People in West Dunbartonshire who care for a family member or friend who is in hospital or receiving treatment in a healthcare facility are being offered help by the NHS.

A new campaign is being aimed at people who provide some form of care who need, but do not know, how to access support.

They are being asked to identify themselves to the NHS as carers so they can get the information and support they need from staff.

The NHS says as a healthcare provider it now has a duty to involve carers, including young carers, in discussions and decisions about the person they care for before they are discharged from hospital.

A carer is a person who provides unpaid practical, physical and emotional support to a relative, a friend or neighbour due to a physical or mental illness.

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It can also include addiction, frailty or disability.

Research has shown that three out of five people will become a carer to someone at some stage in their lives.

The carer does not need to live with the person to provide care.

Margaret McGuire, nurse director with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “We want anyone who is a carer to know they are not alone.

“There is a range of help and support available for not only them but the person they are caring for.

“There is dedicated carers’ support available that provides practical information on services, financial support, emotional support, training that will support you as a carer and information on how to access respite care.”

Margaret added: “Key information is also available for all our staff so they know what is required from them to meet the requirements of the Carers (Scotland) Act.

“This will help our staff to identify, involve and support carers with decisions on patients in our care.”