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What to do if you feel you can't be a carer

It can be very hard to make a decision not to care for someone or to no longer care for someone when they come out of hospital.
You may think you are letting them down but please try not to feel guilty. Looking after someone is not always easy or satisfying, and caring can be physically, emotionally and financially draining.
If you have been caring for someone for a long time and you now think you can no longer cope, you may find it particularly difficult to come to terms with. You may think that the time has come to consider a residential or nursing home but are not sure you are doing the right thing.
The important thing to remember is that you can continue to care for someone even if you are not looking after them in your own home - it's just that the caring is done in a different way. And you may find that you are able to spend more quality time with them rather than collapsing exhausted at the end of the day.


If you can't care and a person is due to come out of hospital

You may need to make important decisions quickly when the person you are caring for is in hospital, but don't feel pressurised by hospital staff who may make assumptions about the amount of help you can offer. If you need more time to decide, tell the staff. It's better to be realistic than to over-commit yourself and then find you can't manage.
If the hospital staff continue to assume you will care for the person even if you say you can't provide the care that's needed, you can complain or refuse to provide care.


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Updated April 2015