Taster Sessions for Carers
A story by LifeCare (Edinburgh) Limited
Taster sessions are provided for new Carers to try out short breaks to see if this is something that they might find beneficial to their own health and wellbeing.
Replacement care is provided by LifeCare’s fully trained and disclosed staff so that you need not be concerned about your loved one whilst you are taking some time out to see to your own needs.
What Taster Sessions for Carers did
All funded hours (320 hours x 2) have been spent down. Existing staff delivered this registered service so no recruitment was necessary. New Carers were drawn from a wide network in the care sector. We used community networks also to make people aware of this opportunity.
Taster sessions varied greatly depending on what carers wanted to do up to a maximum of 8 hours in most cases, but it did vary greatly. These hours could be taken in one go or split across a number of weeks. Carers mostly went out of their home for the break visiting friends and family, special day trips, classes, pampering or medical appointments, or just to spend time doing the things that most mattered to them at that time.
For loved ones we assisted them to pursue activities they wanted to do and/or to enjoy a good blether, reminiscing and participating sometimes in board games, like chess, or reading for them, or getting out on a nice day to catch the sunshine and fresh air, etc.,
Mum enjoyed getting out of the house, the fresh air, going for a walk (in her wheelchair), seeing the gardens and enjoyed the park and the ducks in the pond very much indeed. She said it was very relaxing and that it brought back many happy memories of her children when they were little. Mum had a lovely day. Daughter did too.
The mother was delighted to have some time to herself to bake a few things whilst her husband was out. They enjoyed the lovely aroma of freshly bake scones and biscuits on returning home, which were enjoyed with cups of tea and a good catch up on what they had done on their outing. It was something new for the husband to talk about, he was quite animated as he told of who he had met and what they talked about and who was doing what.
The carer was so pleased that her parents had enjoyed it too and she was pleased that she had taken the leap of faith to allow herself to have a much needed break, which improved her wellbeing, reduced her stress and better supported her to sustain her caring role.
His wife very much enjoyed the company of the same staff member which allowed her to explore her own interests and build on that relationship with the same person, helping her to maintain her social skills and also demonstrating that she still had much to give people because she had been well traveled and shared much with her companion who had similar interests. They got on like a house on fire. Much valuable reminiscence took place. Very rewarding for all involved.
What LifeCare (Edinburgh) Limited has learnedSupport from Creative Breaks allowed us to attract new carers by offering free taster sessions to help carers to decide if the service was appropriate for them and/or the people they supported.
The service wasn't right for everyone for a variety of reasons. It wasn't the right time, felt too early to be doing this, parent resistant, wanted to leave it a little longer and then see, wasn't right for their loved one at this time, too intense, maybe day care would be better suited, financially not viable to continue with out assistance.
We were surprised that at the time of the project so few took up Direct Payments. Some left it to the local Council to handle everything. Feedback was that this seemed to be a long wait (even months) either way. During that delay in assessment or being placed in an available service 3 carers saw their loved ones decline and end up in a care home/nursing care.
We collaborated with VOCAL in Edinburgh to help us to reach new carers who could benefit form this service. 18 new carers came to us this way. Other carers found out about us via the internet, recommendations, and other notices and information, so we know our materials were targeted and working well. We learned that people will vote with their pockets. We felt at time like people didn't value what we did, yet we got fantastic feedback.
We also learned that some people are able and willing to pay that little extra, or to top up if on a Direct Payment, for a reliable, trusted and quality service. 100% of people using the service said that we were reliable, trusted and quality service. So, we learned that we were that.