The event followed the Carers Conference and was attended by professionals representing Alzheimer's Society, BRCC, Central Bedfordshire Council, Disability Resource Centre, Learning Disability Team, ELFT and Luton & Dunstable Hospital and two carers.
Jane Moakes and Mark Fensome, Commissioners from Central Bedfordshire Council, presented the local results from two recent surveys:
- Survey of Adult Carers in England
- Carers in Bedfordshire Adult Survey
The most used services
- Equipment and adaptations e.g. handrails and beds.
- Information, advice & guidance.
- Home care / home help e.g. Age UK.
- Short breaks of 1-24 hours.
- Group support / people to talk to.
Services less used
- Emergency breaks and breaks over 24 hours.
- Personal assistants.
- Residential care (permanent).
- Day services and lunch clubs.
- Training for carers.
Comparison with other areas
- Fewer people dissatisfied with Social Services.
- Less financial difficulties.
- Able to find information and advice easier.
Room for improvement:
- Not able to spend my time doing the things that I value and enjoy.
- Do not have control over their daily lives.
- Little social contact with people and feel socially isolated.
Central Bedfordshire Council feel that these are
The things that are working well:
- Information and Advice
- Carers Groups and Networks
- Short breaks from caring
The areas for improvement:
- Helping people to access the information, advice and guidance available.
- Raise awareness of the opportunities for support.
- Training for your caring role.
- Improving social contacts both support and encouragement.
- Help to improve your sense of control and the time you have outside of your caring role.
For the round table discussions, the Commissioners asked the groups to consider
- What are the barriers to taking a longer break?
- How do you support carers wellbeing?
- What should training for carers look like?
Comments from the discussions
What are the barriers to taking a longer break?
- No one to look after the loved one.
- Difficulty in arranging respite care either in the home or out of the home.
- Carers feeling guilty about leaving loved one.
- Cost of specialist support holidays.
- Reliability of paid carers.
- Finding paid carers who can cope/manage loved one's needs.
- There is a lack of respite services - but this is a difficult issue to resolve.
How do you support carers wellbeing?
- People do not recognise themselves as carers especially certain cultural groups. It is expected and so they don’t see themselves as a carer.
- People potentially resent the term “carer” and don’t like to be called so.
- Would like professionals to help them to see this.
- Carers Pack at the L&D.
- Identification by professionals, recognising the carer and their role.
- Valuing the carer – feel special – valued.
- Does feeling valued contribute to carer wellbeing.
- Where else would it work? The Carers Pack – GP surgeries, Police, Council offices, Housing Associations.
- Carer Passport / ID card?
What should training for carers look like?
- Use of term "Training" is too formal – this might put people off.
- The word "training" has negative connotations – connected to schooling or work.
- People are more open to “information”.
- Topics to include preparing to care, dealing with practical tasks.
- Training in people’s homes – groups of carers to meet in someone’s home.
- Focus on a group of carers e.g. parents.
- Older Peoples Festival format very popular.
- CiB Festival in Biggleswade was a good start in this direction.
- Is the conference format useful? It was quickly booked and well attended.
- Good training is also fun and uplifting.
- More wellbeing opportunities.
- Inspirational talk is just as good if not better than a formal training session.
Was the Partnership interesting?
- Very interesting, learnt things I didn’t know that will come in handy.
- Useful to meet other agencies.
Did you feel able to contribute?
- Particularly in the table discussion and finding out what help you can get.
- Felt very able to contribute – environment was a listening and valuing one.
- Thank you for a very interesting day – plenty to think about.
- Very professional, speakers good. Good to be able to talk directly to professionals. (commissioners) ‘no holds barred’ and I felt I was listened to. (Carer feedback)
- Great discussions about all areas of caring. Thank you.
- Interesting and exciting for future plans on improving carers experience.
What will you feedback to your organisation?
- About the event and the particularly the introduction of the Carers Info Pack from NHS L&D and the language used, possibly needing to change the word ‘training’.
- Promotion of Carers in Bedfordshire.
- The pink pack would be useful to good neighbours' groups clients – the volunteer there could ensure their carer clients access one and the L&D Carers Lounge.