North East Hampshire and Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group, Hampshire County Council and the local NHS in the county have launched the first ever Hampshire Carers Charter, as part of a new five year strategy for supporting adults in Hampshire who help or look after a friend or family member on an unpaid basis.
The Charter, developed with carers and voluntary organisations, sets out a series of commitments for how the organisations will work with carers to support them in their caring role.
Councillor Liz Fairhurst, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “There are an estimated 133,000 carers currently in Hampshire, making a huge contribution to our communities by helping to care for those who need support. We recognise that carers frequently put the needs of the person they care for before their own, often placing their own health and wellbeing at risk. As many people with caring responsibilities see themselves as simply ‘helping out a loved one’, carers often don’t know about, or actively seek the carer support that is available to them.
“The Charter recognises the important role undertaken by the county’s many carers and makes clear how we will support them in their role.
By collaborating and working in partnership with local organisations and communities, and listening to carers themselves, we can significantly improve how carers are supported to manage their own health and care needs, as well as those of the people for whom they care.”
The Hampshire Joint Carers Strategy itself, outlines how health and social care professionals, alongside the voluntary sector, will work together to:
- identify and recognise people who are looking after someone in their community, to ensure that they are aware of the support available to them
- support carers’ physical health and emotional wellbeing
- help carers to have a life alongside caring
- support young adult carers aged under 25
- reach out to ‘seldom heard’ carers, such as Travellers or carers in rural communities
Examples of how this will be done include:
- promoting and raising awareness amongst County Council and NHS staff about the importance of identifying and recognising carers
- putting carers in touch with local support and information services in their area
- offering training to carers on topics such as moving and handling, and how to maintain their own health and wellbeing alongside their caring role
- utilising care technology and digital solutions to help support carers and those for whom they care for
Ros Hartley, Director of Partnerships for Hampshire and Isle of Wight CCG Partnership, said; “We owe enormous gratitude to carers for their efforts in supporting people with all manner of health needs across all of our communities.
“Many people care for family members and because they can see it as their duty to their loved one, they do not always think to ask for anything to help themselves, or they put their own health needs last. This can lead to them suffering physical or mental health problems themselves.
“We want all carers in Hampshire to know what support and advice is available to them and to be able to access that support, so they can remain fit and healthy. The healthier the carer, the better the quality of care they can provide.”
The strategy will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and updated when needed, to appropriately reflect the needs of the county’s carers as they change.
Further information about support for carers can be found here: https://www.connecttosupporthampshire.org.uk/carers https://www.hants.gov.uk/socialcareandhealth/adultsocialcare/supportforcarers