Can we Make it Real for carers in self-directed support?

PRTC-178We have long since moved to the position where it’s regarded as unacceptable that both people with care needs and carers, have to accept one-size-fits-all services which take no account of how they wish to live their lives. This applies as much to people who fund their own care, as it does to the (sadly ever diminishing proportion of) people who have support funded for them by their local authority.

A year ago, a document called Making it Real was produced to show what this means, and its principles can’t be argued with.

Improving traditional approaches

Traditional service-led approaches to meeting needs in social care meant that people have not always received the right kind of help for the right issues in the right way, and at the right time.

Making it Real is about what can help achieve this, from the perspective of people right at the sharp end using the services.

However, although the original document was relevant to carers, it was really focused on people with care needs. There was a real risk that, again, carers would be an added extra that didn’t really fit with the main programme, or worse still, were taken for granted and invisible.

So with Think Local Act Personal — the national organisations responsible for Making it Real — and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, Carers Trust worked with carers to focus on what would “make this real” for them.

What carers want

There were three workshops with carers with Care for the Carers in East Sussex, with Lewisham Carers Centre, and with Durham and Chester le Street Carers Support. The passion and positive determination from the carers involved to have their say was clear.

Amongst the things carers said were:

  • I need the right information at the right time, and I shouldn’t have to fight for it
  • I need face to face to support, not just answer phones or websites
  • Confidentiality shouldn’t be used as a barrier to communication with me
  • I need the space to be someone other than a carer and pursue my own interests
  • I need good planning and support through the maze of services
  • I need care workers who are reliable, knowledgeable and trustworthyI need to be able to report poor care without being afraid of the repercussions

If these were done, many carers would feel better supported, less stressed and there would be better outcomes for everyone.

Progress will take time

All organisations providing care or supporting people with care need to take time to  talk to carers, honestly and openly, about how they are Making it real for them. It’s not difficult to do — the Making it Real website gives a checklist, which can be used to start the discussion and identify some priorities. Organisations which work through this process can get a kite mark to show they’re taking this seriously.

Nobody is expecting every area of every service to be transformed overnight but we all need to make a start to ensure that the support we provide meets carers’ needs in the right way.

Carers deserve to have their needs met in a manner  which treats them as the valued and diverse individuals they are.


May 31, 2013 - Posted by | Social Care | ,

1 Comment »

  1. I’d like to add two things to the list of what carers want:
    * I want to be able to get respite easily when I need it (a more creative approach by social service staff would help!)
    * I want information on paper that I can refer back to easily anytime. Face to face is OK but I forget what was said; helplines and websites are inconvenient and not immediate enough.

    Comment by Bryony McGinty | June 5, 2013 | Reply

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