Carers need to be recognised as carers – by themselves and by professionals. They need timely access to advice, information and assistance before they reach a crisis, and they need support to have a life beyond caring.
These are the main themes of a new series of practice examples – launched as part of Carers Week (11 to 17 June 2018) – that aim to stimulate discussion about the models of support available to carers.
The practice examples also support the recent report, 'Preventative support for adults carers in Wales: rapid review', which looks at effective ways to support the 370,000 carers who care for other adults in Wales.
Carers who support family members or friends are a crucial part of the heath and care system, and they have a legal right to an assessment and support plan for themselves. But more needs to be done to make sure they receive effective and timely support to reduce or prevent the likelihood of carer crisis and breakdown.
Gerry Evans, our director of regulation and intelligence who commissioned the practice examples and the report by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), said:
“Caring is more than a health and social care issue, and to develop caring communities, carers’ rights need to be embedded within broader health, social and employment policies. These practice examples and review by SCIE will help inform our improvement planning over the next five years.”
The practice examples include:
- Carers Support Service – Caerphilly County Borough Council: the introduction of a carer coordinator has significantly increased the support provided, including advice and information, events, support with carers’ assessments, and a carers’ “emergency card”. The assessment remains focused on identifying potential solutions rather than simply listing problems. This approach has seen many benefits to carers, including carers being supported to access small breaks, education opportunities, and support to carers to meet their own personal outcomes and continue in their caring role.
- Support for carers with mental health in Wales – Hafal: Hafal provides a range of support to people with a serious mental illness and their carers and families. Services include advice and advocacy, family support, carers’ breaks, and carers’ groups to enable mutual support. As part of their work to support carers of people with mental health issues, Hafal has developed a “Ten Point Plan” outlining positive steps that carers can take to look after themselves, as well as the person they care for. Hafal helps carers access their entitled Carer’s Allowance.