Author Archives: mmckenz11

About mmckenz11

IT Officer for London School of Osteopathy and a Carer representative for Maudsley. As you can see, I have many interests shown off my blog. I hope to keep it updated with posts and more things to come soon.

Promoting your voice as a carer

insert_edited-1Hello, welcome to my latest blog. This particular blog is aimed at carers. This post hopes to be an inspirational message for anyone who is caring for a family friend or even a neighbour.

This post looks at promoting your voice as a carer. As a carer by our role, we give up so much and sometimes expect little, by definition health services and sometimes social services are aimed at the patient. Policies and laws can often assume that the family and carer are strong enough to cope by themselves.

Still, think about all the hard work energy and love you provide in caring for your loved one. No one else can tell you how to do your job, although they can provide some insight and maybe some support. So it is quite important that you use your voice as a carer to let others know how important you are in regards to services and policies.

Its all about Carer’s Voices

The risk is far too great if a carer does not speak out. Not only is the patient’s life or quality of life is at risk, but also the carer can suffer declining quality of life. When carers get desperate, they begin to risk so much and sacrifice so much such as time and energy. It is vital that you as a carer speak up, network and engage.

Silhouette of man showing his hand on sunset sky background, Successful business concept.

I am not only just asking you to speak up because your welfare depends on it. I am asking you to promote your voice because you should be valued as a carer. Just because you are a carer, does not mean that you should be ashamed to be a carer. Carers should be championed and valued for the things that they do for the family. If the community can learn from carers then we have a caring community.

Considering carers are unpaid, this is the least that carers can deserve. We should be encouraged to promote our voices, be it at events, forums, carer support groups, meetings and consultations. Carers should try to get out there and make a difference. Remember no one can tell you how to do your role, however they can advise.

Your caring experience is your own

Just as no one can fully tell you what to do, no one can fully understand what you are going through. No one can wear your shoes as you walk that difficult path in support in your loved ones journey through the health system. The emotional and physical turmoil a carer can go through cannot be fully understood, so it is vitally important that as a carer you speak out and get your voice promoted.

Sometimes as a carer we can be impatient and want change to happen straight away, but we must be practical considering the harsh changes is going through the NHS and social welfare system. Constant turnover of NHS staff can listen resources and support for carers. We need to realise that Rome was not built in a day. As carers we seek engagement, involvement and empowerment. Most carers will try their hardest not to harass and hassle those responsible for services, but unfortunately at the same time we do not want things to drag on and carers welfare is not Limitless.

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What services need to try and do regarding carers

I will make this as brief as possible, i’ll make this as gentle as possible. As carers, we want services to celebrate us. We do not want services to be scared of hearing carers voices. We want services to involve a so much that it seems like we are part of the team. Services should try to seek carers views. Services should try to engage with carers and invite them to service provision changes.

As carers we do not want services to keep referring carers on, we do not want services to keep passing the buck. We do not want services to be embarrassed of carers or afraid of carers.

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Due to these difficult times, as carers we must recognise that caring is just not enough. We must push our voices for more care support and work with those to get more better or creative services that help in the Caring role.

Learning from each other

As a carer please be interested in what the NHS is doing for you and the person you care for. Do not assume that the NHS is the expert in family and community care. We must all work together to enhance health and wellbeing in the family and in the community and eventually in Society.

Remember as a carer you deserve to be valued and championed, it is all about community and bringing out the best in ourselves. So think about using your voice as a carer to get your voice promoted.

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Lambeth MH Carers Forum update August 2018

Here is the update from the Lambeth mental health carers forum for August.

The forum runs every last Thursday of the month. The forum is aimed at unpaid carers who are supporting someone suffering from mental ill health. The forum gives a chance for carers to discuss strategy, become empowered and engage with services.

The forum helps bring involvement out into the community, we also seek to network with other carers and track what is happening to carers welfare in the borough of Lambeth.

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I had a bit of a break this month from charing because we had two new chairs for the August form.

For the month of August, We were lucky to have liason Staff member Tim Allen from SLaM presenting on caring for someone with depression. Tim also told us more about his role and how their team engages with those suffering from mental health crisis.

It was interesting hearing about the inspirations and challenges the mental health team were going through. Tim had a lot of knowledge to pass on and I’m sure the group had benefited from his wisdom.

For the second guest invite, Victoria Cabral from Black Thrive replaced Denis O’Rourke from the CCG, as Denis cannot attend this month but will attend a future forum instead. Victoria mentioned several reasons why ‘Black Thrive’ are active in the borough of Lambeth.

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Here are some of the reasons below

– There is a high rate of black people using the mental health system in Lambeth

– The death of Sean Riggs has shocked the community in Lambeth and things have to change.

– Due to the High representation of black people using the mental health system, there also seems to be a lack of black people taking advantage of mental health services at an earlier stage.

