Posted by Bobbie Walkem-Smith at 06/06/2014 12:44:44
As part of Carers’ Week (9-16 June), NHS Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Kent County Council (KCC) are trying to raise awareness of the support available for carers in Kent.
KCC and the CCG have invested in new carer assessment and support services, as well as short break services because it is critical that carers look after their own wellbeing.
KCC has also launched a new booklet to help people who care for loved ones. It includes useful contacts and information on assessment, health checks, employment rights and financial and legal advice.
In Kent, more than 150,000 people care for relatives or friends. A carer is anyone who is looking after and supporting someone, a relative, friend, or neighbour in an unpaid capacity. Many people do not recognise the role they play and do not realise that help and support is available to them as a carer.
Support on offer in Kent includes:
• Free Caring with Confidence courses. The course aims to help carers identify their strengths, look after their own health and wellbeing, develop coping strategies and share ideas with other carers.
• Health checks.
• Something for Me payments which allows a carer to pay for something which would make their life easier.
• Short Breaks which offer respite care for the person who is being cared for, whether to go on holiday, or just to take a break from caring.
Dr Amanda Scarlett, NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG clinical lead for carers support, said: “Many carers just think they are doing their duty as a husband or wife, or just giving a helping hand to a friend. It’s important that people recognise the invaluable role they play in supporting the lives of others.
“In some cases the role of a carer can lead to isolation and depression. I’d urge carers to make their GP aware of their caring role and to seek support if they are finding it difficult to cope. There is a wealth of help and support available to people in Kent.”
Graham Gibbens, KCC Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: “When you are caring for someone else it can be easy to ignore your own needs, which can lead to ill-health and even carer breakdown. It is really important for carers to find ways to have a life of their own alongside their caring role. We understand how hard this can seem which is why we have invested in more support services and short breaks to help carers achieve a better balance.”
KCC and CCGs in Kent have increased their investment in carer support services by more than £1million from £2,809,293 in 2012/3 to £3,947,018 in 2014/5. Four voluntary organisations – Carers First, Maidstone and Malling Carers Project, Carers Support Ashford and Carers Support Canterbury, Thanet and Dover – have been commissioned to deliver the services.
Carers can get a copy of the new booklet from local public access points such as their GP surgery, Gateway, or library and can find out more about the services available to carers at www.kent.gov.uk/carers.