Do you look after an adult who uses mental health services from the Devon Partnership NHS Trust?

Carers in Devon

Posted on: 26 August 2016

Devon County Council and the NHS are asking carers what they think excellent carers’ services would look like in Devon.

The Devon Carers Partnership (made up of Devon County Council, NEW Devon CCG and South Devon and Torbay CCG) currently commissions Devon Carers to support around 20,000 Carers in Devon, but the latest census suggests that there are around 84,000 carers living in the county.

We are thinking now about the support services that we will be tendering again for in future and are asking Carers what they think at a series of events across Devon. Carers can be all ages, but for this research the Council and the NHS are specifically interested in what adult carers of adults who use mental health services from Devon Partnership NHS Trust think about support available to them.

The numbers of Carers known to the authorities is rising, but evidently there are a lot of Carers that aren’t accessing support that’s available to them. Many Carers are not aware that they can get help with their caring role and sometimes tell us that they don’t even see themselves as being a Carer. This makes it difficult for Commissioners of Carer services to reach Carers to let them know about the support that’s available.

If you provide practical, physical and/or emotional support to someone who otherwise wouldn’t be able to manage, then we invite you to help us design future service for Carers in Devon. We want Carers to tell us about key aspects of the support they’d like, including how best to provide information and advice to them; the best way to get in touch with them; what sort of training they think they’d benefit from having; how Carers can support each other better; and what support is best to help them deal with problems when they arise.

We have spaces available two events, which are being held in:

Barnstaple on Monday 5 September, afternoon 1pm-4pm
Newton Abbot on Friday 9 September afternoon 1pm-4pm

A further event in Exeter is already full.

For more information, or to add your name to the list (and request reimbursement for replacement care and/or travel expenses) email carersstrategy-mailbox@devon.gov.uk  or calling 01392 383000 and ask for Samantha Shaw. There is also a survey for Carers to contribute their views – you can access it here http://www.healthwatchdevon.co.uk/speak-out/active-consultations/

Alan Worthington is a carer who was formerly a Carers’ Support Worker. He is one of many carers who have helped Devon County Council and Devon Partnership NHS Trust to provide better support for carers.  He is also an author of ‘The Triangle of Care’, a programme which has influenced services for carers across England. Alan said:

“Devon has had a long tradition of providing support for carers especially those whose relatives and friends have mental health difficulties. Helping to improve the mental health of a family member, relies on good assessment and treatment from NHS workers, but also social support, from carers who give encouragement, prompts and provide practical help.

“Most importantly they hold the hope that mental health will improve. Carers in turn need advice, information, encouragement and coping strategies. Opportunities to help to shape carers’ services are few and far between. The listening events will provide a chance to share your views and reshape carer support for some years ahead.”

Cllr Stuart BarkerCllr Stuart Barker, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for adult social care and health, said:

“So many carers get on with caring each day with little help and little recognition for the valuable work they’re doing. It might not seem like a job to them, but caring is hard work, physically and mentally, and while they’re busy caring for someone else, they are often neglecting their own needs.

“Devon Carers does a great job in identifying carers in the first place, and then in promoting a wide range of support that is available to them in their local communities.

“Every few years we look at whether that support is helping people enough, or whether it could be better. We ask carers what they think, and to describe what they’d see as being excellent carers services.

“These drop in events are helping us to gather people’s comments. That will help us write a specification for future contract tenders.”

If you are a carer, or if you know somebody young or old who provides unpaid care to someone else, visit the Devon Carers website (http://www.devoncarers.org.uk) to find out what support is available.

What is good? What needs attention? What would make a positive difference? Email your thoughts to carersstrategy-mailbox@devon.gov.uk or write to Samantha Shaw, Carers Strategy Team, Devon County Council, County Hall – The Annexe, Topsham Road, Exeter, EX2 4QD.

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