Carers’ Centre – Bath and North East Somerset
The Carers’ Centre is a local charity supporting people who care for family and friends who need extra support day-to-day. We can offer expert advice, breaks from caring, emotional support and understanding. All of our services are free.
- 3 February 2017
- South West
- Voluntary Sector
- Local Alliances:
- Bath & North East Somerset
1. Action Plan
1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?
We support many carers of people with dementia and through this, see the difficulties and obstacles that people with dementia and their carers face on a daily basis. As an organisation, we want to be able to support them to the best of our ability and understand that this will be benefited by becoming a DAA member.
We also want to share the knowledge and expertise we have with other organisations to help make communities in Banes, and nationwide, more dementia-friendly.
Listening to carers and the people they look after is a huge part of how we work. We are able to learn so much about what is important locally for those affected by dementia through this. We learn about this from face-to-face meetings with carers, telephone conversations, activities, support groups, and focus groups. We also work with other organisations, such as the Alzheimer’s Society and healthcare professionals, to establish this.
2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?
With pressures on funding for national health services and social care organisations, and a push to support people to live well at home, there may be increasing demands on our services and supporting carers of people with dementia. This is something that the organisation as a whole, and senior management team, are very aware of and work hard to ensure that we can continue to provide this support as demand grows.
It is sometimes difficult to keep track of, and be up-to-date with all services available in a community. However, through the work of the Carers’ Support Officers in specific geographical areas and by continually listening and talking to carers, we hope to stay as up-to-date with dementia-specific information as possible.
To support carers of those with Dementia
We currently support over 4000 carers, many of whom care for someone with a Dementia diagnosis. We have a team of Carers' Support Officers (CSOs) who work across the whole of Banes. Each CSO specialises in a specific geographical area and so has a sound knowledge of local services, events and organisations within these communities as well as expertise in countywide services.
The CSOs are not only responsible for information-gathering but also for promoting Carer Friendly Communities by speaking to other organisations, services and groups about how they can support carers and the people that they look after within the community. We have one Carers' Support Officer who works specifically with carers of patients with dementia who are in hospital (RUH, Paulton and St.Martin's). The aim of this role is to work with the carer and linked services (Age UK) to ensure that the patient has a smooth discharge and that the carer feels supported in managing their caring role back at home.
As part of their role, the Carers' Support Officers provide information, advice, signposting and emotional support. They can do this over the phone, by email or even by text. They can also meet carers face-to-face at home or wherever the carer feels most comfortable. The CSOs can provide a holistic and comprehensive assessment of the carers' needs and help them to find the right support. Due to the large amount of people in Banes looking after someone with dementia, all CSOs have a sound knowledge of dementia and specific services available. Whilst our focus is the carer, their biggest worries often revolve around the wellbeing of the person they care for and so the CSOs often help advise on dementia-specific services. Many of the people with dementia would not be able to stay at home or experience the same quality of life if it wasn't for their carer. Thus, by supporting their carers, we are also supporting the person with dementia.
As an organisation, we work closely with other services, such as the Alzheimer's Society to support carers and to improve our knowledge and training. This includes professionals from the Alzheimer's Society coming to talk to us at team meetings. We have also set up a regular Dementia Café with the Alzheimer's Society for carers and the person they care for at our main office. We will carry on providing this support and continue to improve our knowledge of dementia through training and our work within the community.
- Being implemented
Dementia Friends Sessions
As part of improving our knowledge about dementia and dementia-friendly communities, we have booked a Dementia Friends training session for our December team meeting. This meeting includes all staff and so will increase awareness of dementia within the Carers’ Centre as a whole.
- Being implemented
To provide comprehensive and updated information about local services for people with Dementia and their carers
We will continue to improve how we do this in three key ways:
Through the role of the Carers’ Support Officers:
As discussed in Action 1, Carers’ Support Officers work in specific geographical locations within Banes to increase their knowledge of local support and services available to carers and the people that they care for. This information is then disseminated to colleagues and carers. This is an ongoing and fluid role due to the ever-changing support available in each community.
Through the role of the whole organisation:
All members of staff within the organisation gather and disseminate the latest and most relevant information for carers as part of their varied roles. Our Marketing and Communications Officer is responsible for helping to disseminate this information and leads on key communication tools with carers, such as a quarterly magazine and an online newsletter.
Dementia Prescription Update:
The Dementia Prescription was a small booklet with free information for carers on local dementia services. This has now lost its funding and we have produced our own document specifically for carers. We are working with the Dementia Action Alliance to produce an up-to-date list of services by combining our document with the work that they have done.