PKAVS Carers Services - Respite Therapies
A story by PKAVS
Therapies provide carers with an opportunity to relax and be pampered and enjoy the relaxing experience provided. There is also peer support from other carers who understand the ups and downs of what it means to be a carer.
What PKAVS Carers Services - Respite Therapies did
We have recruited two volunteers to assist in Perth as this is where most carers attend. New carers to the therapy sessions have said it has been very good to have carers helping out because they understand what it means to be a full time unpaid carer and they are able to relate well to those who come along.
We have seven therapists who operate across Perth and Kinross within the four locations we use.
The main way our numbers have been maintained is by word of mouth by carers passing on the benefits they have experienced from having a therapy themselves. Our carer Support Workers also mention therapies with each new referral we receive as they visit carers at home and explain the benefits to the carer of the quality time given at each therapy.
Each therapy takes place once a month in Perth, Aberfeldy, Crieff and Kinross where we offer up to 55 sessions per month. We are reaching into three rural parts of the county where the service is very much appreciated as the comment is often made that everything always happens in Perth. Each carer is given a forty five minute session which they have described as heaven on earth as they are chilled out relaxed and de-stressed as it has given them quality time for themselves and allowed their cares to melt away.
The therapy sessions provide an opportunity for peer support as the carers talk with each other and are able to be open and honest, sharing how they feel and if they are coping or not with their caring role. There is also an opportunity for staff to update carer about changes in policies that will affect them.This is done by up to date leaflets from various organisations being made available.
This is the way Yvonne describes how she felt after the Indian Head Massage she had just received. 'It was as if the therapist had magic fingers and the whole experience from the time you first sit down and are encouraged to relax and breath easily till the time the session ends is just indescribable and wonderful.'
'Having experienced the personal benefits of Reiki for myself as a carer and the impact it has had at the Carers Therapy sessions in Aberfeldy I decided to undertake a course of training and volunteer to give Reiki sessions to carers out with the normal monthly sessions as being in a rural location it is often very difficult to find time to travel out of town when you are a carer."
'Being a working mother caring for my husband with complex mental and physical problems and having two teenage children can be very stressful trying to keep all the plates spinning. I feel the quality time given during the monthly therapy sessions is my time. It recharges and re energises me and gives me a feeling of self worth.It has been time just for me my self confidence and self esteem improve greatly. The therapies enable me to face what may lie ahead with a new positive attitude.'
What PKAVS has learnedWithout the funding received from Shared Care Scotland we would have been unable to deliver this service. PKAVS as an organisation is self funding and relies on the support of organisations such as yours to enable us to expand and deliver new services for carers. The funding enabled us to establish four centres for therapies allowing us to reach out to carers in various locations. This would not have been possible without these funds.
We have built up a pool of therapists who have developed positive working relationships with the carers who come along each month. The carers very much appreciate the continuity. By offering a range of therapies we are able to tailor each therapy to one that will be of greatest benefit to the carer. By far and away our biggest challenge has been demand for therapies from existing and new carers to this organisation. Each month we have a waiting list as carers are beginning to identify for themselves the benefits a therapy can give to their physical and mental well being.
New carers are told of this service by word of mouth and at every new assessment completed by staff for a potential carer. Once a carer has tried a therapy for the first time there is a definite will to continue with these going forward. Clearly this is a positive outcome that these therapies are making a positive impact for those carers involved.
New carers are encouraged through personal contact with staff at assessment to come along and discover for themselves the support offered, the friendship provided and the benefit a therapy can provide. We have found that working with other agencies e.g; Local Authority , health professionals and other voluntary agencies that they will make referrals to our service to access this service.