The unpaid carer's perspective
Advocare's research and casework shows that professionals tend to regard unpaid carers at best as a resource and at worst as a nuisance and fail to listen to them. Thus a huge gap exists between the attitudes and perceptions held by those operating this country's health and social care system and the reality carers experience. Those responsible for health, mental health and social care services tend to focus primarily on bureaucratic processes and protocols and in doing so fail both the vulnerable person and their carer.
Advocare's casework also shows that most carers are reluctant to make an official complaint because the process is circular, frustrating and ineffective. Those who do manage to jump through every bureaucratic hoop frequently fail to obtain a satisfactory resolution to their problem. Often only lip service is paid to their concerns which increases their stress and prolongs the suffering of their vulnerable loved one.
Carers generally become stressed when they are concerned about their loved one's welfare, particularly when the care provided by others is unsatisfactory. Often carers are at a loss to know how to deal with domiciliary services that are unreliable or substandard or when their loved one is not being treated appropriately in hospital or a care home. When their loved one is living in sheltered or supported living accommodation carers sometimes have difficulty in conveying their concerns effectively to the management. For these situations Advocare is currently formulating a Charter for Unpaid Carers. It is intended to provide them with a 'rapid response strategy' for dealing effectively with their concerns and initiate a 'sea-change' for carers.
Advocare's Charter for Unpaid Carers - a sea-change for carers
Based on carers' own experiences Advocare's Charter for Unpaid Carers will aim to:
- Enable carers' concerns about their loved ones to be addressed swiftly and effectively.
- Empower carers in their role as sole advocates.
- Encourage a carer-centred culture within statutory health, mental health and social care services.
- Improve the standard of care for vulnerable people.
If you think your caregiving experiences could help us to formulate Advocare's Charter for Unpaid Carers please contact Cathey on (01202) 737592.