2016 GSK IMPACT Awards: Carers in Hertfordshire
Carers are more likely to suffer from poor health. Carers in Hertfordshire trains staff in GP surgeries to identify and signpost carers to its services, which has led to referral numbers doubling last year. It advocates for carers, helps them plan their caring role, guides them through the minefield of the social care system and is developing Carers' Hubs in 16 locations across the county.
The other 2016 GSK IMPACT Award winners
- Age UK South Lakeland
- Body & Soul
- Children North East
- Falkirk and District Association of Mental Health
- London Friend
- Promoting a More Inclusive Society (PAMIS)
- The Shakespeare Hospice
I’ve been a carer for over 30 years. Sadly, I recently lost my sister, she had multiple sclerosis and I’ve got other family members with mental health problems.
I look after my son who’s 55. He relies on me for everything, he can't read, write, he doesn’t wash himself.
I think what we think is normal isn’t normal to everybody else. So the fact that we can't go out at a weekend or it can take 20 minutes for my son to get into a car, we’re very very isolated.
Literally the only people that I saw were people at the checkouts. I was a recluse actually, just caring for my family. It made by health suffer mentally and physically.
It’s harder than other people’s lives because we have to cope with the stress of home issues and school issues.
Carers have an increased health need and become more unwell more often than the general population and it’s absolutely vital that we protect and nurture them and that’s why the involvement of people like Carers in Herts is so important.
So here at Carers in Hertfordshire we’re really keen on supporting carers. All the people that are behind closed doors are caring for somebody who couldn’t manage without them. We think the carers need support too.
In 2015 we had a national survey done by Carers UK, 82% of carers were saying that it had a negative effect on their health, just their caring.
We’re up to 49 staff, incredibly lucky to have a huge army of volunteers.
Carers in Herts are essential in helping us work with carers that are in the community, helping us be challenged really on what we’re doing well and what we’re not doing well to make sure that we are providing the best support we possibly can for carers.
So Carer Champions are embedded within each individual GP practice all across the county. They’re the person raising at surgery meetings with the practice manager, with the GPs, what we’re doing for carers and because of that we’ve hundreds of extra referrals every single year.
Just being front of reception we would see somebody walk in with a patient and straight away you realise that they’re a carer and I’ll go and sit by them quietly, introduce myself, “I’m Lindsay, I'm the Carer’s Champion for Schopwick and I’m here to help”.
Carers in Hertfordshire have been fantastic in pushing us as a CCG and working with us to identify the unknown unknown carers.
So passport discounts are key to identifying people.
Carers are offered opportunity to receive discounts from a number of local businesses, enterprises, leisure facilities that recognise their role as a carer and the difficult that can have.
So we’ve spent a long time organising these different hubs in all the different areas to meet carers’ needs.
The hubs are intended to provide a local meeting place for carers where they can come and share problems and get more importantly solutions.
So we had a pilot where there was a nurse employed just to look at the health needs of carers in the context of dementia and now we have four clinicians across the county.
If a carer is finding it difficult to cope with some behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia my role is to help to ease the situation for them to continue to care.
I don’t think anyone would dispute that carers need support services and I think having an organisation like Carers in Herts in place that provides the support that carers need to carry on caring is essential.
I have been saved by Carers in Herts, they’ve been absolutely brilliant.
If it hadn’t been for Carers in Hertfordshire, I don’t know what would have happened to me. They’ve been absolutely amazing.