– We need more involvement for black people to be helping to shape mental health services rather than just being the recipient of Health Services.

You can find out more information from their website below.

https://www.blackthrive.org.uk/

There were other things discussed, like trying to keep slam staff motivated and making sure SLaM keep good staff at the NHS Trust.

We also discussed carer experiences at Lambeth Hospital, plus how the trust should be trying to work within the principles of the Triangle of care. A good part of the forum looked into trying to care for someone who does not want to engage with mental health services, which many unpaid carers can experience.

The problems of lack of staff and lack of services or end up putting pressures on families and carers, it was mentioned that it is vitally important carers get a voice and speak up about their difficult role.

Lewisham BME MH Carer/SU Forum August Update 2018

Welcome to the latest update of the Lewisham BME MH carer/SU forum for august. This is the first time that the forum took place in the evening, so to allow other carer members Who cannot always attends during friday morning.

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For the August forum, we hoped to have the Mental Health Act officer attend and give a presentation regarding the Mental Health Act and how south London and Maudsley were going to adapt to the latest changes to the mental Health Act. Unfortunately he could not make it, so we decided to discuss south London and Maudsley carer strategy.

I presented and broke down the 2015 – 2019 NHS Trust Carer strategy. We discussed the following

– What do trust defines as a carer
– Why it is important to understand the trust carers strategy
– What the trust has done so far for carers, laid out in it strategy.
– What the trust promises to do within been the carers strategy.
– The Triangle of care
– Principles of practice
– The trusts carers charter
– Holding the trust to account regarding it’s carers charter.

It was a shame that’s you in the audience knew about the care act 2014, plus not many even you about the trust carers charter. So it was worthwhile spending over 2 hours presenting and explaining the strategy.

There was very good questions and discussions regarding the current carers strategy. I pointed out that if anyone wants to read up more on the carers strategy, They should query the following

– Look for patterns, repeated words.
– Pay attention to what they have done and what they are going to do.
– Dates of things to be done (at back of strategy)
– What is brief? Whats unclear?
– When questioning who is responsible for things within the strategy, have an idea on asking how things would be done.

As long as one is civil and respectful in querying and asking about carer issues and carers strategies, then we can expect transparency and progress. Due to pressures within the NHS, we do not expect everything to be perfect, but it does not hurt to engage and ask questions we are well aware that staff are working very hard to engage with us.

I pointed out that in September there is to be a discussion at the trust regarding the carers strategy and implementing a new carers strategy. Due to organisational changes at the trust, it would be vital that the carers strategy focuses even more on borough based carer engagement and involvement.

Lewisham MH Carers forum August 2018 update

IMG_20180828_141300Hello everyone, welcome to the latest update from the Lewisham mental health carers forum, which took place on August the 28th carers Lewisham. I know I have missed a few updates regarding the other forums that took place in July, I am hoping to add those at a later date.

As a quick reminder, the MH carers forums give a chance for carers to get updates, engagement, empowerment and also query NHS services and policies. We had some good attendance for the latest lewisham carers forum.

The forum usually runs for 2 hours, however so much was discussed at this particular forum we actually overran. I gave updates from our local mental health trust, which is South London and Maudsley. The NHS Trust has been really good in engaging with carers forums from the Boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark, Croydon and Lewisham.

As a forum we are excited to have future guest invites from lewisham hospital in regards to how they engage with mental patients at A&E. We are also excited to have the attendance of the social care lead in the coming months. We also hope to get engagement from the director of carers Trust. The forum has achieved a lot over the past 2 and a half years.

As a forum we were glad to hear how the modern matron in charge of carer engagement feedback how the trust aims to look into the Triangle of care. We are also hoping that a new care support group start up at the inpatient unit soon. As a forum, the members were very impressed with the director of Lewisham mental health services attending and engaging with some exciting ideas and projects.

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For this month, we were very lucky to have Lewisham CCG engagement officer attending and listening to a lot of the members feedback and updates. The engagement officer told us about her role and the role of lewisham CCG, we got updates about some new projects and the importance of patient participation groups at doctors surgeries. As a forum we discussed NHS service provision, however a lot of questions should be saved for the Lewisham CCG AGM.

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The CCG engagement officer educated and updated us on the recent health promotion projects in the borough of Lewisham. The engagement officer was well aware of my activities in the borough of Lambeth and Southwark and felt that we can learn from what they are doing over there and vice a versa.

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I updated members that the NHS trust mental health act officer is due to appear this Thursday at the BME MH carers forum, plus members are interested on updates regarding the trusts carers strategy, however there is a strong feeling that the carers strategy must encompass local engagement rather than being too heavily trustwide focused.

I also updated members that SLaM are looking to discuss the Carers Strategy, plus that their AGM is coming up.  We are interested on who will win staff awards.

