I recently attended a stakeholder event organised by Reading and West Berkshire Carers Hub to discuss the individual and collective responsibilities we have to help identify carers and assess their health and wellbeing needs.
Many unpaid carers do not recognise themselves as carers even though they are supporting a vulnerable person. The cared-for person may be their mother, brother, daughter …. Carers need to access to support, advice, activities, respite etc. to enable them to keep healthy and well and maintain their capacity to care.
NHS England has published a new guide An integrated approach to identifying and assessing Carer health and wellbeing which keeps the Carer at the heart, to preserve their independence, their family and social network relationships and their ability to undertake their caring role.
The event brought together carers, health providers and commissioners (hospital, CCGs), voluntary sector and carer support organisations to better understand the issues for carers and to discuss the seven principles which should underpin a joint approach (and Memorandum of Understanding) to identifying and assessing Care health and wellbeing needs:
- We will support the identification, recognition and registration of Carers in primary care – e.g. there is a need to improve registration of Carers within Primary Care
- Carers will have their support needs assessed and will receive an integrated package of support in order to maintain and/or improve their physical and mental health – e.g. the Social Prescribing service could offer a holistic approach using the Wellbeing Star
- Carers will be empowered to make choices about their caring role and access appropriate services and support for them and for the person they look after – e.g. Carers should have access to comprehensive information so they can make informed choices; how can we best provide this
- The staff of partners to this agreement will be aware of the needs of Carers and of their value to our communities e.g. Barclays Bank has a Carers Charter outlining the support available for customers and staff who are carers
- Carers will be supported by information sharing between health, social care, Carer support organisations and other partners to this agreement – e.g. information sharing between agencies to avoid Carers having to “tell their story” several times over
- Carers will be respected and listened to as expert care partners, and will be actively involved in care planning, shared decision- making and reviewing services, e.g. the Royal Berkshire Hospital has a Carers Charter “which outlines what carers can expect of us as a Trust and what the Trust expects of you”
- The support needs of Carers who are more vulnerable or at key transition points are identified early e.g. young carers, older carers, carers from minority ethnic communities
This was a good first step towards an integrated approach to identifying and assessing Carer health and wellbeing. If you would like to find out more, or be involved, please let me know by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Reading and West Berkshire Carers Hub.
Watch this short video about the integrated approach to identifying and supporting carers: