Caring for Carers makes good sense
For Agencia, supporting carers is a “no brainer”, and a central part of what we do.
We get involved in lots of work with organisations that provide health and social care, such as residential homes and community health services and are regularly asked to find out what carers think about plans for changing the way services are delivered. We always regard carer and user views as our starting point.
We see our job as making sure that the needs of carers are central to any plan. We believe this is vital, because the majority of care is in fact given by friends and family, supported by the care professionals, and not the other way round. Carers have their own issues which need to be fully taken into account. If they’re not looked after, the professionals will have to become more heavily involved, stretching their often thin resources even further.
Sometimes Agencia is brought in to help organisations restore good communications, which can break down over sensitive issues such as proposals to change much-loved services. As one community leader recognised:
Councillor John Taylor, leader of Staffordshire County Council, believes the council’s collaboration with Agencia produced real consultation, allowing trust to be rebuilt between the authority and the public.
He says: “We have always said that this was a true consultation. We’ve not only consulted with those with the loudest voices, but with every service user and their families. The consultation process resulted in the retention of 6 of our care homes, something which was not in our original plans.”
Mike Robson, Agencia’s Sector Advisor for health and social care says:
“We address the needs of carers, often very powerfully expressed, by designing services focussed around individual and family needs. We work with the people providing professional care to design practical plans which will support carers to look after their loved ones whilst reducing the stress they can often feel in doing so. We want to ensure that carers are able to care, and not suffer themselves because of their concerns for the people they look after. In the end, it’s in everyone’s interests to do this, because just about all of us will at some time or another be a carer or be in need of care. We owe it to everyone to get it right.”
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