Our hospices were jointly commissioned by Staffordshire County Council to pilot an end of life carer’s service in Staffordshire.
A key objective of the pilot was to engage with carers to identify and understand the ways in which they wished to be supported. The work formed part of a wider ongoing review of the needs and views of carers in Staffordshire and linked closely with Healthwatch Staffordshire’s carer consultation.
A Carers Coordinator was appointed at each hospice and volunteers recruited to deliver the pilot. A needs analysis was produced using a multi-methodological approach to consultation with carers. Carer’s views were gained through analysis of CSNAT (Carers Support Needs Assessment Tool), questionnaires, focus groups and case studies. A steering group of current and former end of life carers was convened, who used the needs analysis to coproduce and design services that could be piloted to meet the needs identified in the analysis. They determined that an information and advice service and carers volunteer support service should be piloted and this is the service we have and continue to develop. The initial funding only allowed for provision of three months of the carers' service before commencement of an exit strategy, however, owing to the success of the service we have secured a further six months of funding and are in the process of bidding for ongoing funding for the service for the next five years. The carers volunteers are called ‘Buddies’ and provide emotional and practical support to help end of life carers cope with demands and difficulties they may face.
The pilot project has demonstrated innovative and collaborative working between the hospices and with other partner agencies and with end of life carers themselves who have co-produced and designed the services they wanted to support them.
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