In practice, what really matters in terms of support is the effectiveness of improvements relating to the everyday lives of the recipients of care and their caregivers. As for current provision, in many respects there are failures to deliver core aspects of good services and facilities. A comprehensive implementation of the five inter-related recommendations, very briefly noted below, would go a long way towards bringing about significant progress and satisfaction in this regard.
1. Better procedures for distributing information. Caregivers frequently become aware of vital practices, training opportunities or facts by accident or serendipity. How much better it would be if relevant details were conveyed in a more orderly manner and at a much earlier stage. Steps to ensure that they always receive timely and easily understood reports and updates – on topics such as rights, benefits, social services, legal issues and medication – would be most welcome. Of course, at all stages of planning and implementation, attention would need to be given to matters regarding confidentiality and the right of access to data.
2. A nominated key support professional. It is not surprising that caregivers often experience doubts and concerns about their abilities to undertake chores and assignments competently. In all cases, the appointment of an accountable, designated specialist should be completed as early as practical – if possible, at the same time as an assessment or diagnosis is made concerning the person for whom they are caring. There also ought to be arrangements in place to regularly review and evaluate how well this partnership is working.
3. Collaborative involvement in the planning of personal and social support. Well-designed outlines of future goals contribute towards ensuring that there is thoughtful and effective assistance in place for those requiring personal and/or social care. This is particularly critical when, as commonly occurs, a variety of specialists, agency staff and volunteers are involved in the overall process.
4. Improved access to training opportunities. Recognition and acceptance of the needs of carers are pointless unless followed up with meaningful responses which result in real improvements. There is a strong case for an on-going expansion of training prospects for caregivers to match the stipulations itemised within personalised support plans and statements. Flexible arrangements and judicious scheduling are required to ensure that they benefit fully from these occasions.
5. An extension of support services. The requirement to extend services is closely related to training opportunities. However, it so important that it is worthy of a separate recommendation in its own right. The determination and resilience of carers to endure in difficult circumstances are likely to depend on a range of complex factors. These include social relationships, healthy lifestyles, backing from volunteers and connections with external organisations. At present, depending on locality, there are constructive inputs through provision such as authority-funded link personnel, carers’ cafes and friendship groups. These enable shared issues to be discussed and possible solutions examined. Nonetheless, there is substantial scope for the development of bespoke packages in a wide variety of areas, for example, in matters relating to physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Reference: For a detailed discussion on improvements required, please see the more in-depth article entitled “How can Support for Caregivers be Improved?” https://improvingcareand.education/2021/03/08/supporting-caregivers/