When the Carers (Scotland) Act comes into operation in April 2018, East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership (ELH&SCP) will have a duty of care to support carers and powers to help all carers.
How will they use it and how can we make sure it makes the lives better for carers and the people we love and support?
To develop a plan for the new Carers Strategy, East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership is asking Carers what we think. The conversation started with a Carers Strategy Breakfast on 26th June. Councillor Fiona O’Donnell, Vice Chair of the Integrated Joint Board welcomed us and said we need to invest in family and friends as much as care services. The event was well attended by carers of all different types as well as a range of health and social care staff, council, voluntary and community groups.
It was a really interesting session, in particular being able to hear what Carers had to say. We talked about the importance of understanding what it’s really like to be a carer – how we often don’t call ourselves carers until caring for someone has had a major impact on our lives in many different ways; and how the emotional side of caring is often ignored. We talked about the importance of quality services for the people we care for – poor quality care services create massive stress and problems for us. We also talked about a little bit of help early on made all the difference and the need for more help at transitions. Our research in East Lothian showed that life is really like for carers for people with dementia.
Many of us know from experience that a little bit of help early on can make all the difference in avoiding a major crisis. Preventative support is an important part of the new Carers Act and includes our ability to access everyday services like education, transport and leisure easily. We need to be able to access information, advice and support as we need it and in a way that works for us, not everyone is on a computer. We all want to keep on with as normal a life as possible for as long as possible. We’re great at adapting, we just need people to be flexible and a bit of extra help at times. One thing that is often missed is the importance of being able to get support from one another. The Dunbar Dementia Carers Support Group and Carers of East Lothian Support Groups provide valuable support to carers in many different ways. And also that caring affects a wide circle in families and communities. The impact on children, wider families and neighbours are often invisible but they are really important in making things work. We need a community approach.
The Act gives Carers rights. From April 2018l, it will be the right of every adult carer to have an Adult Carer Support Plan, to help our health and well being – as defined by us (there are different arrangements for Young Carers). These look at our needs for help and support holistically, not just on a crisis basis. Anyone can have an Adult Carer Support Plan, but not everyone with a Plan is eligible for and so not all carers have a right to support. The ELH&SCP will determine if we are eligible for support using the Support Plan and has to develop criteria to make this decision. If the carer is eligible for support, the next decision is how much support they are entitled to and then how this is to be managed.
Each Partnership will determine which carers have a right to support using 3 areas if information:
- The impact of caring on people’s lives – how much support do we need and what are the risks to us and the people we care for and support of not getting support
- At what point do people qualify for help and support from the H&SCP? What is the threshold for being able to access services? Should it only be for people in critical need or preventative or a mix?
- What type and level of services are required to provide this support?
Impact can be on health, emotional well-being, finances, work, relationships and training. But it is also acknowledged that there will be times when support is required by people who don’t meet the criteria and we need to think about that too.
So, the conversation has started! We want to make sure that carers supporting people with dementia in East Lothian can have there say, so keep an eye out for what happens next and make sure you get your views heard!
ABOUT THE CARERS (SCOTLAND) ACT 2016
The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 comes into effect on 1 April 2018. The Act aims to support carers’ health and wellbeing. It says that local authorities/ Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCPs) must:
- provide support to carers. This support must be based on identifiedneeds that meet the local eligibility criteria
- take account of national regulations when setting local eligibilitycriteria. However, guidance on this has not been produced by theScottish Government so far
- use a specific Adult Care Support Plan (ASCP) and Young CarerStatement (YCS) to identify carers’ needs and personal outcomes
- have their own information and advice service for carers that mustprovide information and advice on a range of matters including:
- emergency and future care planning
- income maximisation
- carers’ rights.
KEY THEMES UNDERPINNING THE CARERS (SCOTLAND) ACT 2016 AS THEY APPLY TO East Lothian
- CARER IDENTIFICATION
- Our strategy must show how we plan to identify carers and ensure that, where carers don’t currently have any needs, we know to follow them up later.
- When a patient is being discharged from hospital , NHS Lothian must identify that who is looking after the cared-for person (i.e., their carer).
- For young carers, a named person should be well placed to identify children and young people with caring responsibilities and ensure there is a young carer’s statement or child’s plan.
- Adult carer support plans and young carers statements should be non-stigmatising.
- EARLY INTERVENTION
Now people who intend to provide care should be identified so that there is provision for them to have an ASCP or YCS (for example, when a relative is moving to another area to care for a relative.
- All carers should be able to have an ACSP or YCS.
- Our Eligibility Criteria must take into account over-arching matters, for example,prevention, early intervention, to prevent carers’ needs from escalating.
- Our strategy must set out an assessment of the extent to which plans for supportingcarers may reduce any impact of caring on their health and wellbeing
4. CONSISTENCY OF APPROACH
Our definition of who is a carer remains consistent (that is, not dependent on the number of hours the carer supplies, commitment or type of carer).
- We must review ACSPs and YCSs in a consistent way.
- Our local Eligibility Criteria must meet what has been set out in the regulations andtake a preventative approach.
- Carer involvement is pre-requisite and essential.
- Our Carer’s Strategy must be delivered within a set timetable, for example, the
- Eligibility Criteria must be published by 1 October 2017 and the East Lothian Carers’
- Strategy by 1 April 2018.
- We must provide local information and advice on the issues set out in the act , for
- example, on income maximisation, advocacy, bereavement support, emergency and future care planning.
- We must prepare ACSP and YCS so that they encourage equal opportunities and observance of equal opportunity requirements.
- When we are identify personal outcomes and needs for support we must consider the impact on carers as potentially having one or more protected characteristics (that is, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation).
- We must identify information and advice that is likely to be of particular relevance for carers who have one or more protected characteristics.
CARER INVOLVEMENT & ENGAGEMENT
We must ensure that carers are involved in:
- developing and defining the Eligibility Criteria
- carer service provision
- hospital discharge of the cared-for person
- (as much as they want to be ) the preparation of the ACSP/YCS and the amount of supportreceived
- preparing the East Lothian Carers’ Strategy.We must take into account the views of the carer (so far as is reasonable and practicable) when determining the needs for the cared-for-person being assessed and deciding what services to provide and how to improve them.