Surrey partners recognise caring as an essential part of life and unpaid carers (daughters, sons, partners or friends, for example) hold families together and often fill the gaps statutory services are unable to provide.
Below is an outline of our priorities for carers, to help them live will and to provide all the support they require.
High Quality Services
We commission a range of services to ensure that carers are supported in their caring role and have a life outside of caring. Carers have told us that a priority must be ensuring that services address essential needs and that the pathways between services are as easy to navigate.
- Carers have told us that a break from caring is very important. It is therefore vital that we provide a range of carer breaks services. In line with our commitment to personalisation and being carer-focused, breaks can take several forms based on the carer's need.
Improving carer’s health and wellbeing
- We will support our health and social care practitioners and provider partners to ensure that the importance of carer health and wellbeing, and the information and support available, are included in every conversation with carers.
Clear service pathways
- Carers have told us that the pathways between healthcare, social care and third sector provision must be easier to navigate. A ‘Carers Pathway’ has been co-designed by the Carers Strategic Partnership Board.
Emergency Planning and Carer Passport
- Emergencies for carers can be overwhelming and stressful. A plan can help ease carers’ worries and ensure that those they look after continue to be cared for in an emergency. We will work with carers and stakeholders to develop a new Surrey Carer Emergency Planning Service. This new service will build on our existing Surrey Carer Emergency Card Scheme and our carer’s assessment process. Creating a Carer Passport will be an integral part of this service and supports our commitment to improving carer identification and recognition. This work program will contribute to delivering the NHS Long Term Plan.
Promoting Carers’ Rights
The Care Act 2014, and Department of Health and Social Care’s care and support statutory guidance, seeks to substantially strengthen the rights and recognition of adult carers within the social care system.
- The Care Act 2014 entitles carers to an assessment, with information and advice to help them make the best choices about support for their health and wellbeing. We will ensure that carer’s assessments are undertaken for all eligible carers using personalised strength-based approaches and that the carer’s assessment process is accessible.
Inclusivity and diversity
- We will ensure that our services for carers are inclusive, culturally appropriate, and address the needs and preferences of diverse groups and communities. People being cared for, their families and carers will be involved and recognised as equal partners in care. This includes identifying people’s cultural needs, choices, and preferences and looking at how these needs are met.
- There is a wide range of evidence suggesting that training can offer an opportunity for carers to gain essential skills and confidence and to help them to remain safe and well. Therefore, we will co-design with carers accessible training programmes designed to improve their understanding of the health condition, disability, or needs of the person they care for.
Championing carers’ rights through communications
- We will identify and make the most of opportunities to raise awareness of carers’ rights, including aligning to and participating in national campaigns and events (for example, Carers’ Week and Carers’ Rights Day). These activities will be inclusive of all partners and providers.
Increasing the visibility of carers
People may not see themselves as carers but instead see caring as an extension of their familial role: daughters, sons, or partners, for example, doing what families and friends do. As such, the term carer does not always resonate with them. In addition, becoming a carer can be a gradual process, and carers may not recognise the changing nature of their relationship with the person they support. Similarly, many carers are not identified by health and social care practitioners. These are commonly termed ‘hidden carers’: they do not access available support often because they do not know it is there.
Whole family approach
In line with our ‘Whole Family’ value, the carer’s family context is respected, and a whole family approach to caring is embedded across Surrey.
Carers will be assessed using a whole family approach. Assessments and services should be coordinated to support the person with care needs and their family, including young carers. As a result, the entire family will be supported in the caring experience, have ready access to appropriate information, and be able to access appropriate support services.
Young adult carers
We must recognise the specific needs of young adult carers, particularly at critical points in the caring journey, such as entering or leaving college, university or work. Therefore, providers and partners will work together to help ensure that young adult carers are recognised, aware of, and able to access the information and support available to them. This will include proactively identifying where specific information, support, and services should be made available to and developed for young adult carers.
Training for professionals
It is vital to ensure that all partners and providers have the skills, knowledge, and understanding necessary to identify, support, and work with carers effectively. We will develop and make available a range of training materials to suit the needs of different providers and professional communities. All professionals will be offered carer awareness training, including understanding and promoting carer rights.
