Dementia Home Support Respite Sitting/Befriending Service
A story by Baillieston Community Care Ltd
Flexible respite care at home to support Carers of individuals living with dementia. Cared for individuals receive home support and befriending/activities. Respite is provided to carers whose caring roles are the most demanding and to those who are not currently receiving any respite services.
What Dementia Home Support Respite Sitting/Befriending Service did
We have an open referral system and have promoted our new service widely to encourage those who are not currently receiving any support to self-refer and there has been a high demand. We are pleased that 3 families from the travelling community self-referred and are benefitting from our respite/befriending service meaning we are reaching a minority group who don’t normally access services like ours.
With regards advertising the service we met up with Social Workers from the area team to let them know, we met up with the community health team including CPN’s to inform them. We contacted all the local carers centres to let them know, we advertised on our website, we sent out information in our monthly newsletter, we held service user and carers meetings to let people know. We put up a poster in our reception to let people know.
We offered 8 hours per month respite care free of charge. The respite took place in the home of the person to be cared for or in their Carers home. The sessional respite sitters provided activity based befriending respite for the cared for whilst their Carer had a break. Carers could be flexible with those hours and use them however they wished and in a way that would be most beneficial to them. Some carers used 2 hours per week, others opted for 4 hours per fortnight and some would save them up and use 8 hours once a month in order to have a full day’s respite care. In total 1,920 sessions were offered.
Carers have been able to meet up with family members - sons, daughters for a relaxing lunch or dinner; get bills paid and correspondence dealt with; get out for shopping; meet ex work colleagues; go to hairdressers; some pampering; Cared for have enjoyed activities in the home such as knitting, dominoes, baking, puzzles as well as venturing out for walks locally or going to the local Forge shopping centre with the Respite Sitter and out for coffee and cake at a local café, going out for lunch and to the library
We were also able to provide some advice and signposted them to referral for a social worker. As a result they have now gone through the self directed support process and now have a direct payment for their mum that has been used to support and care for their mother ensuring Mrs J is still able to live at home and the family to continue to have a positive relationship with their mother. The additional benefit was that the family were able to continue using our organisation to provide the care for Mrs J through the direct payment maintaining continuity and a sense of trust and understanding which caused the least amount of disruption for all involved.
During this time the support worker built up a relationship with Mr T and once he felt comfortable with her she then began to take him out to the Bridgeton area of Glasgow where he grew up and originally lived and was able to set up meetings with old friends and family members and support him to meet them and continue to build up those relationships, this resulted in his wife having some free time to relax, get her hair done, have lunch with family, catch up with friends for a coffee and get the shopping done.
Mr T also transformed during these visits, looking forward to going out and becoming happier generally as the friendships he had rebuilt were continuing even when we weren’t there and it gave Mr T and his wife something to talk about.
The support worker spent time with him in the house and allowed his wife to have a break and some time to herself which she used to have a pamper session or go to the shops in peace or coffee with a friend (co-ordinated for when disabled daughter was also receiving respite care to ensure a complete break). Over the course of the service we mentioned to Mrs G that we also ran a day centre for people with dementia and although he was younger Mr G may enjoy trying this and it would give her a longer period of respite.
We used a phased approach of introducing Mr G to the day centre environment through his 2 hours a week Creative Breaks. His support worker took him along during this time and spent time with him in the day centre introducing him to other service users and offering support and reassurance as needed. This worked well and gradually we reduced the time the support worker spent with Mr G at the day centre and he settled in well and now goes to the day centre one day a week giving his wife an extended period of respite.
What Baillieston Community Care Ltd has learnedThroughout providing the Creative Breaks service we have come across many families in desperate need of help, support and services. We have been able to offer a service free of charge which has improved the situation in the interim however we are still coming across many challenges to solving the issue.
Many families are not receiving enough help from Social Work departments or enough correct, up to date information on where to go next or what options are open to them on the next step of their journey. Creative breaks is a great service to be able to offer people however in reality it is always not enough and families need more, we receive more referrals than there are places on our service and many families are still waiting on help coming.
In the future Baillieston Community Care hope to continue and further develop our creative breaks service in line with dementia policy and practice in the belief that we can provide a vital service that truly support people when they most need it.
We have been able to use the Creative Breaks service to approach hard to reach groups and in our case have been quite successful in reaching out to the travelling community. Two of our staff members’ are from the travelling community and they have helped us build up trust in some of the local sites and through word of mouth we have so far supported 3 carers in the travelling community. If we are able to continue with the service in the future we would hope to further expand on this link and look to include other harder to reach groups in our area.
As well as the service itself we were also able to offer the carers the opportunity to join us at our already established monthly dementia carers support group in addition to signposting carers to additional contacts and providing information on subjects relating to their situations such as Self Directed Support, Maximising Benefits, Social Work Services, Dementia and Legal Affairs.