreated.

As a carer, looking after your own wellbeing is really important, so if you do need treatment then it might be worth getting replacement care for your husband during your treatment, and also for a while afterwards so you can recover. 

There are different types of replacement care which might be suitable, such as: a temporary stay in residential care, care workers, a day centre or a holiday with care included.

The local council (trust in Northern Ireland) may be able to help with arranging and/or funding replacement care such as residential care, care workers or a day centre. In order for the council to help, your husband would have to be assessed as needing this care, and although it might be difficult to do, you must make it very clear that you cannot provide this care during your treatment and recovery.

If the local council does assess your husband as needing this care which you cannot provide, they must provide this care, and would carry out a financial assessment on him to see if he would need to pay.

You can see further information by downloading a copy of our assessments factsheet or by calling the Carers UK Adviceline to ask for a copy.

If your husband doesn’t want an assessment, or if his income/capital is such that he would have to pay the full cost of any care, then you could arrange replacement care such as residential care, care workers or a day centre yourselves.

The local council should still be able to give you a list of care providers in your area; and there are also some websites where you can search for local care providers:

• each nation has a social care regulator which has an online directory of registered care providers: the Care Quality Commission in England cqc.org.uk; the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales in Wales cssiw.org.uk;
the Care Inspectorate in Scotland careinspectorate.com; and the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority in Northern Ireland rqia.org.uk
• Which? Elderly Care has a Care Services Directory for the whole UK
which.co.uk/elderly-care

If a holiday with care included would be more suitable, you could see if an organisation can help arrange and/or fund this. Some organisations arrange holidays for those who require care and some also have bursaries or grants which can be applied for. You can see details of these organisations in our factsheet, Taking a break or call the Carers UK Adviceline to ask for a copy.

As you mention being worried about who would look after your husband while you are not around, I wanted to mention carer emergency schemes (sometimes called carer emergency cards). These schemes differ around the UK, but generally allow you to create an emergency plan outlining the care your husband would need if something unexpected happened to you.

A lot of schemes would then give you a card, which you can keep in your purse, and so if you were in an emergency situation someone could see that you are a carer, and could call the number on the card to enact the emergency plan. Your local
council social care department or your local carer’s organisation should know about your local scheme.

I hope this helps, and remember that if you need to talk this through you can contact the Carers UK Adviceline on 0808 808 7777 (Mon-Fri, 10am – 4pm) or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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