It's National Carers Week - an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring. This week, we will be highlighting and celebrating the vital role that carers and families play in our communities.
There are 6.5 million people in the UK who are carers. They need to be recognised for the difficulties they are experiencing, respected for all they are doing, and provided with information, support and understanding. Carers have faced more challenge as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore it is really important that we recognise that contribution and help to provide the support carers need.
Langdon Hospital in Dawlish have been keeping in touch with carers during COVID-19 with a weekly email update which has been well received. One carer said: “Thank you to everyone who puts in so much effort to compiling this newsletter and for the amazing contributions made by the staff in the wonderful positive initiatives that the patients in Langdon are able to participate in to help them in their recovery.
“I live a long way off and I frequently feel very cut off from my son's life. I am just so grateful that he is being looked after in such a positive and caring environment. The normal challenges of working in mental health are great enough on their own but having to do it in such changed circumstances must impact greatly on daily life. You are doing a fantastic job. A great big thank you to everyone involved.”
Jacky Francis, Inpatient Service and Deputy Directorate Manager said: “We are excited to announce that our first online carers peer support group took place yesterday. As well as this, are pleased to be organising a message from our patients to recognise the value and support of our carers. Further to this we have a “Clap for Carers” planned on Thursday 11 June at 4pm at Langdon.”
Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) feedback
Although responding to COVID-19 has meant that visits to loved ones, particularly those who are an inpatient, have been restricted, feedback from families and carers during this time has been predominantly positive with feedback focusing on the flexibility shown to continue to include them in the care of their loved ones. This has been through the use of video and teleconferencing technology.
One person said: “It was good to be included in my son’s ward round this week through the use of technology. It made a difference to my son and to me.”
Through the PALS messaging service, families have also been able to maintain contact with their loved ones on inpatient units. One family even shared the lovely news of a new grandchild!
Bright Futures is a carer organisation for young adult carers between the ages of 18 and 24, which has worked closely with our organisation on our Carers and Families strategy and our confidentiality guidelines. Bright Futures are campaigning to raise awareness of young adult carers and to start fundraising to support the organisation.
They are a Devon-wide project that quite literally saves and transforms the lives of young adult carers. Whilst they are at an age when they should be free to chase their dreams and aspirations, they have to sacrifice them to care for a loved one. Bright Futures offers support that enables them young carers to thrive.
One young carer said of Bright Futures: "I cannot thank you enough for getting through to me and saving my life. When you first met me I was a mess, and completely lost. Just trying to get through every day, pushing everyone away because I didn't think anyone would stay long enough to help me. But you did and I can't tell you how grateful I am for EVERYTHING you have done for me. You've been my voice when I couldn't speak, protected me from other people and myself. You took me to all my appointments, held my hand while I cried. And just been there for a hug or a chat when I've needed one!”
Bright Futures is looking to raise funds to continue the work they are doing and we currently have an opportunity through Aviva to raise more funds to continue the project but we need your help. Please take five minutes to look at the funding page and watch the video that some of the young people put together to tell you what the project means to them. If you can donate it would mean a lot, but sharing the page to raise awareness for the project would also be valuable.