Carers Wellcheck - Worcestershire County Council
Worcestershire County Councils Health and Social Care Access Service (WHASCAS) and Carers Action Worcestershire (CAW) have improved the pathway for Worcestershire carers who contact the Council for advice and information. CAW is a local, carer-focused voluntary organisation who provide an Information and Advice service for carers on behalf of Worcestershire County Council. They now carry out a 'Carers Wellcheck' prior to the statutory Carers Assessment for all carers who contact the Council through WHASCAS. This is carried out as soon as possible after the carer contacts WHASCAS and usually within 48 hours.
The Carers Wellcheck is a telephone conversation that between the carer and a Carer Contact Officer at CAW to establish what is important to the carer at that moment in time and to take some short information about the caring role they have. Together, the carer and the contact officer can then look at what resources, strengths and networks are available at a non-statutory level to support them. In addition, the call gives the carer the time to talk and a response when they need it. All the information is recorded on a Carers Wellcheck word document.
An internet based 'Sharepoint' site allows the referrals to go automatically between the Councils Access Team and CAW. Dual security identification is required, making the information sharing as secure as is required. It is a fully automated service.
Information collected by CAW is also shared using the Sharepoint with the community health and social work teams if the carer's referral continues for a statutory Carers Assessment.
Who is the service for?
All Worcestershire Carers who contact Worcestershire County Councils Access to Social Care Team which is the first point of contact for all social care referrals.
- The opportunity to access universal services at an early point in time, such as information and advice, practical sessions to aid the caring role, regular telephone carer support and a single point of contact for any queries (including a 24 hour support telephone number)
- Reduction in the amount of any duplication of information taken
- A more timely and appropriate response from area teams
- Carers feeling valued and listened to at a time when it is needed
- Reduce the amount of inappropriate referrals that go through to the community health and social work teams.
Why is the service being developed?
Evidence showed that some individuals may request a Carers' Assessment without really knowing what it is and what the outcomes can be. Some Carers', regardless of eligibility, look for information or telephone support that can be provided by voluntary organisations.
An automatic 'opt out' rather than 'opt in' referral process was recognised as a need to support those who carers who contact WHASCAS but do not go through for a Carers Assessment. These carers could potentially remained unsupported and 'hidden' if signposted elsewhere rather than automatically referred.
Were people who use services and carers and other key stakeholders involved in setting up this service?
Worcestershire County Council Carers Unit, Worcestershire County Councils Health and Social Care Access Service and Carers Action Worcestershire were the main consultative stakeholders. A small group of carers were consulted.
Has the service met the intended outcomes?
Yes. It has reduced referrals to the community health and social work teams by 25%. 292 carers have been referred to CAW and received a Carers Wellcheck. Partnership working has increased between CAW and social work teams so a more holistic and joined up working approach has resulted as a consequence of the Carers Wellcheck.
Do you have information on costs or savings?
A saving of social work time by reducing the referrals to community teams by 25%. No extra costs were incurred.
What were the learning points in setting up this service?
There were some initial stumbling blocks with safely sharing information outside the County Council in such a way that didn't increase each organisations workload.
Kate Higgins, Carer Development Officer
Worcestershire County Council
Telephone 01905 822609