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Carers Partnership 2019 - Carers Voice

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The Carers Voice was the theme of the Central Bedfordshire Carers Partnership.  

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

You can read the full presentation here.

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

You can read the full presentation here.

Services used in Central Bedfordshire

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.
  • Lifeline/telecare. 
  • 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

Doing well:

  • 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. 

Round Table Discussions 

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? 

If you would like to share your thoughts on these three questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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. 

Event Feedback

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. 

Reflections 

  • 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. 
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