Haven Breaks @ Home Phase 2
A story by The Haven Caring Counselling Communication Centre
We continued to deliver Haven Breaks @ Home project supporting carers and cared for individuals affected by life limiting illness to accesses short breaks that are meaningful to them from within their own homes through the provision of Wellbeing Toolkit resources and online wellbeing support services.
What Haven Breaks @ Home Phase 2 did
The Haven Breaks @ Home project has contributed to supporting a total of individuals 226 (142 carers and 84 cared for individuals) affected by life limiting illness to improve their emotional and mental wellbeing and access short breaks. Support has been delivered via digital 1:1 and group support sessions and through the provision of Wellbeing Toolkit resources sent directly to clients. As such support and breaks have been accessed by clients from within their own homes.
It has continued to be critically important for this very vulnerable client group to be able to access breaks and support from within their own homes as many remain anxious about participating in in person activities as a result of the covid pandemic.
Those supported through this project have been able to access breaks individually through directly delivered wellbeing support services (1:1 relaxation, mindfulness sessions and participation in group yoga sessions, group craft activities and group mindfulness sessions) and through utilising therapeutic and creative resources provided within Wellbeing Toolkits which have been personalised to their individual needs to support engagement in Haven wellbeing activities, empower self-management coping and facilitate time to 'switch off'. Clients have also been able to access breaks together through shared use of toolkit resources and by both attending the craft group activity session.
A core element of Haven work is our share and learn events with partner organisation which create opportunities for us to share our learning on successful approaches to supporting clients' needs and to learn from others to help inform service developments. As our toolkits have been so successful in supporting our clients these have been a key element highlighted at sessions.
We have received great interest from other organisations who wish to learn more about our toolkit approach and have requested additional information and support for them to introduce similar services for their client group. This positive endorsement from health and social care and community colleagues further highlights how successful this project is.
What The Haven Caring Counselling Communication Centre has learned
We know that services which are co-produced with client in line with their individual needs are of greater benefit than services which are not. There are two key pieces of learning from this project which have helped us to ensure that we are most effectively co-producing services with clients for the greatest benefit.
A key piece of learning from this project delivery is how beneficial having a dedicated Practitioner providing continuous support to clients is. This continuity helps to build trusted relationships between clients and practitioners which facilitates comfortability of clients to share information. Our Haven Practitioners can then really get to know the clients, understand their specific challenges and remember all information given to them which is then used to inform how programmes of care are shaped.
For example, in a previous support session one carer had mentioned in passing that her Gran (cared for) has lost her sight and can now no longer play with her grandchildren. This information was retained and later used to inform the contents of a wellbeing toolkit provided (see case study).
Additionally, our knowledge and experience gained from supporting carers and cared for induvial through therapeutic and creative resources has enabled us to build a 'bank' of ideas and resources which others have previously found beneficial.
We have found that having this 'bank' allows Practitioners to help clients think and identify what may be beneficial to them by sharing ideas and making prompts based on our knowledge of their specific circumstances and our previous experience. For some clients they can be so overwhelmed by everything that is going on for them that it can be difficult to know what may be useful to support them.
Throughout the delivery of this project over the last year we have further enhanced our learning about the best and most efficient way to deliver our toolkits element and have refined our admin and processing systems. Previously a large amount of time could be spent at the Post Office when sending toolkits to clients waiting for each parcels details to be input, processes and charged. We have since began using the drop and go services offered which allows us to complete parcel manifest with each parcels sending information and then 'drop' everything at the post office form them to process and charge our account accordingly.
This has significantly reduced time spent at the post office and therefore increases our overall capacity. Additionally, after two years of very successfully delivering this project, we have now identified preferred suppliers of our core resources and have managed to negotiate best prices on bulk orders.
We have also learned through the delivery of this project and other carers support that for many carers there isn't always reports of thing getting better or circumstances/challenges improving. This is unfortunately the nature of complex caring routines and responsibilities and illness. Haven support can however help to stop situations and circumstances from progressing and getting worse. We acknowledge that for some, maintenance in itself is a positive outcome achieved.
