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QNI launches nurses and carers initiative

A new project will aim to improve engagement between community nurses and carers. 

Funded by the Department of Health and run by the Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI), the one-year project aims to provide more support for carers. 

Carers provide physical, psychological, and emotional support to those who might otherwise have to be admitted to hospital or nursing homes. 

They play a huge role in helping people to live at home with long term conditions but despite this, carers' own health often suffers. The government's Carers Strategy aims specifically to reduce the burdens that carers operate under.

A statement released by the QNI reads: "Community nurses, such as district nurses, have always worked closely with carers, helping them to give the best care to friends and family. It is in the interests of patients, carers, and nurses themselves if all can co-operate to the best of their ability. 

"Carers who are well-supported by nursing teams are less likely to suffer ill health themselves, and are more able to give effective care, reducing the need for health service interventions."

Last year the QNI received funding from the Department of Health to develop an online resource, to help nurses and healthcare assistants work more effectively with carers. 

The QNI's existing online resource is aimed particularly at those nurses who visit patients at home. The next phase of the DH/QNI carers project will focus on practice nurses and school nurses, and the role that they can play in supporting carers, including young carers.

The 12-month project's aims include:

 - Develop a network of community nurses dedicated to supporting the needs of carers.

 - Recruit and support carers nurse champions across all specialties.

 - Develop resource materials online and other media, and convene learning events.

 - Carry out a national survey to identify areas of greatest need and potential for improvement.

The QNI has now appointed a full time carers' project officer, Jennie Whitford, for a period of one year.  

Whitford said: "I am delighted to be working on this important new QNI project, which will bring together nurses from across the community nursing workforce to support the vital work that carers do."