Carer but need an operation - can I get support?


I am a 30-year-old mother of 3 young children (ages 6,3,& 1). I am currently looking after my husband who is trying to get back on his feet after a few stressful years of very ill health. However, I have a stomach hernia I really need this operation. But I do EVERYTHING.

Problems after the operation:

  • First floor flat (Lifting the pushchair/children up and down)
  • Pushing the Pushchair outside.
  • Any heavy lifting and bending.
  • Neither of us drive
  • No local family

Support needed for:

  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Taking the children out with me. (Shops, park etc)
  • General care of my children (assistance in changing, dressing etc)
  • School runs (I know my eldest school can help but I have no one for pre-school)

As time goes on, I can slowly ease into most of these activities, but its the big things like lifting and pushing that will be a long way off. Luckily my husband doesn’t need anything drastic needed, other than keeping the household run so he can focus on himself and recovering.

Is there a way I can get this operation and someone to do everything I do until I can get back on feet, which will be a max of 6 weeks?. I know there is support for people who want holidays, but I need it for other reasons. Who can I contact to organise this? I know 6 weeks is a long time.

Hi Rudi … welcome to the canteen.

Straight answer … theoretically possible through the SS team inside your local LA … a post code lottery of sorts , especially if costs to replace you are involved.

That element may prove to be a real killer.

Added problem of paid care workers not being " Swiss army knives " like us !

In addition , " Alf and Eddie " ( Health and Safety ) , they are governed by those regulations whereas we are NOT !

Only yesterday . started a new thread on this problem … directly relevant here :

Carers UK’s own view on this :

Creating a contingency plan | Carers UK

( Nothing on the potential cost element ! )

A potential " Financial Armageddon " loophole that needs to be closed … like yesterday !

Ponder … then return to us here on this forum.

Talk to Social Services, for an urgent needs assessment. Would you like your children to stay with someone else for the first week or two? This might be possible.
Talk to the school, they might have a parent who could help.
Talk to your husband too. Would it help if he went away for a week or two?

I’ve had several abdominal operations. You will need lots of rest, light meals, but make sure you walk a little and often as it will help avoid wind, but most importantly of all, help get rid of any swelling.Two short walks are better than one long one! No need to push it either, just the house three doors away might be enough the first trip out, then go a bit further each day as you feel able.
Three weeks after I had my kidney out I was walking 2 miles a day, with my husband beside me encouraging me. Would gentle walking help your husband too?
Have you got a recliner? Might be more comfortable to sit in, slightly bent, than flat in bed.

it may be that your children will need to be in temporary foster care for the duration, and your husband in respite care…

Of course, just removing those YOU have to care for isn’t going to provide anyone to care for YOU after the operation…

It shows, grimly, just how vulnerable you are as a family, if YOU are the only ‘able bodied adult’ around…as in, when you are NOT ‘able-bodied’.

If your children could stay with the parents of school chums that would be the best…when my husband went into end stage for his cancer and was still in hospital, and I was there with him ‘all the time’, a good friend took in our son, as he was friends with her son and they went to the same school. it wasn’t for six weeks though…

I can see it is going to be a very worrying time for you…I take it no family are around to help??? (Sorry, you’d have said if there were!)

I have kicked the " Insurance " thread upstairs to CUK … this thread was also mentioned.

Part of the major problem … the cost of replacing one’s self as a carer during a time when they are NOT capable of caring.

Lone carer / caree … most will pool resources to meet joint expenditure … akin to a husband and wife.

I leave it to readers’ imagination if said " Resources " were the standard range of benefits / allowances … and nothing else ???

3 million+ of our fellow carers out there have little more than that to survive on.

In short , and for the want of a better analogy … " The potential cost to a caree for their family / kinship carer to be ill ? "

It will NOT solve this poster’s problem but … could potentially help hundreds of thousands others !

Hi Rudi,
I had a hernia op ( open surgery) a few years ago.) definitely no lifting children, pushchairs, hoovering, changing beds etc but you’ll be fine to cook as long as you plan carefully and organise the kitchen beforehand. Fine to wipe down surfaces. I was able to drive earlier than anticipated, I had to walk S to a GP appointment and mentioned he was unsettled as I usually drove him, he said could I stamp my right foot, I could and that was that, he said no reason I couldn’t drive.

Are there physical tasks your hubby could assist with e.g. carrying the washing basket etc?

Social care could arrange for daytime foster care / childminder care of little’uns or temporary fulltime foster care. They might arrange domescillary (sp?) support at home. You wont know until you contact them. Everything takes ages to sort out, so contact them as soon as possible.


