Triangle of care – Excellent NHS carer engagement

10177241_747738765268892_5890142387668348507_nIt has been a while since I blogged off my site, almost a month now. Still I have been very busy, lots going on and still lots to do. I run 4 carer forums each month and am also an unpaid carer working part time and contributing to so much in the community.

Yet I am aware many unpaid carers supporting those with mental health needs cannot easily engage with services. This is one of the many reasons why I chose to write this post. I am an unpaid mental health carer in south london, and have been involved with the Triangle of Care at a high level. Due to the involvement I am proud to be part of such a successful initiative. My trust has not been part of the Triangle of Care scheme even though I battle on, but it has got me wondering.

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What would it be like to be a carer whose NHS Trust is part of the Triangle of Care scheme?

If you do not know about the Triangle of Care policy, let me enlighten you.

Taken from the Carers Trust website, which is national charity fighting for the rights of young carers and carers alike.

“The Triangle of Care guide was launched in July 2010 by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers (now Carers Trust) and the National Mental Health Development Unit to highlight the need for better involvement of carers and families in the care planning and treatment of people with mental ill-health.”

Many Mental health NHS trusts up and down the country have taken the challenge and value the needs not only of their patients/service users, but also unpaid carers who often can be forgotten in Trust Policy, let alone in government policy.

The triangle of care gives six standards

1) Carers and the essential role they play are identified at first contact or as soon as possible thereafter.
2) Staff are ‘carer aware’ and trained in carer engagement strategies.
3) Policy and practice protocols re: confidentiality and sharing information, are in place.
4) Defined post(s) responsible for carers are in place.
5) A carer introduction to the service and staff is available, with a relevant range of information across the care pathway.
6) A range of carer support services is available.

I have mentioned such standards because there is a lot more to the Triangle of Care, but if you are not versed in policy then at least focus on the standards above.

So what could it be like being a carer linked to ToC?

If you are a carer whose mental health trust has signed or is working towards the triangle of care, I will list why it perhaps is a good thing.

1) You are lucky enough to have a trust working towards a national standard.
2) As a carer you can learn more about what your trust is doing for carers and their loved ones.
3) You can use these standards to protect your rights.
4) You have a mental health trust that can link into partner trusts all working together for the good of unpaid carers.
5) Standards that can be measured and assessed by others.
6) A mental health trust brave enough to change its culture on unpaid carers.
7) A way to hold mental health trusts to account on how it engages and provides services for carers.
8) Hidden issues that can be unraveled by triangle of care.

Obviously the list can go on and continue to go on, but an NHS trust that can put some resources to the Triangle of care should be held in high regard among carers.

I am not saying that the system is perfect, it is NOT a quick fix solution, especially in the era of NHS cuts, cuts to staff, cuts to community services and a lack of understanding in mental health. We are also living in a complex society where so much is demanded from us, be it Brexit, having to struggle for education, fragmentation in communities and the lack of volunteering since everyone wants to be better off.

All I am saying is if you are an unpaid carer thinking how can your NHS trust support, engage or value you, then please see what they are doing with the Triangle of Care.

Although the triangle of care is going through some changes. You can find out more about the Triangle of Care below.

https://professionals.carers.org/working-mental-health-carers/triangle-care-mental-health/triangle-care-membership-scheme