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Developing a carers group
  1. Dorothy Haskins,
  2. Becky Chaddock and
  3. Wendy Ashton
  1. Eden Valley Hospice, Carlisle, Cumbria


Introduction It was identified that there was a need to support carers within a multidisciplinary environment. The group enabled carers to meet and share experiences.

It is important to care for the carers.


  • To provide a structured programme for carers.

  • To impart knowledge and information to carers on a variety of topics.

  • To have a holistic approach to providing support for carers, and to incorporate all members of palliative care team to contribute to the programme.


  • Evaluated existing service for carers.

  • Visited carers group in another locality.

  • Informally interviewed carers at Day Hospice re: need and content of the programme.

  • Developed a 12 session programme over 6 weeks, meeting weekly at the Hospice.

  • Pilot included Day Hospice patient carers, and then expanded to open referral system.

  • Evaluated each session and then the entire programme.

Results Feedback from evaluation shows carers felt supported, gained motivation and benefitted from useful information.

From pilot session:-

  • 10 sessions scored 100% very satisfied

  • 1 session scored 20% least useful, 20% most useful, 60% very satisfied.

From 2 sessions:-

  • 67% were women

  • 33% were men.

Informal comments were positive. several would like an avenue to continue to meet after group has finished.


  • Results show that the need to support and provide information to carers was met

  • At the end of the programme carers reported they felt more supported and better informed

  • Established peer support continues with some carers

  • Feedback showed that it would be more beneficial to have longer sessions over an 8 week period

  • Referrals avenue to be extended to other teams and programme to be more widely publicised.

Conclusion With user involvement we have developed a support service to carers with a focus and structure. This supports and enables carers to care for themselves while caring for others.

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