How The Haven Caring Counselling Communication Centre has benefitted from the funding
The funding received from Creative Breaks has enabled The Haven to continue the delivery of our highly successful Wellbeing Activities programme for a second year and has enabled the continued development and refinement of these activities and resources for carers and cared for individuals. Additionally having this funding secured and the client feedback and outcomes evidence gathered throughout delivery of services has helped us to leverage additional funding to increase our capacity to provide support services and activities to carers and cared for individuals.
A minimum of 75 carers and 45 cared-for individuals will report being: more able to relax; less stressed and anxious; more confident as a result of participating in Haven Breaks @ Home activities.
119 carers and 58 patients have specific wellbeing related outcomes recorded as achieved as a result of Haven Breaks @ Home support. "It was the first time someone had listened to me from beginning to end, you did not interrupt, and you did not judge. I felt better after it. It was a relief to get it all out it made such a difference thank you." After 20 mins relaxation Session - “I feel a bit better, I could tune in and stay with it and go through the motions of it. I don’t feel anxious anymore" "I have nothing but praise for The Haven. Without their support I would have literally fallen apart, and I dread to think what may have resulted. I don’t recognise that person from 7 months ago now and I’m recovering well. Thank you for everything you have done to support my family and I."
78-year-old woman who is carer for her husband who has squamous cell carcinoma of the face. Has had major surgery over the past three years and radiotherapy treatment. In October the client did not feel herself but could not put her finger on it. She felt overwhelmed stressed, and anxious, wasn’t sleeping, lacked confidence and her mood was low. She was “just getting on with it”. Her main focus was her husband. Following the initial assessment session with The Haven Nurse, the client described the session as being immediately beneficial, “Talking to someone who I don’t know has helped me. You haven’t judged me. You have a lovely voice; it’s so calming and it’s a voice that you just what to share and to tell everything too. It’s been first time someone had listened to me from beginning to end. You did not interrupt, and you did not judge. I felt better after it. It was a relief to get it all out. It’s made such a difference, thank you”. During a follow up Nurse Support Session, the client recognised that she needed to make time for herself. A self-management well -being tool kit was sent to the client, “thank- you for my parcel I really appreciate it. The blanket is my hug blanket", and an internal referral to Haven wellbeing activates was made. During a Wellbeing Session the client was introduced to relaxation, “The relaxation over the phone was deeply relaxing. I need to be able to do this myself.” The Client states she is feeling so much better since receiving support from The Haven, “The Haven support has made such a difference! I now look after myself. I was doing so much. Now when I’m stressed, I take a wee while out. I listen to the relaxing music or relaxation CD. I wouldn’t have believed that it makes a difference, but it does. My husband has noticed it too! I do this for at least 30 minutes every day. The client has reported that she is moving through the feelings of social anxiety she had before coming to the Haven and is now planning a break away for a few days with her husband. She continues to receive occasional Nurse support as she now feels she does not need the support of the Haven as often.
A minimum of 75 carers will be able to take more breaks from their caring role as a result of the Haven Breaks @ Home project - participating in 1:1 and group wellbeing activities and through utilising resources provided within wellbeing toolkits.
