CarersBlog

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What Can the Government Do to Help You?

You may be glad to hear that after spouting forth recently, not even one opinion will be spouted by me in this blog. I want you to spout instead.

In November or December, the Government will outline how they will try support carers between 2011 and 2015. But until 20th September, we all have the chance to influence their thinking. The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care will be submitting a response and we’re both keen to hear your thoughts and opinions.

The Government have split their plans into five areas and I want your ideas on what you think the Government could do to help you (or carers generally):

  1. Be respected as expert care partners and have access to personalised services they need to support them in their caring role
  2. Have a life of their alongside their caring role
  3. Be supported so that they care not forced into financial hardship by their caring role (NB benefits are being considered as part of another consultation and not this one, which I’ll come to in a later blog, so it would be more useful to focus on other things here)
  4. Be supported to stay mentally and physically well and treated with dignity.
  5. Children and young people will be protected from inappropriate caring and have the support they need to learn, develop and thrive, to enjoy positive childhoods and to achieve against all the Every Child Matters outcomes

So, flood me with comments and it would be great if you could explain to me why you think the Government should prioritise what you’re suggesting, rather than other areas. And also why it would help achieve one of the five aims outlined above.

Thanks folks

Gordon

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August 27, 2010 Posted by | Budget, Carers Strategy, David Cameron, Health, Mental Health, Social Care, Young carers | , , , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

An Essential Triangle of Care

Note: The following post has been contributed by Carole Cochrane, the Chief Executive of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers

***

Wednesday 28th July was another hot day in London (well it was for northern based lass). And like many of my London working days it was crammed with various meetings.

The day started with a breakfast review meeting with The Trust’s Director of Fundraising before we both went off to meet with someone who had recently made a significant donation to The Trust (always good to thank in person).

As I say it was a hot day and by the afternoon I was already feeling pretty tired and dishevelled and I had to change into a new set of clothes. Feeling a bit more like a Chief Executive, I headed off to my last appointment of the day which was to launch the Triangle of Care report at the House of Lords.

Tony Baldry MP, Co-Chair of the APPG and a real supporter of carers, was really the person launching the report. I was asked to speak and although I had some points prepared, after talking to carers there I felt that I wanted to speak as a sister of someone with a ‘severe and enduring’ mental health issue.

I talk to so many carers of someone with a mental health issue, who are often worn down with caring and fighting to get good services and I felt that I needed to speak for my parents, my sister and all those other carers who don’t get the chance to do so.

I know only too well the impact my sister’s illness has had on our family unit and in particular on the health of my elderly parents, who are still the ones that pick up the pieces when my sister is ill and again when she is discharged back into the community, sorting out a flat, furnishing etc.

The Triangle of Care report attempts to bring together the carer; the cared for and the professional and get them all working as partners. So many carers tell me they feel invisible when care packages are being put together but are all too often the ones that have to implement and manage the care.

The essence of the document is to clearly identify the six key elements
required to achieve better collaboration and partnership with carers, with good practice examples and resources.

1. Carers and the essential role they play are identified at first contact or as soon as possible thereafter.
2. Staff are ‘carer aware’ and trained in carer engagement strategies.
3. Policy and practice protocols re confidentiality and sharing information are in place.
4. Defined post(s) responsible for carers are in place.
5. A carer introduction to the service and staff is available, with a relevant range of information across the acute care pathway.
6. A range of carer support services is available.

I had a really enjoyable time at the event and spoke to some wonderful carers who I know are hoping that the Triangle of Care becomes everyday practice so their loved ones get the services they so richly deserve.

P.S: had a recent text from my sister who tells me she is really happy – it has been over 25 years since we have heard those words – so I know things are getting better for her and my parents and that is what I am sure those parents that spoke to me on the night long to hear.

August 5, 2010 Posted by | Carers Strategy, Health, Mental Health | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Carers Engagement Key to Planning of Legislation

Note: The following blog post has been contributed by Martyn Pengilley who is the Policy and Welsh Assembly Officer for Crossroads Care.

gavel, balance scales and legal books

How legislation impacts on services for carers is becoming increasingly different across the four nations as the powers under the devolution settlement are taken up where health and social care are concerned.

Recently in Wales, we have a Carers Strategies Measure that addresses information and support for carers in statutory bodies, proceeding through the necessary stages before passing onto the statute book. This is quickly being followed by a Mental Health Measure that also has a section devoted to carers’ needs for information and advice.

Questions are still being asked on what definition of a carer should be in legislation and recognition of the roles that a carer may take can affect how services are provided to individuals.

The advocacy role is one that is increasingly needed to be played, not only by carer’s services, but by the carers themselves. Engagement and participation by service users and carers is seen by legislators as being vital to getting it right.

This is taking many forms here, as participation in policy-making develops. We have research into “how to be involved” taking place and there are any number of schemes /projects on what and how to do it. The weaving of services user /carers’ views and opinions into the planning of services and legislation is seen as adding considerable knowledge and experience to the process.

Will it be of benefit to changing people’s lives and will the impact of carers’ involvement be measured in any way? We have yet to see that outcome being demonstrated. Feeding back the impact to carers will be critical to any future participation. I get the feeling that consultation fatigue is starting to take a grip.

Real participation in policy and planning decisions and being in a position to advocate in a meaningful way from inside the tent should not be taken lightly. Giving up the opportunity should not be either.

July 19, 2010 Posted by | Health, Law, Social Care, Wales | , , , , | 2 Comments