Thanks to Nikki for sharing this latest news from Healthwatch Isle of Wight. Ed
Healthwatch Isle of Wight have been working with Carers IW to identify and improve the support that is offered to unpaid carers on the Isle of Wight. This was a priority area chosen by the public during a prioritisation consultation.
One in nine people on the Isle of Wight are currently providing unpaid support to family or friends due to age, physical or mental illness or addiction. This means that more than 16,000 people (over 18yrs) on the Island are carers (Census 2011 figures), which will rise proportionately with the population.
Identifying the common challenges
Over recent months Healthwatch and Carers IW have met with Island carers and have identified common challenges that carers are faced with, as a result, recommendations will be sent to commissioners with the aim of improving current provision.
As a result of this work Carers IW organised and delivered the ‘think carer’ training. The training was designed and based upon the feedback received from carers and aimed to raise awareness among professionals of the immense difficulties faced by many carers on a daily basis. This could include a struggle to maintain a work/life balance and cope with the physical and emotional demands of their role.
The training also aimed to highlight the vital, yet undervalued role of the carer in supporting people with a variety of needs.
“Fantastic session, but I think many more managers and providers need to attend” – Anonymised attendee feedback.
“Best training I’ve been to for years – very thought provoking” – Anonymised attendee feedback.
The training was a great success and crucially raised awareness of unpaid carers support needs.
“The role that carers play in the local community is vital, and the recent training event provided an opportunity to highlight the contribution made by carers, as well as strengthen the support available” – Cllr Richard Priest.
Feedback from event participants
Over 50 health and care professionals attended the event which promoted the services offered by Carers IW, who can provide information, support and advocacy to adult carers.
After the event participants were asked a series of questions to ascertain the impact of the event and the following comments were received:
How has this forum theatre highlighted the needs of carers for you?
“As a professional, I have not witnessed the stress a carer has been under in the home. To witness a scene was really emotive.”
“Very well – often ignored, jump through hoops, managing multiple situations, often parents, children, grandchildren, work and their own partner.”
Will this session make a difference to the way you engage with carers? If yes how?
“Absolutely. It has made me realise what a difficult role it is and how small things going wrong can have devastating consequences.”
Did you learn anything today about the role of being a carer – if yes what
“The magnitude of what 24 hour care and responsibilities ACTUALLY mean, instead of being ‘just words said’.”
Alongside the training Healthwatch Isle of Wight launched a summary of its ‘support for unpaid’ carers report. The full report will be published in the coming months alongside the responses of the relevant commissioners.