A total of 142 carers participated in The Haven breaks @ home project activities (59 carers participating in wellbeing sessions such as relaxation, yoga and crafts and 140 accessing wellbeing toolkit resources) which provide opportunities for and facilitate breaks from caring. We know this outcome has been achieved based on feedback received from carers. For example: "When my mum is challenging, I just do my colouring in and switch off. I never thought colouring in would help me do that. The Haven is amazing." "The colouring in and the jigsaw helps me focus on something else and it helps calm and relax me. It gives me a break away from my caring challenges." "The toolkits are fantastic. It enables my mum and I to talk about different things. My heart sings when I see my mum achieving something for herself as everything has been taken away from her"
Client is a carer for uncle who has Dementia. The client previously looked after her mother who has Dementia and is now in a Nursing Home. When the client contacted The Haven, she was unsure how she was going to be able to manage to care for her uncle, physically and emotionally. Her Uncle lived alone and had constantly phoned her as he is looking for things to do. The number of times her uncle was contacting her was impacting her ability to get space to herself. She needed to share her experience as a carer and feel supported in her caring role. The client had a full holistic assessment with the Haven Nurse and her W.I.N (What’s Important Now) outcomes were identified. The outcomes identified were that the client needed to be able cope with her caring role, needed a break to allow her to carry out personal things which needed done and she needed to express her emotions. Her programme was co-produced, and this included a wellbeing toolkit for the client, Nurse Support sessions, Wellbeing activities and Gentle movement sessions. The client attended a 1:1 wellbeing session which focused on relaxation and allowed her to turn off for a short time and focus on herself. She described talking to the nurse during the support sessions as “making a difference to me being able to talk to someone who understands”, therefore she was provided with emotional support and space she needed. The client attended Yoga (gentle movement) sessions via zoom, and this allowed her to learn breathing exercises to use when she was anxious, and the Yoga also gave her a break from her caring role. The client’s uncle was becoming more demanding, and she discussed this with the Haven Nurse. It was decided that the Haven would provide a specific toolkit for her uncle tailored to his dementia. The aim of this was to try and give the uncle some items which would entertain him and to allow the client some space and time to herself. The items sent out in the toolkit were a Sheep Dog jigsaw specific for people with Dementia, a bird feeder, a bird book, a Rubix cube, a colouring book and colouring pencils. Following this the client reported at her next support session that her uncle was, ‘using the toolkit; jigsaw, bird feeder and bird book which stops him calling me all the time’. The toolkit provided the Haven client with time away from her caring role and it also provided activities for the client’s uncle to pass his time and stimulate him. The client reported the items in the toolkit had been a great help and she was feeling the benefit of the reduced phone calls. The client continues receives regular support from the Haven in her caring role.
A minimum of 75 carers will be better able to cope in their caring role as a result of accessing Haven Breaks @ Home activities and support which provide respite from caring and empower self-management coping skills e.g., relaxation/mindfulness which help them cope with the challenges of caring.
142 carers have access activities and resources which provide breaks from their caring role and help to develop self-management coping skills. 67 carers specifically reported they can now better self-manage challenges. 52 reported feeling better able to cope with caring and illness challenges and have improved confidence in caring. 16 carers report increased resilience. "The wellbeing journal helps me write down good and bad days and I look back to see what triggers them and what can I do differently next time. I use the breath if I feel stressed." "I never told you all how much I benefited from the relaxation session I had with [Practitioner] it was incredible and so so helpful!! I was in that relaxed state for hours afterwards. When I take a wobble I "walk to the beach" and can feel myself steady again" "Although I still have periods of anxiety; I feel more able to deal with issues and am able to relax more using some of the tools from my toolkit."
Client lives with husband and 2 children in North Lanarkshire. She is a carer for her Gran who has been diagnosed with Dementia and now lives with client & her family. Gran has poor eyesight and was struggling to engage in things. She had stopped interacting with clients' children. Client was struggling emotionally and with her caring role as she was trying to meet the needs of everyone in the house and had no time for herself. As part of the client's programme at The Haven a bespoke Toolkit with selected items was sent to the client. This contained Dementia specific Snap Cards which were large in size, large Dominoes and Snakes & Ladders which was specifically for people with Dementia. The feedback the client gave was, ‘Gran loves the Snakes and Ladders, Dominoes and Snap Cards as she is able to see them’. The client also reported her Gran,’ was playing the games with my children and interacting with them again.’ The client spoke about how this gave her a break from dealing with everyone in the house as they were happy playing and interacting with each other. She also reported that it was good, ‘for me to see them interacting and having fun together as this is helping me emotionally’. The client discussed that because the items sent were large in size her Gran could see what was on them and she watched her taking part and not sitting in her room alone not interacting. Included in the toolkit was a book for the client by Martin Stepek called ‘A pocket guide to a mindful life’. The client also participated in an online session with Martin Stepek on the topic of ‘Mindfulness’. Following the session, the client reported how helpful the session had been and it had given her a lot of areas to consider. She also reported that having the book was a great help as a self-management tool and she was able to practice mindfulness on her own through what she had learned and her little guide. This empowered the client to use these skills for herself. The client continues to be supported by The Haven but is more positive and coping better in her caring role as she is getting little breaks from her caring role.