As it is carers week from 11 to 17 June, our first Mental Health Matters article is from Helen Miles, Head of Therapies here at the Trust. Here, Helen tells us what the Trust is doing to support carers.
Did you know that one in eight people in the UK is a carer?
That’s a lot of people and for me it’s vital we recognise their contribution and to ensure they’re well supported in their role.
Over the course of the year, I’ve taken a lead role on a number of projects related to carers. It’s my job to make sure all Trust staff value the role of carers and support them as much as possible.
What I will say is that my respect and gratitude to this sometimes undervalued group of people has grown. I’ve recently experienced being a carer for a close family member and I can appreciate the hard work, stress and level of self-sacrifice they go through.
Carers Week, taking place from Monday 11 to Sunday 17 June, allows us to throw a spotlight on carers and explain what we, as Trust, are doing to support them.
An important part of my role is to work with clinicians so they are constantly talking to and listening to carers and involving them in patient care – that for me is critical. At the same time, we also need to build communities which support carers to look after their loved ones well, whilst recognising that they too are individuals - with health and wellbeing needs of their own.
At our Trust, we’re lucky that we have a plan that demonstrates our commitment to carers and this commitment comes from the very top – from the Chief Executive.
So what are we doing to ensure that the views of carers are heard? One of the ways we do this is to use embed Triangle of Care standards across the Trust, which allow us to:
- improve service delivery
- highlight good practice
- ensure consistency of carer involvement across an organisation
- build partnership working between statutory and third sector organisations
- build a carer inclusive/whole family/network approach to care.
- These standards are a response to the wishes of carers themselves, who want to be consulted more closely and valued as active partners within the care team. (See our Carers Charter).
You can read more about the Triangle of Care here
We’re also working closely with each of the local boroughs we serve - Richmond, Wandsworth, Merton, Sutton and Kingston – to ensure that carers are well signposted to all the relevant resources out there to support them, so when they need advice and help, it is easy to find.
One of the objectives in our Service User and Carer Involvement Plan (co-produced with carers) is to ensure at least 50 clinical job interviews in the Trust have a carer sitting as an equal partner on the interview panel.
Recently, a carer told me how, after one of our staff had directed her to her local borough carers centre, she was able to carry on having her husband live at home with her after she had reached a crisis point. She commented that she found the support and understanding she received there overwhelming – for me, this goes to show how a simple conversation can make a life changing difference.
Follow the link to see the resources
we provide to carers.
We’re always keen to work with more carers and if you are interested in helping us improve and develop services then please sign up to our involvement register by emailing: Involvement@swlstg.nhs.uk