Melly - that is really useful about being able to stamp one’s foot! I guess it means you can do an emergency stop, and that has to be essential.

I know I drove loads earlier than I ‘should’ have when I had a total hysterectomy some years ago (ie, they cut right through the abdominal wall and all the muscles). My surgeon simply said to put a folded (several times!) towel across my tum, where the seat belt went, to make sure that any sudden braking and the force went into the well padded towel, not my stitches.

Not sure, however, whether my car insurance would have been valid had I been involved in a crash??

With abdominal surgery what they dont’ want is any strain on the tum area )rib cage to groin), so no lifting. I thnk I was told not to lift anything heavier than a full kettle.

You have to get out of bed by ‘rolling sideways’ and swinging your legs to the floor first before standing up. Definitely no sit ups!

None of the above solves the issue of the children/your husband.

As chris says, your dilemma illustrates brutally just hOW MUCH a ‘stay at home carer’ actually does…

YOU would be entitled to 6 weeks of free reablement care. Make sure you ask the hospital to arrange it before discharge.

Confirmed :

When you get home from hospital.

Temporary care.

If you have had a short illness or an operation, you might only need care for a short time to get back to normal.

This is called intermediate care, reablement or aftercare.

Care is free for up to 6 weeks.

At least , in the context of this thread , one aspect with no potential charge.

Thinking ahead , if our poster is claiming Carers Allowance … and she is hospitalised … CA will stop … change in circumstances needed to be submitted ?

When I had my first knee op in a private hospital (car accident injury so paid for by insurers) they didn’t arrange it for me, so when I had the second one I made sure they did. We had a silly “No we can’t” “Yes you can” conversation, I sent her away to speak to someone, then lo and behold, she came back with a form she knew nothing about, and in due course a lovely lady came to see me. I only needed by compression socks changing, feet washed, and new socks fitted, but you are not allowed to do it yourself after a knee replacement, and I was widowed. My eldest son lives with me, so did everything else I needed before or after work. This lady was really disappointed she couldn’t do more for me, like washing up, or loading the washing machine!!

Thinking ahead , if our poster is claiming Carers Allowance … and she is hospitalised … CA will stop … change in circumstances needed to be submitted ?


Report a change in circumstances.

You must report any change in your circumstances if you’re claiming or have applied for Carer’s Allowance.

This includes if you get a job, > temporarily stop providing care for someone > or stop being a carer altogether.

In which event , replacement income ?

Time needed if under Universal Credit ???

Good job I mentioned this thread to CUK when kicking the Insurance thread upstairs.

One for the Advice Team me thinks ?

I hope the poster returns to this thread so that we can probe a little deeper.

All the makings of a classic so far … for the WRONG reason ?

As far, as I’m aware the re-enablement care is just for yourself and would only cover personal care, physio etc which you are unlikely to need after a hernia op, which is just day surgery. Do make sure you have some over the counter co-codomol at home (and some constipation meds,) as they sent me home with just paracetomol, which was fine until the nerve block given with the general anaesthetic wore off.
Care of the children is a social care issue.


So many uncertainties … and the spectre of financial costs hanging over all.

  1. Care of the children.

  2. Care of the caree.

  3. Post op care for the carer … first 6 weeks free … if more care is needed beyond the initial 6 weeks ?

  4. Financial implications of the potential costs involved ( Including loss of Carers Allowance whilst the carer is in hospital with no replacement income arranged yet through the benefits system. )

( I have assumed no insurance cover held covering this eventually ! )

That makes four different but connected problems … two different departments of the LA for starters , possibly three ?

Solution will rest with the CUK Advice Team …not a nice one to deal with given the factors involved.

Still , although time is limited , we still have some to play with … ponder on readers.

Carers UK Advice Team now on alert … thanks to Michael … little more anyone can do other than to await the poster returning to the forum.

A " What if " as it stands … the devil may be in the LA’s response for assistance.

The original poster has not returned to the forum since Saturday.

I hope that we will be advised of developments … too important not to be for thousands , if not hundreds of thousands , of others !

I didn’t realise a hernia repair was just a day case job. Very surprised.

Another week and the poster has not returned.

Given the circumstances as so described , almost vital to get this one on record as it certainly will not be the last time ANY
reader will face a similar situation.

Best to have those buckets of sand ready in the event of a fire … even though they , in themselves , would not be enough ?

Still no news from the original poster.


Said problem can affect ANYONE OF US … especially lone carers.

Ok , anyone with first hand experience of this ?

What happened ?

CUK … what’s YOUR blueprint for this !

Perhaps a guide … " How To Avoid Being Evicted Or Losing Your Home When Needing An Urgent Operation " … ???