As usual many of the members feedback on what they are doing in regards to carer empowerment projects. Members of Keen to have a local carers listening event, however we are wondering about promotion and networking.

We look forward to more engagement from Lewisham CCG and also Lewisham Healthwatch, but importantly from a local NHS Mental Health Trust and Lewisham hospital.

Recommended Carer books

10 Helpful Hints for Carers: Practical Solutions for Carers Living with People with Dementia – June Andrews, Allan House

A Carer's Chaos - Julie Nancy Wiltshire

10 Helpful Hints for Carers is an easy-to-read guide for carers living with people with dementia. It provides simple, practical solutions to the everyday problems family carers can face when looking after a person with dementia.

A Carer’s Chaos – Julie Nancy Wiltshire

10 Helpful Hints for Carers Practical Solutions for Carers Living with People with Dementia

When Julie Wiltshire’s husband, David, was diagnosed with cancer twice, he faced a series of treatments made all the more difficult by multiple complications. In A Carer’s Chaos, Julie records the details of David’s long journey of cancer treatment, but also offers a unique perspective into life as a carer to a loved one, exploring the love, hate, anger, loneliness and fear experienced on a daily basis by a carer.

A Carer’s Odyssey – Anna Chan

A Carer's Odyssey - Anna Chan

In the first part of A Carer’s Odyssey, Anna Chan describes how she and her husband Jeff were devastated 16 years ago by the diagnosis of their daughter Emma’s severe neurological disorder, called Rett Syndrome.

A Gift for Carers – William Long

A Gift for Carers - William Long

This book was written following the author’s personal struggle with the psychological and physical pressures of caring for his mum. His experiences and research led him to develop a solution which counters the devastating effects of what the medical world refers to as “Caregiver Syndrome.” He identifies seven areas that make for a joyful life.

A Gradual Disappearance – Elizabeth Lonseth

A Gradual Disappearance - Elizabeth Lonseth

“Dementia is like a maze. Its victims get lost in the labyrinth of their own minds, bringing confusion and despair to themselves and to others around them. Families watch helplessly as their loved ones drift further and further away from reality, and when decisions are made, emotions often get in the way of what is really necessary.” – Dr. Sameh Elsanadi, MD Geriatric Psychiatrist

An Introduction to Coping with Depression for Carers – Tony Frais

An Introduction to Coping with Depression for Carers

Looking after a person with depression can often leave carers emotionally and physically exhausted. This short, straightforward and easily understandable guide offers valuable advice on how carers can

BMA Carer’s Manual – British Medical Association

BMA Carer's Manual

Endorsed by the British Medical Association, this is the definitive guide to caring for the elderly or sick, offering practical advice and solutions for everyday concerns such as adapting living space and safe movement and handling. Step-by-step sequences explain essential activities such as helping someone in and out of a chair and special features focus on topics relating to common conditions.

Carer’s Bible – Amanda Waring

Carer's Bible

This accessible and detailed guide includes practical tips, checklists for best practice, descriptions of their experience from a wide range of carers that addresses solutions to common problems, and expert advice on how to deliver compassionate and dignified care to older people.

Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder – Jenny Langley, Janet Treasure, Gill Todd

Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder

Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder: The New Maudsley Skills-Based Training Manual provides a framework for carer skills workshops which can be used by anyone working with these conditions.

Confidence to Care: A Resource for Family Caregivers Providing Alzheimer’s Disease Or Other Dementias Care at Home – Molly Carpenter

Confidence to Care A Resource for Family Caregivers Providing Alzheimer's Disease Or Other Dementias Care at Home

Confidence to Care is the essential handbook for the family caregiver offering practical insights to understanding, managing and preventing the behavioral symptoms associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Touching, personal stories come together with practical and easy-to-access tips and techniques drawn from decades of caregiving experience by internationally-recognized experts.

Guide to Mental Health for Families and Carers of People with Intellectual Disabilities – Geraldine Holt, Anastasia Gratsa, Nick Bouras

Guide to Mental Health for Families and Carers of People with Intellectual Disabilities

A practical and comprehensive introduction for carers to mental health problems, this accessible guide outlines a range of signs and symptoms of mental health problems that can affect people with intellectual disabilities. The guide explains why mental health problems develop, and advises on what can be done to help people with intellectual disabilities and carers themselves.

