Carers Week 2021
It’s Carers Week, an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring. This year’s theme is all about coming together to Make Caring Visible and Valued
Not only do we support the patient at St Oswald’s Hospice, we also support families, who are caring for their loved ones. It’s often forgotten that our patients are also carers too, as well as living with their life-limiting conditions.
All our teams support carers in so many ways, across all services. Scroll below to find out how just some of our services are supporting carers.
Carole Taylor, Co-ordinator of Therapeutic Activities:
“Before Covid-19, we would hold group sessions called ‘Positive Steps’, introducing for patients and carers who had been recently diagnosed with a life-limiting condition to the Hospice. Due to current restricionts, this isn’t possible in a group setting so we’ve been offering bespoke packages for patients to attend with their carers.
“The course is six weeks and covers different aspects that the patient and carer might be struggling with, such as how to manage breathlessness, fatigue and stress, support for carers, and end of life planning. Carers have commented that they’ve found the course most useful as they also were able to learn techniques to encourage and support their loved ones to help their symptoms and also use techniques, such as relaxation, to help with their own wellbeing.
“The sessions are also a safe space for the carers to talk about their own personal fears and hopes and we have had really good feedback from all who have attended.”
Hannah Ashman, Music Therapist:
“Within our Focus on Living Centre, we offer music therapy to patients and their carers, including one to one sessions and a new music group, which is begun last week. we hope the new group gives patients and their loved ones something positive and enjoyable together, supporting wellbeing for patients and their carers at the same time and enabling people to experience being in the here and now of music.”
Jayne Welch, Complementary Therapist:
“All patients and carers can benefit from our Complementary Therapy service, and often comment they really appreciate a little time for themselves. We realise that carers are often in need of some therapy
“Myself and another Complementary Therapist work together every Monday and so are able to give the patient and carer a treatment at the same time. We have found that this works really well, the patient receives a treatment that they find relaxing and beneficial and the carer has time to relax too. The feedback that we have received from patients and carers is extremely positive.”
Davina Radford, Spiritual Care Lead:
“Our patients are often carers too. I have been working with one patient in particular who has been very keen to make sure that she has everything organised and in place before her death. She is doing this for her son - so that when she dies, and he is inevitably faced with so many things to do and so many difficult decisions to make, she has done everything she possibly can to make it as uncomplicated as possible for him. This includes:
- Arranging and paying for her funeral (including what she wants included in her order of service)
- Writing down how she wants to be cared for should she lose the capacity to communicate her wishes
- Information on how to register a death
- Lasting power of attorney
- Recording her social media passwords
- Providing the contact names and numbers he might need, including who her energy providers are!
“It’s taken quite a few weeks and it can’t have been easy for her to do, but she just wants it to be OK for her son.”
Joanne Garrett, Social Worker:
“Over the last 15 months, lockdown and shielding measures have proved to be very challenging for already overstretched carers. Their usual support networks, both formal and informal, have not been available and they have often been left with little practical or emotional support.
“The team of social workers has been keeping in touch with carers by telephone, providing them with the opportunity to talk about their situation – both the positives and the negatives. If a carer was struggling to cope we have worked with other teams in the Hospice and other agencies to try and provide the appropriate level of support for them.
“Looking forward, we are planning to start running a carers support group in the next few months. The group will provide a supportive environment, for carers to share their experiences with others who are in a similar situation to themselves.”