Creative Breaks Short Breaks Fund
A story by Lanarkshire Carers Centre
We provided grants directly to carers who live in Lanarkshire.
What Creative Breaks Short Breaks Fund did
Lanarkshire Carers Centre has received Time to Live funding for six years. We continue to administer this fund and develop through our learning each year. We have updated and further developed our guidance, criteria, application and panel processes throughout this time.
An application form is completed by the carer and this can be with support from Lanarkshire Carers Centre, Social Work staff, Health staff and /or staff from other third sector organisations. The application form requires to be counter-signed by a member of staff from Lanarkshire Carers Centre as well as a supporting statement included as to the care that is provided by the carer. We have also continued with the carer support worker completing an Adult Carer Support Plan/Carer Journey in this round of funding. This ensures that carers are fully supported including other areas of their caring role and that all of their outcomes are being met by Lanarkshire Carers Centre. The panel dates are set at the end of the year and run from January to October. Two groups of panel members are in place in order to manage the time commitment for everyone involved. Panel members attend bi-monthly and whole panel review meetings take place at least once per year.
Applicants will normally be informed of the decision within seven days of the panel meeting. Arrangements are then put in place for each successful applicant to sign an Award Agreement. Once this has been returned payment is made to the carer. Lanarkshire Carers Centre promotes Time to Live fund through our website, social media platforms, newsletter and e-bulletin. There are also leaflets which promote "Services we Offer"and "Short Break Carers Information Service" which both detail information about short breaks.
At our AGM on 18th September 2017 our Annual Report was available to all on the day and our Depute Manager spoke about some of the services that we provide, and this included short breaks. We had just been informed about the 2017/2018 Time to Live Award and we informed carers, funding partners and other professionals in attendance on the day of this new award. All staff within Lanarkshire Carers Centre promotes the fund with carers and partner organisations, particularly through our Steps of Caring programme for new carers and with newly identified carers referred or self referring to the organisation.
58% of the new carers who applied for Time to Live Funding took the break on their own whilst 42% took the cared for person with them. 79% of the new carers spent the time on overnights breaks of various lengths and various destinations and 21% had a short break that did not consist of overnight stays and they included:- cinema pass, gym memberships, baking class, exercise bikes, French polishing class, a trip to the zoo, theatre, holistic therapies, meals out, horse-riding lessons and driving lessons.
A carer who cares for her husband who is clinically depressed and has psychotic episodes applied for a grant to allow her to have some time to herself. She benefited from 20 holistic therapies that allowed her to have an hour out of her caring role each week, and allowed her to relax and also help with her own physical and mental health issues that she herself suffers from.
The carer also cares for her son who has a diagnosis of Aspergers and the support that she carries out for both her husband and son take up most of her time. The carer has to prompt with medication, personal care and emotional support for both of them. She also supports her husband to attend medical appointments and there are times when her husband will not go out and she therefore has to undertake shopping trips too.
Her husband has had ongoing mental health issues for a considerable period of time, however, they have escalated over the last 3 years. These demands on the carer further increased following the deaths of both her mother and father in law, who provided emotional support to herself, as well as her husband.
There is support from Lanarkshire Community Mental Health Team who provide weekly support to the carer and fortnightly support to the cared for. The carer also attends counselling. The carer worked part time in the past, but she had to give up her employment due to both her caring role and her own mental health issues. She also struggled both without the support of her in laws and also from bereavement that they are no longer in their lives.
As mentioned, the carer used the Time to Live grant for holisitic therapies and these took place once a week for 20 weeks. The carer informed, "the ongoing breaks would give me something to look forward to and helped me relax and lift my mood. It also allowed me to take time out of my caring role. My husband was also keen that I get a break as he can see how I'm struggling and is worried about me."
The carer now has a Carer Registration Card, has attended training, has a carer support worker and has benefited from one to one support from staff at Lanarkshire Carers Centre. The carer has continued with the therapies.
