"ME" Time for Carers - Respite Support Service
A story by Baillieston Community Care Ltd
Flexible respite care at home to support Carers of individuals living with dementia providing “ME” time.
Cared for individuals will receive home support and befriending/activities. Respite is provided to carers whose caring roles are the most demanding and to those who are not currently receiving any respite services.
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. We are pleased that we have really 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. With regard advertising the service we met up with Social Workers from the area team to let them know, we met up with the Community Health Team including CPN’s to inform them. We contacted all the local Carers Centres, advertised on our website, advertised in the local paper. Also in a free local services booklet which is distributed to homes and local businesses in our catchment area, then sent out information in our monthly newsletter, held service user and carers meetings to let people know,and put up a poster in our reception.
We offered 6 hours per month respite care free of charge. The 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 those hours and use them however they wished and in a way that would be most beneficial to them, this could be during the day or in the evenings and at 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 1,440 hours of care were offered which benefited a total of 44 carers and their families.
Carers have been able to meet up with family members - sons, daughters for a relaxing lunch or dinner, get bills paid and correspondence dealt with, go out for shopping, meet friends, go to hairdressers, some pampering, catch up on sleep, go to the cinema/concert. Whilst providing the respite care for our carers we were also able to utilise this time to engage the person with dementia in reminiscence work, music therapy, sensory therapy, and outings to the park, shops and for coffee
We began offering Creative Breaks for 1.5 hours per week and we met with the family and it was clear they were struggling. We introduced an older support worker to Mrs M and began slowly to build up a relationship and level of trust with Mrs M. Over time Mrs M became more relaxed with our support worker and she suggested she try and give Mrs M a shower during the Creative Breaks time. This worked well and the support worker was able to give Mrs M a shower and help her become less agitated when getting personal care.
We were also able to help the family by giving them more information about dementia and how it affects individuals as it progresses, and put them in touch with other agencies and partners with experience in dementia and this helped reduce their anxiety and gave them some positive hope for the future, that they would be able to continue with their caring role.
The help and support we were able to provide through Creative Breaks almost certainly prevented a crisis situation with this family and came at just the right time to help them as up until then they had no input from any other services and had no previous experience of dementia or how to deal with it.
He told us he was just a man from the east end of Glasgow and he didn’t know what dementia was or how to cope with looking after his wife he had just struggled along on his own and the only time he went out was to get some shopping once a week and his granddaughter stayed with his wife. We offered him Creative Breaks and during this time he was able to attend a local dementia carers group for men and meet some other men in the same position as him, we gave him lots of advice and a sympathetic ear.
Meanwhile the support worker was able to stay in the house with his wife and do reminiscence and build up some social support to her whilst her husband was out and he could relax knowing she was safe.
They had no help from any other agencies and his wife had been caring for him on her own. She felt he was socially isolated and was left sitting in the house for long periods at a time with only herself for company. He was very much a man's man and was reluctant to have any help from females apart from his wife.
When we met with Mr F and his wife and offered them the Creative Breaks we discussed these issues and we were able to allocate a male worker for Mr F. The male worker and Mr F hit it off immediately as Mr F was able to talk about football and fishing and as time went on they were able to go out of the house for walks and Mr F was able to meet back up with people he knew previously in the community with the support of our worker. We were also able to arrange for Mr F to visit a local day centre with our support worker a few times with the view to Mr F attending and he really enjoyed this and is now on the waiting list for a place at day care and we will help him with the transition into this new day centre when the time comes
What Baillieston Community Care Ltd has learnedIn providing this service this year we have really been able to offer instant support and help to people in great need. It has been great to be able to meet people in need and have this kind of service to offer them straight away and relieve some of the stress and pressure they are under in their caring role and just give them enough time and space to be able to carry on and maintain that caring role.
It has given us as an organisation an added purpose and the feedback from carers such as "you have really been a lifeline to us" has only further cemented our resolve as an organisation to campaign for help and support for carers.
The service has also acted as a learning tool for new members of staff or staff who were looking to further enhance their knowledge and experience of working with people with dementia and their carers and has offered our Team Leaders the opportunity to plan and implement more personalised services
This year we also looked at alternative promotion ideas for the service in a bid to reach those carers in the community who don't have any dealing with services currently and may not know where to go. We advertised in a local free service booklet which is posted through all the doors of residents living in our catchment area and that is available in local businesses to. This has helped us reach people we may not have before with our traditional advertising.