Time Out Project
A story by Carers of West Lothian
We provided grants directly to carers who care for an adult over 21, and who live in West Lothian to plan and pay for a short break of their choice.
What Time Out Project did
We made significant changes to the application form, taking into consideration what we had learned from the previous year. One such change was asking the carer to provide a supporting statement from a professional with their application form. In the previous year, we had asked for details of a professional who would support their application and then the Senior Administrator had to follow up each one prior to each panel meeting.
We decided that to save on admin time we would put the responsibility to provide a supporting statement on the carer. This worked very well and we will continue to do this. We also introduced a different application form for young carers which asks for details of the young carer and their guardian/parent.
One of our original panel members was unable to commit to this year so we invited a carer, who had received a grant in the previous year and had expressed an interest in being involved. The panel consisted of 2 carers, Carers of West Lothian Director (who is also a carer) and Carers of West Lothian's Senior Administrator. The panel met bi-monthly which again was a change from last year.
Carers of West Lothian staff were made aware of the funding and were encouraged to identify carers who might benefit from a short break. We carried information about short breaks in our quarterly newsletter, on our Facebook page and on our website.
An award was made and she was able to attend various events as well as a weekly group. This provided her with support, friendship and something to look forward to each week. "Things are not so dark anymore" She has more confidence to leave the person she cares for and pursue more things for herself.
The retreat focused on carers looking after themselves. Carers had a break from their caring role which allowed them time to rest and relax. Being with other carers gave them an opportunity to connect socially with others in similar situations. The carers took part in mindfulness practices, mindful movement (gentle exercise), mindful walking, mindful play and mindful crafts. In addition there was time for carers to explore the local area.
Each carer was given a retreat toolkit to take away with them which will allow them to continue to use some of the self management techniques they learned. The toolkit will also serve as a reminder, when they are home, to take time for themselves. The toolkit included a CD of guided practices, a blanket, colouring book and pencils, massage ball, resistance band, mindfulness mug, herbal tea and biscuits.
Carer comments include: "What a beautiful gift of time, laughter, fellowship and relaxation!" "What fun playing in the park, laugh and laugh. What a tonic" "Have had the best time ever. Not had a night out of the house for over a year. Many thanks"
What Carers of West Lothian has learnedThe applications for funding were more varied after carer support workers were asked to identify and encourage carers to make more innovative requests.
By including a baseline on the application form it was easier to make comparison's when evaluations were received. In the main this worked very well but in some cases it was clear the carer had not fully understood the evaluation form, the comments were very positive but their answers did not tie up. We will look at the wording on the evaluation forms for next time.