Help at Home
In this section we provide details of local organisations that may be able to help with some of the practical issues that can arise at home both during and after cancer treatment. Your GP or hospital based team should be your first contact if you have any concerns or queries related to your health care needs.
If you have problems finding the information you are looking for, the Managers of your nearest Macmillan Information and Support Centre will always be happy to talk to you about your particular needs and signpost you appropriately.
If you feel in need of some additional help at home during treatment or when you return home from hospital your local social services may be able to help. The types of services provided could include personal care and support, aids and equipment and carer support.
In Wales, personal care at home can be provided free of charge for the first six weeks but after that, services may be means tested. Whatever your individual circumstances social services will be able to advise you on charges and availability.
Social services are not able to offer help with housework but they will be able to give you a list of local providers approved by the Care Standards Inspectorate for Wales. As a cancer patient you may be eligible for particular benefits to help pay for these services (please see our section on Money and Benefits).
To get help from social services for yourself or for someone else you will need to get in touch with your local Department and ask for an assessment of need to determine the urgency of need and to develop a plan of care. Contact details for local offices are given below:
British Red Cross ‘Home from Hospital’ service
For the first weeks after hospital discharge local Red Cross volunteers offer a ‘Home from Hospital’ service. They will visit people in their own homes and offer support and practical help to help them regain their confidence and independence. Help may include:
- Shopping and collection of prescriptions
- Companionship and emotional support
- Liaising with other support services
- Support for carers
- Telephone support
Volunteers are NOT able to assist with personal care or housework. The service is free for a period of 4 weeks following discharge and is available to anyone over the age of 18 years. For a pre-planned hospital admission it is best to contact the service in advance.
Referral can be from ward staff or a hospital social worker or for more information you can contact your nearest British Red Cross office:
North Wales Business Park
Wrexham Maelor Hospital
Housing adaptations and equipment (including wheelchairs)
If you need equipment or adaptations to help you manage at home, your GP or healthcare team should be your first point of contact. The organisations and schemes below may also prove useful if you are in need of additional help.
Social services are able to help you cope better in your own home by adapting the home with appropriate appliances such as switches, hand rails and ramps. Depending on your circumstances you may be asked to contribute toward the cost. Please see our section on Social Services for details of your local office.
British Red Cross Medical Loan Service
This volunteer-led medical equipment service provides wheelchair hire and short-term loans of equipment, helping people to return to their own homes after a hospital stay and promoting independence.
The main types of equipment provided include: wheelchairs, backrests, bath seats, walking sticks and frames, commodes, bedpans and urinals.
Equipment is often loaned free of charge but a deposit or donation may be requested. No one would be refused help because they could not pay.
Details of local British Red Cross offices are given in our section on the British Red Cross ‘Home from Hospital’ service.
Telecare schemes (personal alarm systems)
Telecare services refer to a range of alarm systems that are available for your home, some of which can let a family member, friend or neighbour know by telephone when there’s something wrong. They can help you live more independently at home and can be useful for anyone who has a long term health condition.
Telecare services include a range of alarm systems and include:
- A personal alarm, where you raise the alert by pressing a button that you keep on you at all times. Usually it’s on a small wristband or a pendant that you wear around your neck.
- Motion sensors, which make accidents and falls less likely by automatically switching on your bathroom or hallway lights at night when you get out of bed.
- Flood, smoke and gas detectors which can raise an audible alarm and alert a carer or monitoring centre.
Telecare systems can be bought directly from specialist shops, suppliers and organisations such as Age UK and Saga. However, they can be expensive and it is worth contacting your local county council, many of which offer their own local telecare services. Depending on funding these may be available free of charge for a limited period of time.
Please follow the links below to access details for county council telecare services in North Wales:
The Macmillan Cancer Support website provides a good overview of who may be able to help with pet care while you are in hospital or if you need some extra help whilst at home. It is worth noting that as part of the National Assistance Act (1948) your local social services department has a duty to provide care for your pets if you are admitted to hospital and there is no one else to take care of them. There may be a charge for this service. Your GP should be able to refer you.
The following organisations have branches / volunteers in North Wales:
The Cinnamon Trust
The Cinnamon Trust is a national network of more than 7,000 volunteers that provides practical help when any aspect of day-to-day care poses a problem. This varies from arranging a dog walker if the owner has become housebound, to short-term foster care during an owner’s admission to hospital. They are also able to arrange long-term care if the owner becomes unable to look after their pet. They try to offer pets a ‘home from home’ service. All of the trust’s services are free.
10 Market Square
Cats Protection is the UK’s oldest and largest cat charity. It offers a re-homing service through its nationwide network of adoption centres and voluntary branches. The charity also operates a free ’emergency care card’ scheme.
North Wales has a branch in Wrexham which provides help for needy cats and their owners in Wrexham, Chester, Flint, Corwen and Llangollen.
01978 313574 (11.00am – 3.00pm, 7days)
Radar National Key Scheme
The Radar National Key Scheme offers independent access to locked public toilets around the country for people who need to use the facilities due to a disability or ongoing health condition. Toilets fitted with National Key Scheme locks can be found in shopping centres, pubs, cafés, department stores, bus and train stations and many other locations. The scheme is voluntary so not all disabled toilets will be available to use in this way.
The current cost is £4.50 (no VAT payable for individuals)
The key can be purchased from your local council offices, some local libraries or from the online shop of Disability Rights UK. A guide book can also be purchased which lists more than 9000 accessible toilets across the UK.
Home fire safety check
The North Wales Fire and Rescue Service offer free safety checks – useful for all!
FREEPHONE 0808 100 2863
Nest (Free support to help reduce your energy bills)
Households who find it hard to heat their homes are being encouraged to apply to Nest, a Welsh Government scheme, which aims to make the least energy efficient homes warmer and cosier.
Nest is open to all householders in Wales, and provides advice on saving energy, money management, fuel tariffs, benefit entitlement and home improvements to help reduce the cost of energy bills.
In addition to advice, if you own or privately rent your home and receive a means tested benefit, you may also be eligible for free home improvements. These may include a new central heating boiler, loft insulation, cavity wall and solid wall insulation, draught proofing for doors and windows and green technology.
Over the past three years over 50,000 householders have received free advice and support and over 13,000 householders have received free home improvement measures and saved an average of £475 a year on their fuel costs.
For more information please contact Nest on:
FREEPHONE 0808 808 2244