Frequently asked questions about the scheme

Questions about what counts as an emergency

What counts as an emergency?

For the purposes of this scheme an emergency is ‘a sudden, unplanned and temporary situation where the carer is not able to provide the care they usually provide, and the carer is prevented from making temporary arrangements themselves’.

Can I use the Carers Emergency Card if I have an important appointment?

No, the card scheme only covers unplanned, emergency situations. You need to arrange alternative cover or rearrange your appointment.

Can I use the card if I am ill and do not want to infect the person I look after?

If the illness you have such as a virus or a cold does not require emergency treatment then the Carers Emergency Card cannot be used. If you need emergency health care or treatment you can use the Carers Emergency Card scheme.

Questions about registering for the scheme

Do I have to have any ‘Be Independent’ (formerly Warden Call) services in place, including their alarm service, to register on the Carers Emergency Card Scheme?

No, the Carers Emergency Card is a separate scheme and is in addition to the services that are available from Be Independent.

Do I need a card as I am already on Be Independent?

Yes, you need to register for a Carers Emergency Card. Other Be Independent services are separate from the Carers Emergency Card scheme.

Can I register for the Carers Emergency Card if the person I look after is in a Care Home?

Yes, the scheme will alert the Care Home that you have been involved in an emergency. The Care Home, with their permission, will need to be the first contact on the registration form. Be Independent will not provide the emergency response or care for the cared for person as the Care Home will continue to provide this.

I care for more than one person so do I need a Carers Emergency Card for each person?

No, each person you care for will have their own separate emergency plan and this will link to one Carers Emergency Card unique pin number.

What happens if the person I look after has more than one carer?

If there is more than one carer they will each have their own Carers Emergency Card. Although the unique pin numbers on the card will be different they will all link to the emergency plan of the person you care for.

What happens if the person I look after does not live in York (but I do)?

The person you look after needs to live in the City of York boundary as Be Independent is provided by the City of York Council. Many areas have their own version of the scheme so contact your local carers’ centre to find out what is available where you live.

Questions about emergency contacts

Who can be an emergency contact?

You can put down friends, family members or neighbours who are willing to be contacted in an emergency. They don’t need to live in York. It is your responsibility to ensure that the contacts you choose are responsible and reliable. You should choose someone who the person you care for knows well and who understands their needs.

Can I put someone who supports me as part of their job down as emergency contact?

No, you cannot put professionals down as an emergency contact.

What if I don’t have anyone I can put down as a contact?

You can still register with the scheme if you do not have any contacts as Be Independent will assess the situation and make sure that appropriate care arrangements are made for the person you care for. If you would like to discuss this please contact York Carers Centre on 01904 715490.

Who will get in touch with my emergency contacts if there is an emergency and someone rings the number on the card?

The call will go through to a Be Independent phone operator who asks for the unique pin number on the card and uses this to look up the carer’s emergency contact details. The operator takes the caller’s details and if the situation is an emergency (the operator will assess this) they phone the emergency contacts listed on the emergency plan.

Will all my emergency contacts be phoned if there is an emergency?

The Be Independent phone operator will phone the first emergency contact listed on the emergency plan. If they are not available they will phone the second emergency contact listed, and so on, until they manage to contact someone who can help. If an emergency contact can help then Be Independent won’t ring the other contacts, or visit the cared for person, unless they are asked to.

What happens if no contacts are available if there is an emergency?

Be Independent sends a mobile warden or agency staff to visit the cared for person and decide if they are at risk if they are left alone. If needed they will arrange unscheduled personal care (up to 4 hours).

Questions about how the scheme is run

What does York Carers Centre do?

York Carers Centre manages the day to day delivery of the scheme to carers (for example, checking registration forms and sending out the cards). York Carers Centre does not provide the emergency response part of the scheme.

How is Be Independent involved?

Be Independent provides the 24 hour, seven days a week emergency response service. It will hold copies of the registration form and add information onto their system. Carers or third parties will call them directly if there is an emergency.

Questions about once I am registered on the scheme

Who will have access to my information?

The information you provide will be held by Social Services, Be Independentl and York Carers Centre. Your information will only be used to administer and monitor this scheme. For more information about how your information is stored please contact York Carers Centre.

What should I do if my situation changes?

You must tell York Carers Centre about any changes. For example, if your health or the care needs of the person you look after change, if you move or change phone numbers, or if there are any changes to your emergency contacts’ information.

What happens if I lose my Carers Emergency Card?

We will replace lost cards with another card with the same unique number on it. If the number rubs off or fades you can ask for a new one by contacting York Carers Centre.

Will anyone check the information on my emergency plan is up to date?

York Carers Centre contacts everyone registered with the scheme each year to check that the information we have is accurate.

If you are a young carer you can talk to your Young Carer Worker about the information held and they will help you keep it up to date.