Worcestershire County Council, as part of a joint nomination with South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (SWCCG) and Worcestershire Association of Carers, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Health Service Journal Awards.
Out of 1,600 applications in the carers category, only eleven have been shortlisted for the Award. The winner will be announced on 18 November.
South Worcestershire CCG (SWCCG), Worcestershire County Council (WCC) and Worcestershire Association of Carers (WAC) have a strong track record in collaborative work, having successfully delivered a range of initiatives in this field. Building on earlier success, three pilots were commissioned to enhance support for carers caring for a dependent at the end of life:
(1) The Acute Hospital End of Life Carer Support Worker, who proactively identifies and provides support for end of life carers within The Worcestershire Royal Hospital (service provided by WCC Carers Unit).
(2) The GP Carer Support Advisers, who provide a service to carers supporting a person at the end of life in the community (service provided by WAC).
(3) The Caring with Confidence Course, which aims to improve carer confidence in managing the dying patient, and improve carer health and wellbeing. This is based on the course commissioned by the Department of Health. When central funding ceased in 2010, the partners continued to fund this locally due to the positive feedback from carers.
The close working relationship between the providers has allowed the services to develop in tandem, providing tailored support to carers identified either within the hospital or the community.
Carers are transferred seamlessly between the services to ensure that their needs are reviewed and addressed when circumstances change. This is important, as carers report that this is when they feel most vulnerable.
Ongoing evaluation has demonstrated that the services consistently deliver against the aims set out at the beginning of the pilots.
The Hospital Carer Support Worker in particular has had a tremendous impact on the proportion of patients with a terminal illness who have been able to die in their preferred place of death. The latest evaluation report shows that this was achieved for 214 out of 224 patients over the last nine month evaluation period.
Both the GP Carer Support Advisers and the Hospital Carer Support Workers have demonstrated that they provide a range of interventions to carers to promote their health and wellbeing. These interventions include emotional support, instigating carers' assessments, signposting to practical courses, and arranging support for daily living (such as welfare advice, gardening services or housing and benefits issues).
The Carer Support Workers meet regularly to share knowledge and refine their referral and communication processes.
Feedback from carers and from case-studies presented by the providers through the evaluation process highlights the fundamental impact that these roles have had on the health and well-being of carers.
Rachel Fowler, Carer’s Unit Manager, said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted out of such a strong field of 1,600 submissions. We have been to London to present further information to a judging panel and will find out if we have won in November, although we feel that we have already won. We are all thrilled that all of the hard work that has gone in to making this service a success has been recognised.”
Cllr Sheila Blagg, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Adult Social Care, said: "Carers are everyday superheroes, and these carer support pilot programmes allow them to perform their vital work without jeopardising their own health and wellbeing. To be shortlisted out of 1,600 applications is a phenomenal achievement, and a testament to the carers and support workers of Worcestershire."