What was your response to Covid-19?
Carers support service providers, commissioners, adult social care colleagues, dementia community and intensive support teams have been meeting virtually every week to keep in contact with each other to stay in touch with carers so that there can be a quick collaborative response.
Carers support services and dementia teams have flexed their offer and moved to a more digital/remote approach to support carers such as video and telephone counselling, virtual peer support, wellbeing calls, a flexible respite offer, increasing access to an emergency planning and respite and virtual 'home' visits.
The aim was to remove any barriers and increase accessibility to allow a responsive approach to support carers at this particularly challenging time. Establishing a true partnership has opened up communication channels that has enabled a creative and quick response to local carer support needs.
What was different about this approach?
The increase in communication and accessibility to all parts of the 'system' has increased the speed at which feedback is received from carers and the speed of which information is given 'up the chain' for a town wide response. The remote/digital access has increase engagement from different groups of carers.
What is the impact and benefit for people?
Any emergency situation is being reported to the head of adult social care quickly meaning a quick response to those who need help. The remote/digital service provision has increased access to harder to reach carers such as the employed and younger adult carers and increased attendance at virtual peer/social groups for carers which has resulted in an increased offer (these are also on offer over the telephone so people without confidence/access to internet can still engage). The more flexible respite offer has given cares more confidence to use it to take proper breaks (rather than just using it to go to their own medical appointments)
Is the solution sustainable post Covid-19?
Yes, the relationships have been built and people want to continue meeting on a more regular basis, even if this is no longer weekly (recently decided to go to fortnightly but will increase back to weekly if needed). Telephone and online engagement offer can continue but there is a need to look forward to being able to return to face to face contact as well.