A carer who cares for her adult son who has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, osteoperosis, a blood clotting disorder, has a gastric peg tube, is doubly incontinent and is a wheelchair user, applied for a Time to Live grant in order to have a short break to Blackpool when her son was in respite. The carer's son lives at home with her and she does not have any support from her family. She also cares of her disabled uncle and elderly mother.
The carer's son attends a day centre during the week and accesses respite every few months. This is normally for a weekend and is arranged by Health and Social Care Partnership. The carer plans to have a short break when her son is in respite allowing her to have some quality time to herself. The carer is exhausted and informed due to wear and tear on her own joints she has already undergone surgery on her hands and she benefited greatly from a short break, which she could not afford without the grant.
The carer said, "I really needed to get away from all the stresses at home and my caring role. I felt emotionally burnt out and felt my son and relatives were glad to see the back of me as I was no fun at the all. My own health was not good and I was in a lot of pain with my back and hands."
The carer cares for her son every day and when he goes into respite she cannot afford to take herself anywhere.
A carer who cares for her partner who has a physical disability, long term condition and mental health condition applied for a Time to Live grant to allow the couple to have an overnight at a hotel for their honeymoon. The carer's partner suffers from polycystic kidney disease, cardiomyopathy, cardioversion, atmal fibalation and anxiety & depression. The carer informed that her fiance now requires around the clock care due to a massive decline in his health. The carer is still working full time but is really struggling with this as it is becoming very stressful for her.
The carer receives support from her fiance's mum and friend but this is normally when she is at work and it is for transportation needs to and from dialysis. The couple have been together for 10 years and although her fiance's health was stable for the first few years, they have never been away together and as they are getting married the carer feels that this is as good a time as any to have a break away from home life and medical stress.
The carer advised having time to ourselves and having a break away benefited her as it helped her relax and recharge her batteries. We have not been able to do half of what young "normal couples" do due to my fiance's health needs and we felt that as we would not get a honeymoon an overnight away to mark the beginning of our marriage would be lovely for us."
The carer shares the care of her fiance with his parents as he requires an extremely high level of support due to his multiple health issues. The carer works full time and as well as caring for her fiance she is now struggling to maintain this level of activity and the stress it causes her. The carer has a heart condition and also suffers from anxiety and her intense caring role compounds these health issues.
The carer feels that she will need to stop working, not just from a practical point of view, but also in relation to her own emotional health needs. The carer support worker has discussed the benefits that would be available if she makes the decision to become a full time carer and also potential supports for her fiance to access his local community.
The carer accesses service from Lanarkshire Carers Centre including carer registration card, income maximisation clinic, short breaks, carer support and has been signposted to the benefits organisation.
What Lanarkshire Carers Centre has learnedThe success of the Time to Live funding has undoubtedly produced evidence in support of the continuation of other Lanarkshire Carers Centre time limited projects. In particular, the Short Break Carers Information Service received continuation funding as a result of the outcomes achieved and the important role they have. This role includes the promotion, development, administration and evaluation of our Time to Live fund. Our Respitality project has also been developed on the foundation of the work established by this service, in recognition of the importance of short breaks for carers and the positive outcomes this achieves for carers.
There has been areas of joint development work which mutually complements each project and further enhances the choices available to carers in Lanarkshire.
All new carers to Lanarkshire Carers Centre are invited to attend a Steps of Caring Course, this runs once a week for three weeks. The courses are free, offered locally and provide an introductory guide to accessing help and ongoing support. The training programme outcomes include increasing confidence and skills, maintaining health and wellbeing and enabling carers to continue with their caring role. The importance of Short Breaks including the Time to Live fund and how to apply is an integral part of this ongoing programme.
Time to Live funding is extremely resource intensive for Lanarkshire Carers Centre and we absorb this into our overall work in order to maximise the amount of funding available to issue in direct grants for carers.