Background In our locality, a carers’ course was undertaken by an agency for years to support them to care effectively. Topics covered were; practicalities of caring; financial support; looking after yourself; the ongoing journey; and nutrition. Our hospice was approached by the care agency to work in partnership offering the same course.
To support more carers of patients with a life-limiting illness or disability
Provide opportunities for carers to meet socially and support each other facilitated by volunteers
To work in partnership with external agencies, to reach out to diverse and hard-to-reach groups
To reach carers, pre- and post- bereavement to enhance continuity of care for carers.
Approach Informal weekly carers meetings (Carers Cuppa) were established at different times and places indicated by previous evaluations. Sessions ran for two hours with volunteers and the care agency co-facilitating. Feedback was obtained from the attendees.
Outcomes Some carers developed friendship extending out of the group setting. Carers supported one another, sharing information, ideas, problems and other supportive services. There was opportunity to speak to nursing staff and somewhere private to go if things got too much. Over the year, numbers attended increased to over 200.
We also noticed a need for a group for bereaved carers, due to the number of carers experiencing the death of their cared-for person. Providing a Bereavement Cuppa allowed for smooth transition from the Carers Cuppa to the bereavement group.
Conclusion The feedback has been highly positive, identifying what the group means to carers. By utilising volunteers we have provided support at a small financial cost, but with huge benefit to carers. Due to the increased demand, we have further plans to increase the number of sessions
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