Publish date: 24 November 2022
To mark Carers Rights Day on November 24, we are featuring Faye Gates, a member of our Carers Staff Network Group, who has shared with us what Carers Rights Day means to her and the things which she has found helpful in the workplace
My name is Faye. I joined the Patient Experience Team as a Patient Experience Co-ordinator in 2015 after raising my four children and caring full-time for my daughter who has Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. She has a life-threatening condition and multiple complex needs, and although she now lives in specialist accommodation, much of my time is still taken up with supporting her medical, behavioural and social care provision. I currently have a project and advocacy role within The Patient Experience Team, prioritising the needs of individuals who are seldom heard and drawing on my lived experience as a carer.
What does Carers Rights Day mean to you Faye?
Carers rights matter because anyone can become a carer at any time, and most of us do at some point in our lives. My own caring needs changed and became more demanding when my dad developed a rare form of dementia. You may not recognise that you’re a carer if you’re doing what comes naturally as a daughter, son or parent, but if you support someone because they need extra help and depend on you, that’s you.
The theme of this years’ campaign is ‘Caring Costs’ and the rights that unpaid carers have. The costs of caring can be felt in so many ways; the costs to the quality of your relationships with family and friends, the costs to your wellbeing and health, the financial costs of looking after someone or the costs of lost opportunities for employment or career progression.
Carers need to know their rights wherever they are in their caring journey and regardless of setting; at home, in the workplace, in accessing health and social care services, when interacting with professionals. Sometimes, just pointing someone in the right direction for advice and support can make all the difference. Click here for information.
What has made a difference to you at work?
I am fortunate and grateful to have a supportive manager and team, and I wouldn’t have been able to continue in my job without the understanding and flexibility which I have been given, particularly when I returned to full-time caring during Covid.
Additional things which have helped me are:
After a particularly challenging period at home, my manager offered me monthly wellbeing conversations which sit outside of my work-related 1:1’s. I often find it difficult to talk about what I’m going through; self-preservation for me has been about keeping the armour on, so having this space to open up and let the barriers down has been brilliant and incredibly helpful.
On a final note, we deserve respect for and recognition for the job we’re doing as carers. We have a voice and a right to be heard. If you are a carer, reach out if you need to; seek support and talk about your experiences so that together we can make a difference.