A story by Crossroads Lewis Care Attendant Scheme
We deliver Short Breaks aimed to offer 24hr care in the persons own home over a specified time as required by the carer and cared for, delivering a 24/7 care package, undertaking the role of carer. A typical break would consist of 4 days and 3 nights. Breaks could be shorter or longer if required.
What Short Breaks did
Our Short Breaks, consisted of 24/hour support, normally for 4 days and 3 nights but would be flexible to the carer and the cared for needs. Support Worker's took over normal tasks that the current carer does for their loved one, e.g. running the household, making sure the service user is cared for in a way that at least equates with what they have been used to including personal care.
Meals were also prepared. Staff supported the cared for with activities such as shopping, cooking, baking or simply going for a drive around the local area if they wished. The support workers support the cared for in their own home and so they are more comfortable and any upset in routine is minimised. This is also reassuring for the carer and enables a more relaxed short break.
Those who benefited from the Short Breaks were firstly identified through our current client list. They received an information letter about the Short Breaks and a booking form if they wished to benefit. We also offered our Short Breaks to those who were not currently on our records. Beneficiaries were identified through Social Media pages and we also advertised to our local Community Care Forum and local Social Work team.
In helping to make this project a success, we ensured staff were informed about the Short Breaks and what was involved. With each individual Short Break carried out, meetings were held with the staff involved to ensure all relevant information was passed on, what was expected during the time of the short break and the needs of the cared for.
All Short Breaks differed from one another because we personalised our breaks by including the carers and the cared for in the planning and decision making of each break. We added value by identifying a gap in home respite services through our local authority, supporting those who were most in need or carer respite. This year, we found that some carers requested shorter breaks consisting of 1 day and 1 night or shorter day hours. This was a successful highlight as it still benefited the carer as it allowed the carer to have some time out from their caring role in the short term if circumstances were particularly difficult.
What Crossroads Lewis Care Attendant Scheme has learned
It was learnt that the usual 3 nights/4 days did not suit everyone and those who opted for shorter breaks, benefited from the break just as much as those who had shorter breaks and this was evident from our evaluation and from speaking with service users/carers.
How Crossroads Lewis Care Attendant Scheme has benefitted from the funding
Over the duration of the Short Breaks, we have been able to build on the relationships with professionals who we work closely with in our normal running of our service such as Social Work and Third Sector Organisations. We are the only service in the local area that is able to provide regular respite at home currently and Short Breaks are an addition to our services welcomed by professionals and carers at a time when residential respite is difficult to access. Over the duration of our project, we would often receive calls from carers requesting a short break who had not been in touch with our service previously and this was seen as a success to us as we were able to reach new individuals. We feel this was down to sharing on our social media pages and in spreading the word in the community.
Carers are more relaxed and that their own mental and physical heath is improved. Carers will feel valued and better equipped to continue in their caring role. Taking a break will remind them that there is life outside their caring role and that taking a break can have important health benefits.
Our target in achieving this outcome was to deliver 24/7 care support, enabling carers to take a much needed break. We also hoped the cared for would receive the same ongoing care, allowing them to remain at home whiles their carers take a break. This project outcome was achieved by measured success by issuing a questionnaire following each break, having dialogue with service users and feedback from our support worker team.
A carer who was caring for her mum at home and working fulltime got in touch to request support to allow her to travel to the mainland for 4 days to attend a wedding of a close family member. This was hugely important to the carer. We were able to support the cared for person 24hrs a day over 4 days and 3 nights round the clock. Support Worker's were scheduled in for slot times and took over the care and support from one another. The carer was also able to video call the cared for person with the help of the support worker to allow the cared for person to watch part of the wedding ceremony. The support worker reported how hugely rewarding this was and a privilege to be part of. The carer returned home feeling refreshed and happy to have been able to spend time with family in the knowledge that her mum was being cared for the whole duration.
The Short Breaks allow carers to relieve stress and worry they may feel with the ongoing caring role. They may have little support around them prior to short breaks. The carer will feel refreshed and valued as a carer and this will increase their confidence in their caring role.
Enabling the cared for person to remain in their own home for as long as possible so long as the carer feels they can continue the care and continuing with any routines in place. Our target in achieving this outcome was to deliver 24/7 care support, enabling carers to take a much needed break. We also hoped the cared for would receive the same ongoing care, allowing them to remain at home whiles their carers take a break.
A daughter of a carer (wife of cared for person) approached the service to request a short break for 2 nights and 3 days. This was to surprise her mum with a few nights in a self-catering cottage in an idyllic spot in a nearby town to give her a break from her caring role. Our service stayed with the cared for gentleman for the duration of the short break, 24hrs a day. The carer and daughter came back home feeling refreshed and rested, enabling them to continue in the caring role without exhaustion.