Surrey NHS key performance indicators (KPI)
The KPI is just one of many mechanisms to improve our response to identifying and supporting carers. Although 70% of carers come into contact with health professionals, only one in ten carers are identified through this route. The Surrey NHS Carers Key Performance Indicator (KPI) was co-produced in response to carers telling us that we need to:
• Improve outcomes for carers, reducing unwarranted variation
• Normalise caring within our standard NHS systems and processes
• Ensure the sustainability of carers' work through a systems response; and
• Prepare the ground for introducing Carer Quality Markers in line with the NHS Long Term Plan.
Local carer KPIs for social care providers commissioned by Surrey County Council
These have been established and will be embedded in all health care and social care provision during the life span of this strategy. Embedding the KPIs and monitoring providers’ delivery will raise the visibility of carers with providers whose core business does not necessarily include providing support to carers.
Strengthen Carer Voice
We have a solid commitment to ensuring that all carers should have regular and meaningful opportunities to have their voices heard, share their experiences, and contribute to developing, evaluating and improving services and support in Surrey. Carers will have the chance to be involved as much as they want to be.
Commission an independent Giving Carers a Voice service
- This service will:
- Provide a trusted route for carers to feedback in their own words on their lived experience of caring in Surrey;
- Support delivery of our commitment to co-design and co-production;
- Support developing and maintaining effective reach across and into communities in Surrey, recognising diversity and individuality; and
- Take a strategic, coordinated approach so that carers feel empowered to voice their views and share their experiences without being overwhelmed by different or multiple asks.
Ensure equitable and accessible routes to sharing feedback and experience
- It is important that carers can share their views and experiences through a range of regular, meaningful and diverse opportunities. We will ensure that, across the system, there are accessible routes for carers to have their voices heard, taking account of their diverse needs and preferences.
Build on our Carers Strategic Partnership Board
- Our governance structure will also improve how carers’ views shape services. Between 2016-2020, we established the Carers Strategic Partnership Board (previously known as Carers Partnership Group) that has met regularly and informed the development of our new stratgy. We will build on this Board, ensuring that:
- It is better able to engage a broader range of carers in the co-design of specific initiatives;
- It is better placed to shape the ongoing development of services, reflecting the voices of a greater range of carers; and
- Has clear routes into the decision-making structures in both health and social care.
Support working carers
Taking on a caring role should not mean that people have to give up work, which might lead to financial hardship or social exclusion. Carers who want to work should be enabled to do so and should not be discriminated against. Carers should be supported in the workplace to maintain their employment status.
Carer awareness training for staff
All employers must ensure no carer is missed through lack of awareness on the part of its staff. We will complete a review of all existing training materials and work with the local NHS Academies to seek new approaches to staff carer awareness training while ensuring that the ‘lived experience’ of caring remains integral to our programme.
The Surrey-wide Multi-Agency Carers Workforce Task Group
This group was established in July 2020. It aims to work collaboratively, using an integrated approach, to provide a system-wide response to supporting staff juggling work with care.
Working Carers Passport and staff carer contingency planning
We will improve support to staff with caring responsibilities, promoting the new Working Carers Passport to ensure that all employers have timely, compassionate conversations about what support would be helpful, including establishing and protecting flexible working patterns, and support staff carer contingency planning.
Communication and engagement
Communications with and for carers should be easy to navigate, tailored to individual needs, with the information provided in a format that carers can access and understand. There are several mechanisms in place to communicate and engage with carers. However, we recognise that it is essential to review and refresh these regularly, to evaluate the impact of all communication and engagement activities, and to respond when carers tell us what is and is not working well.
Diversity of communication and engagement
Partners across the system should ensure diverse communication channels, engagement opportunities, and ways for carers to get involved if they want to. This must consider and respect different needs and communities and enable messages to be tailored appropriately.
Providers and partners across the system should have a specific, consistent approach for identifying, recording, flagging, sharing, and meeting the information and communication support needs of carers. As part of this, carers should be supported to access information in the format that best meets their needs.
Person-centred approach to communication
Advice, information and support activities will be readily available and tailored to the needs of individuals. We will continue to use and develop a range of approaches, seeking to understand from carers how they would like to communicate with us and the best ways for us to communicate with them. This will include recognising that different approaches will work better for different people.