"ME" Time for Carers Respite Support Service
A story by Baillieston Community Care Ltd
We provided flexible respite care at home to support Carers of individuals living with dementia providing “ME” time. Cared For individuals received home support and befriending/activities.
Respite was provided to Carers new to our organisation and not currently receiving any respite services but whose caring roles are the most demanding.
What "ME" Time for Carers Respite Support Service did
We have an open referral system and have promoted our 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 we have been able to connect with families who have never had any input from services before and were really lost in terms of where to go and what to do. By using our service it has introduced them to receiving care and given them confidence to approach and engage with other services that are beneficial to them.
We advertised the service by meeting with Social Worker's from the area team, Community Health Team including CPN’s. Contacted local Carers Centres, on our website, in local paper, in a free local services booklet distributed to homes/local businesses in our catchment, in our monthly newsletter, held service user and carers meetings and poster in our reception.
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 hours and use them however they wished and in a way that would be most beneficial to them, this could be during the day, evenings or weekends. Some carers used 1.5 hours per week, others opted for 3 hours per fortnight and some would save them up and use 6 hours once a month.
In total 872 hours of care was delivered to 22 carers and their family members. Carers have been able to meet up with family members, sons, daughters for a relaxing lunch/dinner, get bills/correspondence dealt with, go shopping, meet ex work colleagues, go to hairdressers, some pampering, catch up on sleep, go to the cinema/concert.
We met with her and her husband and talked about providing some respite for her and she was reluctant as it had never worked out in the past but she asked if possible could we provide a male worker for her husband as she thought he might be more open to accepting the respite if we did it on the proviso that they were “friends” and the worker could talk to him about boxing and football. We tried this and paired her husband with a male worker and it was a great success and meant this lady was able to get out of the house on her own and get a break from her caring role and know that her husband was settled and getting on well with our support worker.
Getting the break each fortnight helped this lady in continuing with her caring role and improved her mood and feelings of resolve as she was able to see her husband make a connection with the support worker and she knew she could leave her husband knowing that he was happy and this reduce her stress levels on those days and meant she got a proper break and it allowed her to continue in this role long term.
On meeting this man we were able to offer him some respite time and we stayed with his wife at home and cared for her ensuring she was settled and had reassurances and stimulation. With us being at home with his wife the gentleman was able to go out and re start his golf games at the local club with his friends and increase his level of social interaction and reduce his feelings of isolation. He was also able to use this time to talk to his friends about his situation and seek advice and help from them which greatly improved his low mood and increased his confidence to cope with his caring role.
We were able to use the time we had with this gentleman to take him back to this club in Bridgeton and he was able to re build family connections with our support and he really enjoyed being at the club. It helped reduce his agitation and improved his mood as he looked forward to going so it helped his wife cope better with his behavior as it gave him something to focus on and something for them to talk about at home, whilst he was out at the social club it gave his wife some respite and time to herself so this really benefited both of them twofold and improved their relationship at home as well as offering him the opportunity to re-build family connections and meet new friends
What Baillieston Community Care Ltd has learnedIn delivering the project this year we have really seen a marked difference in the amount of people who, in spite of having a diagnosis of dementia and a government guarantee for post diagnostic support, were coming to us with little or no information about dementia or what to do next. We were able to use the project to help deliver some post diagnostic support and provide our carers with information and signposting about accessing services, applying for SDS and how social work services can help.
This was an unexpected challenge as we thought government intervention would have been greater however we embraced this challenge as an opportunity to help and used our network of organisations and services to provide our carers with the information they needed and it was great to be able to offer this support in conjunction with the respite.
The difference the fund had made to our organisation has been fantastic. It offered us flexibility and alternative options that we could offer to carers and their loved ones. It provided opportunities for staff to develop and enhance their knowledge and skills in caring for people with dementia and illustrated to them the struggles the unpaid carers are under and how they can help them cope with the caring role and how vital periods of respite are
We have strived to make the service more personalised this year by discussing with the carers and clients new and alternative ways in which we can use the respite to enhance the experience for both the carer and the one being cared for. In assessment stages we have really tried to identify new places and activities that staff can try with the client. We have taken time at that stage to really chat with the carers and try to help them identify what they might like to do in their periods of respite, as in the past we have found the carers reluctant to leave the house or try anything for themselves.They felt guilty or scared to do something for themselves but this time round we really put an emphasis on working with closely with them to identify options.