Caring Connections Haven@Home
A story by The Haven
Caring Connections Haven@Home is a successful initiative providing planned respite breaks and emotional support to carers and cared for in their own home across North and South Lanarkshire . The project supports people affected by a range of long term conditions and comorbidities who find it difficult to access support outwith the home due to complex caring routines, ill health or transport issues
What Caring Connections Haven@Home did
The Caring Connections Haven@Home team delivered 4158 respite hours of flexible, short breaks to 402 carers and cared for people across North and South Lanarkshire in the comfort of their own home. The service increased range and choice of short breaks to carers through support at home which improved emotional well being, reduced stress and sustained caring relationships for those affected by long term conditions and comorbidities including cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease and Parkinson’s.
As part of the project the Haven@Home delivery model was successfully adapted to develop the service to reach out and support a new group of 39 dementia carers.
Haven@Home delivered the following activities at home via nurse and complementary therapist with support dictated by the individual needs of each client as follows:
• 294 x 1:1 nurse consultations (minimum 1 hr) at home to assess, identify support needs, develop care plan and review support needs (support via home visits, telephone and email)
• 2079 complementary therapy sessions delivered at home to reduce stress and improve emotional well being
The service provided valuable planned respite breaks in the caring routine for both carer and their loved one to reduce carer stress and sustain caring relationships. Clients accessed free support via self-referral and information about the service was distributed to Health Professionals, Health Centres and local statutory and voluntary carers groups and through a planned outreach programme which included distribution of leaflets, information in NHS Lanarkshire staff bulletins, talks to local groups, website and newspaper articles.
The Haven@Home service was showcased in March 2014 to MSPs in The Scottish Parliament and The Haven delivered a Haven@Home workshop to highlight the benefits of the service at the Shared Care Scotland Conference in Stirling in November 2014. Clients have taken leadership roles in promoting the service through participation in a Haven@Home film supported by Shared Care Scotland
Mrs S is 72 and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and has other health problems including COPD. She lives with her husband who is her carer. When Mrs S was diagnosed with cancer she slid into a deep clinical depression.
When she first registered for Haven@Home in May 2014, she had only rarely been out of the house in the past 6 years, did not bother to get dressed and had lost her interest in life. During the Haven nurse consultation it became evident that Mrs S had not resolved the grief that she felt about having cancer and had received no support following treatment. Following consultation with nurse Mrs S started a course of complementary therapies to reduce stress and improve well being with a combination of aromatherapy massage and reflexology.
She had great benefits from this support and received regular nurse visits at home to give emotional support and encouragement. Support focused on taking small steps e.g. leaving the house to sit in the garden. After about 3 months Mrs S was able to ‘potter’ about herself in the garden. When she started to go out neighbours stopped to chat and she started to feel like she was part of her community again.
Mrs S eventually was encouraged to visit the Haven drop in centre with her friend and turned up looking well with her make up on! She had come a long way in a few short months and she credits this to the staff and support she received from the Haven@Home service.
"I felt that the stress I was under was recognised and taken seriously. It was nice to meet someone new to talk to and I was left feeling relaxed"
"I work shifts while caring for both parents and complementary therapies at home is the only time I have for just me”
The Haven nurse visited the couple’s home 1 week post discharge from hospital to find Mr M very frail but talkative and repeating stories. Mrs M was emotionally distressed, tearful and at the end of her ‘tether’. She loved her husband and wanted to look after him, but was both physically & emotionally drained. Mr M was having difficulties with all aspects of daily living and his wife had to assist in all these tasks. Mrs M was always tired as her husband was up at night and prone to wandering which worried her.
The nurse offered some small practical steps to make her life easier and gave her the time she needed to get everything off her chest. A plan of action was implemented in agreement with Mrs M and consent gained for the nurse to contact other professionals on her behalf in Social Work, occupational therapy and Alzheimer’s Scotland. The nurse arranged for a course of complementary sessions with Haven therapist to be accompanied with an @ home volunteer to provide extra support and engage with Mr M while Mrs M was able to switch off and receive the full benefits of her therapies undisturbed to reduce stress and improve emotional well being.
After several weeks of aromatherapy massage both Mr and Mrs M looked forward to the therapies. Mrs M was given advice and techniques to practice to de-stress which helped to sustain the caring relationship. The couple were encouraged by the nurse to attend a ‘football memories’ dementia club where Mr M was able to enjoy the company of other men. Mrs M also enjoyed the peer support from other carers going through a similar experiences.
As a result of Haven@Home Mrs M no longer feels so alone, is less stressed and is now more confident in asking for help with the future seeming more hopeful to her.
What The Haven has learnedCarers can also benefit from Haven@Home when therapies are provided to cared for person as carers are able to plan ahead time for themselves , switch off and have a chance to recharge batteries.
Funding enabled The Haven to trial and evaluate a successful Haven@Home pilot for dementia carers which identified potential to develop the service further to provide more in depth support to carers viz dementia massage therapy for their loved ones and new volunteer befriender roles to engage with cared for person