Changing the way we work with Carers
Over a period of 12 weeks we have been working with Trafford Council and Partners4Change to pilot a ‘3 Conversation Model’ aimed at offering a much improved service for carers looking after someone in Trafford.
The pilot itself allowed us to take a look at the processes that were in place to identify support needs. Historically, support has been via a form filling process, which most of you will have experienced as a 20 page document! This process could realistically take anything from 1 to 8 weeks depending on your support needs.
Quite often when you contact the Carers Centre you’re looking for an immediate response to your support needs. Having to wait for a caseworker to be available and going through the form before understanding the support available to you often added to the pressure of your role, something which had already been compounded by the funding cuts experienced by the Carers Centre.
So, what is the ‘3 Conversation Model’?
The 3 Conversation Model is designed to offer carers a more person centred approach to support. Our caseworkers will have ‘conversations’ with you, the carer, to best understand what is happening for you in your caring role and how it is impacting on your health and wellbeing. It allows for an immediate response to your needs and helping you to reach a more stable position before identifying long term support.
What can you expect when you contact or you are referred to the Carers Centre?
- Conversation 1 is designed to understand what really matters to you; connecting you to resources and support that can help you continue with your caring role.
- Conversation 2 may happen if you as a carer find yourself at breaking point or in a crisis. Quite often this is the point where you honestly feel that you can no longer carry on as a carer. A caseworker will work with you to identify what needs to change urgently to help you regain control of your life; what can be put in place.
- Conversation 3 is looking at helping you build a good life for the long term. This will be a more intensive piece of work helping you to identify that long term support and what that looks like for you.
The biggest change that you as a carer will notice is that you no longer have to complete the form before accessing a number of our services such as Welfare & Benefits advice, therapies and counselling. However one of the other more notable changes is that we will no longer be offering a Flexible Break Fund.
The Conversations are about us working together to find the best support available to help you regain control of your life and prevent carer breakdown either through looking at assets in your community, researching pots of available funds or in some circumstances accessing a very limited Carers Support Fund held by the Carers Centre.
Through the Conversation Model if a caseworker identifies a need to access the Carers Support Fund they will present your case to a panel using a scoring process. The scoring process takes into account carers stress levels, health needs, other support & services received, intensity of caring role, other additional responsibilities and how isolated the carer is to help determine award. The support fund is to ensure that those who are identified as being in or at risk of carer breakdown have their needs met.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to identifying a support need for a carer. With limited funds available we will always look to exhaust all options available before going through a scoring process and submitting to the panel.
The panel will make the final decision on awarding funds and will consider the best use (based on the conversation and scoring) and how it will benefit the carer in both the long and short term. The panel meet on a weekly basis and carers will be notified in writing of the panel decision.
As ever we are always reviewing and developing our services to provide carers with the best access route to support. We hope that you as a carer of someone in Trafford find your experience with Trafford Carers Centre more satisfying and we welcome any feedback on the new process.