Short Breaks Service
A story by Dundee Carers Centre
We provided grants directly to carers who live in Dundee, to plan and pay for a short break of their choice.
What Short Breaks Service did
The brokerage approach combined with the National Carer Organisations Framework for Eligibility when assessing carers for a break is proving to be beneficial both in identifying a carers level of need and providing the solution that has the best chance of achieving the long term sustainable benefits for the carer.
We have simplified the application further by introducing a 1 page document that asks only the very basic questions about the carer and the person they care for, we then allow the brokerage process to identify the carer's needs and provide long term solutions.
We no longer have a short breaks panel, instead relying on the brokerage process to determine the content of a short break, however in the event of an extraordinary request we consult with the local authority to discuss the application further.
We continue to market the service effectively within the community visiting a range of carer's groups, community centres, hospitals, local events etc as well as promoting the service around a broad range of professional organisations.
We have recently signed up to Shared Care Scotland's Respitality project and are currently approaching a range of local organisations to promote this, as a result we have received a number of gifts which we will pass on to carers.
The Short Breaks Team awarded 4 x therapies and after receiving the treatments the Carer completed the evaluation form. The therapies had been wonderful, the Carer felt more able to continue their caring role, their sleep had improved and their pain levels had reduced. The Carer reported that finally the stress of the caring role was receding and the hour away each time, having the therapies, was improving their own mental health.
The biggest outcome was that the Carer finally realised they needed time away from the caring role and needed to plan for the future. The Carer has decided to save £10 per week and have a therapy every 6 weeks or so as a treat. This will allow them to cope better and have something nice to look forward to.
After the initial brokerage conversation, the carer identified that they would really enjoy some therapy vouchers, this would allow the carer to feel pampered, less stressed, less tired and be able to sleep better. The carer also discussed hobbies that they used to enjoy, it was agreed that the carer would look into this further within the next few weeks.
The Short Breaks teams looked at funding sources and awarded the carer with the vouchers for massages. The carer was also awarded funding to pursue their hobby. To give the carer some “me time”, it was decided that a coffee shop voucher and yearly subscription for a magazine would provide some space to re-focus on their caring role.
As part of the One Stop Shop within Dundee Carers Centre, this carer was signposted to Welfare Rights for a benefit check, Adult Support Team for 1-1 support and also referred for Counselling. The Carer has since reported that they were delighted with the service from the Short Breaks Team, feeling more valued as a Carer and overjoyed with the funding to pursue a break. The carer reported feeling more confident to look at future planning and more able to speak to the school and professionals.
During the brokerage conversations it became apparent that Fishing was one of his loves, as was hill walking. The Short Breaks Team managed to organise a few nights away at Meikleour with a fishing permit. The Carer had a wonderful weekend on his fishing trip, even the weather was lovely!
The Short Breaks Team were also able to direct him to further support within the Dundee Carers Centre and worked in conjunction with his father’s care manager to put in extra care so that he could get away for the Short Break. The Carer hadn’t realised that it would be possible to increase care for his father to enable him to get away. He may be able to benefit from this again in the future. The Carer felt that his health had improved and he was feeling more positive and more valued after having the Short Break.
During the brokerage conversations and linking this closely to the National Eligibility Framework it was identified that this carers finances were very tight and was therefore very unlikely to afford the purchase of a car and the on-going costs associated with owning a car.
The broker and the carer through conversation identified that the real problem this carer was facing was that she couldn’t leave the person she cares for unattended and as a result struggled to get any shopping in. The solution identified through brokerage was the purchase of a laptop that would allow the carer to order her shopping on line and have it delivered to her home.
R wasn’t sure what standard her driving was. MDS Driving School gave her assessment lesson as a gift through Respitality to determine how many lessons she would need. This gave her confidence to start driving again, MDS then charged a reduced fee for her lessons and 15 lessons were funded through Shared Care Scotland’s Creative Breaks . R has now passed her test and being able to drive is making a huge difference to her.
What Dundee Carers Centre has learnedA carer's break is less likely to consist of just one thing such as a few days away or a session of therapies such as a massage but is now taking a more creative look and often consisting of a variety of things such as activities and hobbies that provides the carer with a better chance of achieving long term benefits.
The service is now adopting the brokerage model when discussing a short break with carers, this is proving to be extremely beneficial in identifying the best possible break that will enable the carer to achieve their identified outcomes.
We have embarked on a range of marketing strategies to attract new carers including radio coverage, information stalls, attending local community fun days, developing a dedicated short breaks website and attending a range of professional meetings to ensure we continue to have a high profile with a broad range of potential referrers.