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Carers Week - Dorset carer initiatives feature in this year's national Carers Challenge

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Carers Week 2024

Nine initiatives designed to support unpaid carers in Dorset have been recognised in this year's Adult Social Services Carers Challenge - more than any other county across England.

The Carers Challenge is a storehouse of great practice and ideas from social care teams and other organisations and details how they are improving support for carers so they can balance their caregiving with other commitments in their lives.

There are more than 5 million unpaid carers in England and without their support many older and disabled people could not maintain their wellbeing and do the right things that matter to them.

Jon Price, Executive Director for People - Adults and Housing, said it was fantastic to have some many projects showcased: "This is due to the brilliant collaborative work of the Dorset Carer Partnership Group (DCPG), which includes our carer providers and colleagues across the Our Dorset partnership."

"Through this initiative, partners have brought together some inspiring stories and videos to share and help others improve their support for carers in their community."

The nine are:

* Our Dorset Integrated Care System (ICS) leaflet to identify carers. The aim of this initiative was to increase the number of identified carers in Dorset by creating a leaflet and poster that was easy to understand and gave clear instructions on how unpaid carers can access support.

* Practical skills and learning - The DCPG worked together to produce a useful and effective booklet to showcase the training offer for carers in Dorset Council and Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council areas.

* Standardising unpaid carer coding in Dorset's General Practices on SystmOne - this project was initiated to standardise how unpaid carers are identified within patient record systems in Dorset's primary care services.

* National campaign event coordination. The DCPG has brought together information in one place for carers in Dorset, connecting them to services that can support them, raising awareness for Carers Week and Carers Rights Day.

* Dorset Hospital Carer Passport. The Hospital Carer Passport benefits all unpaid carers who wish to continue their caring role during a hospital admission and provides signposting to external agencies with follow-up support where possible.

* Carers Engagement in the BCP Carers Service review.

* Better Care for Carers - Dorset Healthcare and Mid Dorset Primary Care, working with the DCPG, have established an accreditation scheme which provides a model of quality improvement for primary care practices to develop their services to better identify and support people who come to them who are unpaid carers.

* Dorset Council have created an internal specialist Adult Carers Team dedicated to the assessment (Care Act 2014) and support of Carers. This includes working with those who have complex and/or safeguarding concerns.

* Carer Friendly Communities Dorset - Forward Carers, a not-for-profit social enterprise, whose mission is to create Carer Friendly Communities across the country, have developed a Carer Friendly ID card, Carer Friendly Business Discount Scheme and Carer Friendly Workplaces programme.

Dorset Council has also received £150,000 from the Department of Health and Social Care's Accelerated Reform Fund for an extension of our Bridgit project for carers. The funding was secured for a 2-year project with Bridgit Care and co-produced with Dorset carers to support them through improving accessible information. A stakeholder group has been formed to take this forward, involving Our Dorset partners and carers.

Bridgit was launched as a pilot in May 2023 and current features include information about services and events, local and national carer information, information on health conditions, a carers assessment, which can be sent to Dorset Council, and a self-help and "what if" contingency plan. It also enables sharing of carer's status with their GP, registration of carers with our provider Carer Support Dorset and encourages carers to apply for a Dorset Carer Friendly ID card, offering a range of discounts.

It has proved particularly popular reaching 8,250 carers to date. Of these more than 90% (7,814) have created self-help plans looking at 14,290 support areas. The most popular pages have been carers allowances and benefits and carers cards.

Categories: Adult's Services