Carers

What is a carer?

A carer is an individual who provides unpaid help and support on a regular basis to a partner, family member or friend. The help they provide can be practical help, physical care or emotional support to a person that requires help.

Some people may not consider themselves to be carers, however they are performing a caring role. For example, parents caring for children with additional needs, children and young people caring for other family members.

This organisation values carers as “expert partners in care” and aims to ensure carers get the support they need.

Triangle of Care

The ‘Triangle of Care’ is an approach that establishes a working collaboration, or “therapeutic alliance”, between the mental health service user, the professionals and the carer, that promotes safety, supports recovery and sustains well-being.

Livewell Southwest became member of the Triangle Care scheme in June 2016. Over a the following 2 years we will be implementing the Triangle of Care throughout our mental health services in order to ensure that all our staff recognise the importance of involving carers.

The Triangle of Care was initially developed to improve mental health acute services by adopting six principles. It is widely accepted that these key principles can be applied to all service areas and Livewell Southwest will be looking to spread this good practice in all or our services.

What are the standards?

  • Carers and the essential role they play should be identified at first contact with services or as soon as possible thereafter.
  • Staff should be aware of carers and trained to engage with carers more effectively.
  • Policies and protocols should be in place to ensure confidentiality and improve information sharing with carers.
  • Defined roles (Carer link workers), responsible for carers should be in place.
  • Carers should be “introduced” to the service and provided with a range of information.
  • A range of carer support services should be available to offer or signpost carers to.

What can I expect?

Although the very first contact with services may mean that carers are focused on the wellbeing of the person they care for and not on their own needs, professionals should be aware that this could be the most important point where recognition and support can have the greatest benefit. If this is not possible at that time, professionals should identify you and your role as a carer as soon as it is best to do so.

You should expect professionals to be aware of the demands and pressures carers often experience, and know that there is a carer link worker in most wards and teams promoting carer issues and working to achieve greater collaboration with carers and families.

We recognise that carers often hold information that would improve a service user’s treatment and care plan; likewise, carers would also welcome appropriate information to ensure they are able to undertake their caring role. Livewell Southwest is working towards ensuring service user and carer confidentiality, while adopting safe practices, such as advance statement of wishes, that will improve greater information sharing with carers and families.

A practical guide to healthy caring