Background Following a dissertation that was undertaken, research showed the biggest increase of carers over the last decade was with carers providing more complex end-of-life care (Carers UK, 2012). This led to recognising that the needs of carers were not being completely met by the service.
A project group was formed and six sessions were planned focusing on safe care, financial issues, equipment, difficult conversations, coping with dying, illness and the family, stress and anxiety, nutrition, heart failure, respiratory issues, skin care, and medication/managing symptoms.
Aim We aim to provide sessions supporting carers in their role, giving professional and topical information to empower them. Enabling them to maintain their relative at home, (Hinton, 1994, cited in Mcllfatrick, 2007) whilst gaining each others support so recognising they are not alone. Complementary therapy taster sessions were available for each visit.
Methods Carers were identified in a number of ways. To encourage positive dynamics group size was kept between eight – 10 people. Sessions ran over six weeks, supported by two volunteers and the facilitators. These were generally employees so were cost neutral. Leaflets were sourced on a variety of topics relevant to carers.
Results The pilot programme was undertaken with very positive feedback from carers and staff involved. The sessions were scored on a scale of 0–10. Average scores ranged between 8.2–9.5. This allowed sharing of information, peer support and awareness of the different support services available to them.
Conclusion Following the pilot session, the second course was planned having made adjustments based on the feedback received from carers. Equally this session evaluated positively and we now run the course twice a year. The first carers’ group still met informally and have attendees of future sessions join them.
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