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Supporting unpaid carers through services that work

 

In common with so many other charities, demand for our services has never been greater.  Our teams are working tirelessly to support those in need, focusing on reaching unpaid carers before they reach crisis point and before care arrangements breakdown.

Expectations are also changing. The way in which people access services, including ours, is shifting.   Like so many in the care sector, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased challenges, workloads and pressure on our services.  A recent report from Cardiff University for Public Health Wales highlighted two key challenges that resonated with us:

 

  • Many carers do not recognise their identity as a carer until they reach a crisis and seek help from health or social care services.
  • Due to lockdown restrictions the loss of time away from the person cared-for, personal space and activities to enhance their own well-being (e.g. the closure of gyms) had led to increased feelings of tension and frustration that may have a long-term impact on the sustainability of their caring role.

 

This brings some big opportunities for us to think differently about the services we provide and how we provide them.

 
A different approach

 
It’s important that carers have a say in what we do as an organisation and that we respond to their needs by creating services in collaboration with them.  Only then can we be confident that what we are doing will really make a difference to their lives.  This includes how we transform our use of technology, the skills that we have and the way we work together to be more efficient and provide a great service experience.
 
To make this happen we’re kicking off a piece of work focusing on user centred service design.  Put simply it’s about putting our users at the centre of the way we design and deliver our services.  Between now and December we’ll be working with Perago, a digital transformation and service design company based in South Wales, to get a better understanding of our services and how we can evolve those to help more carers and develop even more impact.

Sharing our work

This kind of shift won’t be immediate, we need to work with carers to really understand what’s needed and how we can deliver our services in a way that works. This approach will support our vision to give unpaid carers the time, physical/emotional energy and confidence to provide great care, enjoy their own life and achieve their own goals.

Over the next couple of months we’ll be sharing regular updates on this work including our progress, what we’re learning, successes and challenges.  We’d also love to hear what you think, whether you’re an unpaid carer we currently support, someone interested in finding out more or someone with experience to share.

Please do get in touch.  We’d love to hear from you.