Information and resources on end of life and bereavement in Suffolk and north east Essex

Carers support

A carer is someone looking after a partner, friend or family member who is unable to manage by themselves. Every caring role is different. Becoming a carer can happen gradually or very suddenly and can last for days or years.

Becoming the carer of a friend or family member at home with a life-limiting (terminal) illness can be both rewarding and challenging. A range of issues may arise throughout the caring journey, including recognising the right time to consider residential care or caring for someone nearing the end of their life at home. Some people want to spend their last days in a hospice or hospital, but many more want to be in the familiar surroundings of their home if possible.

For many, this will be their first experience of caring for someone. You may need to gain an understanding of what to expect, what you should do and what support there is to help you at every stage.

You and the person you are caring for can talk to your GP, district nurse or members of your local community healthcare team / integrated neighbourhood team about what support might be needed. You’ll want to get a realistic view of what to expect so you can make plans. Your friend or family member might need specialist nursing as well as help with washing, eating and using the toilet. They may need continence care if they lose control of their bladder and bowels.

Dr Lindsey Crockett, senior partner at the Peninsula Practice has written a short guide for carers with simple, practical tips that can make a great difference to an unwell person:

Essex and Suffolk County Councils

The Essex County Council website provides information, support and guidance for people who look after someone.

Support for carers | Essex County Council

The Suffolk County Council website provides information on help for carers, financial and wellbeing support, carer’s assessment, respite, Family Carers Emergency Plan, events and updates: – Caring for someone

Marie Curie

The Marie Curie website provides information and support on what to expect – from day to day caring to looking after your own needs. They explain what to expect in the last weeks, days and final moments of life which can help you feel more prepared.

They also provide a range of booklets and resources including easy read booklets. If you live in the UK, you can order any of these free of charge by selecting a booklet online or by calling the Marie Curie Support Line:

Marie Curie’s support line provides both practical and clinical information, along with emotional support if you’re living with or caring for someone who has a life-limiting (terminal) illness. The support line team also moderate an online community which has a ‘Carer’s Corner’ for those supporting someone with a life-limiting (terminal) illness (carer, loved one, family friend or neighbour) to share worries and concerns with others in a similar situation:

Suffolk Family Carers

Suffolk Family Carers is an established charity, helping family carers of all ages across Suffolk get the information & support they need to maintain their own health and wellbeing alongside that of the person they care for.

Their ‘Information Hub’ is staffed by friendly experienced advisers who will have a conversation with you about your caring role and how it is affecting you.

The support they offer includes information, advice, guidance, emotional support, replacement care, programmes and workshops, and an online community where you can chat to other family carers to support each other by sharing information and advice.

Visit the Suffolk Family Carers website for more information including a LiveChat facility:

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT)

Workers from Suffolk Family Carers provide a key point of contact to support you whilst the person you care for is in hospital and when they are discharged.

Carers are also invited to drop-in to the ‘Carers’ Cabin’ at Ipswich Hospital for respite, emotional support, information, signposts and referral.

Visit the ESNEFT website for more information:

Carers First – support for people in Colchester and Tendring

If you’re an unpaid carer, aged 18 and over, Carers First can help you whatever stage you are at in your caring journey. Carers First offer online help and advice, as well as practical and emotional support, and run regular support groups and events. You don’t have to wait until reaching a crisis point before asking for help – the earlier you ask, the bigger the difference it can make. Carers First can also support you for 12-24 months after the death of the person you were caring for.

Local carer support groups

Essex Carers Support is a registered charity dedicated to helping unpaid carers get the best from life. Essex Carers Support provide a wide variety of flexible support services directly to family carers.

Essex Carers Network support families to have the tools they need to feel strong, resilient and empowered in order for them to advocate for their loved ones.

Suffolk InfoLink is an online directory of community information created by Suffolk County Council. It provides a platform for local clubs, societies, community and voluntary organisations, and public service providers to inform local communities about the support they offer.

You can share contact details of any of the directory entries with someone else by entering their mobile phone number and clicking ‘Send SMS’. The Short Message Service will send the contact details to their phone immediately:

Further information and additional resources