Living with Dying: A Complete Guide for Caregivers – Jahnna Beecham, Katie Ortlip

Living with Dying A Complete Guide for Caregivers

  • This easy-to-use guide for caregiving instructs you how to:
  • Have the conversation
  • Navigate the emotional and spiritual journey
  • Control pain
  • Address symptoms
  • Work with hospice
  • Care for yourself
  • Get your loved one’s affairs in order

Mindfulness for Carers: How to Manage the Demands of Caregiving While Finding a Place for Yourself – Cheryl Rezek

Mindfulness for Carers How to Manage the Demands of Caregiving While Finding a Place for Yourself

Carers are particularly vulnerable to feeling stressed, worried and worn down by the vast demands that often come with caregiving, be they physical, psychological or emotional. Mindfulness can be enormously beneficial to carers, whether professional or voluntary, as a means of developing greater inner stability, resilience and gaining more control over their thoughts, feelings and emotions.

No Saints Around Here: A Caregiver’s Days – Susan Allen Toth

No Saints Around Here A Caregiver's Days

When we promise “in sickness and in health,” it may be a mercy that we don’t know exactly what lies ahead. Forcing food on an increasingly recalcitrant spouse. Brushing his teeth. Watching someone you love more than ever slip away day by day. As her husband James’s Parkinson’s disease with eventual dementia began to progress, writer Susan Allen Toth decides she intensely wants to keep her husband at home—the home he designed and loved and lived in for a quarter century—until the end.

Self-Care for Caregivers: A Twelve Step Approach – Pat Samples, Diane Larsen, Marvin Larsen

Self-Care for Caregivers A Twelve Step Approach

For those serving as a caregiver for a loved one, the authors of this down-to-earth, encouraging book can help you make the most of the experience without losing yourself in the process.

Supporting Families and Carers: A Nursing Perspective – Mary E. Braine, Julie Wray

Supporting Families and Carers A Nursing Perspective

Understanding the perspective of carers is an essential aspect of nursing. Supporting Families and Carers: A Nursing Perspective offers insights into the fundamental principles of caring for families and carers irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality or religion.

Take Care, Son: The Story of My Dad and his Dementia – Tony Husband

Take Care, Son The Story of My Dad and his Dementia

Hi Dad . . . can we have a chat about your dementia . . . Can you remember how it started?
When Ron Husband started to forget things – dates, names, appointments . . . daft things, important things – it took a while to realise that this was ‘a different form of forgetting’. But it was just the first sign of the illness that gradually took him away from the family he loved.

The Carer’s Handbook: Essential Information and Support for All Those in a Caring Role – Jane Matthews

The Carer's Handbook Essential Information and Support for All Those in a Caring Role

This indispensable guide aims to be a one-stop-shop for the huge percentage of the population who, now or later, find themselves in a caring role, whether that involves shopping for a housebound neighbour, or giving up work to care full-time for a disabled child or confused parent.

The Complete Carer’s Guide – Bridget McCall

The Complete Carer's Guide

There are around six million carers in the UK, a figure estimated to reach nine million by 3037. Being a carer can be rewarding, but it is often stressful and exhausting: it involves a range of tasks, such as providing personal care, managing medication and ensuring that the needs of the person being cared for are met. This practical, much needed guide discusses how to ensure that you have a life of your own while caring, how to make informed decisions and, most importantly, how to access the support and help you need.

The Essential Carer’s Guide – Mary Jordan

The Essential Carer_s Guide

Illustrated with individual case stories, this book covers physical, social, and financial needs, across the stages of immediate, intermediate and advanced care. It is useful as a practical companion for those caring for, or responsible for the care of, an elderly friend or relative.
The Selfish Pigs guide to caring – Hugh Marriot

The Selfish Pigs guide to caring

Over six million people in the UK…provide unpaid care for disabled or elderly relatives, friends or neighbours. Their job is long, lonely and hard, yet there is limited support and no formal training. As a result, carers suffer frequent damage to physical and mental health. Oddly, though carers by definition are anything but selfish pigs, they are liable to feelings of guilt, probably brought on by fatigue and isolation.

Where There is No Psychiatrist: A Mental Health Care Manual – Vikram Patel

Where There is No Psychiatrist A Mental Health Care Manual

Even though mental illnesses are common and cause great suffering in every part of the world, many health workers have a limited understanding about mental health and are less comfortable dealing with mental illness. This book is a practical manual for mental health care for the community health worker, the primary care nurse, the social worker and the primary care doctor, particularly in developing countries.

Young Carers and their Families: Working Together for Children, Young People and Their Families – Saul Becker, Jo Aldridge, Chris Dearden

Young Carers and their Families Working Together for Children, Young People and Their Families

Young carers are children and young people under the age of 18 who provide care for an ill or disabled parent or relative in the community, usually within their own home. They perform many of the same domestic, caring and other duties as adult carers but often without the recognition and support received by many adult carers.

Influential poem from Patrick Lee

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Welcome one and all to a new blog for the month of August. I have to apologise for not putting anything up for some weeks now since I have been really busy doing a lot of carer campaigning. To be honest I have not had much time to provide feedback from the 4 carer forums in South London.

I have also just recently come back from a lovely forum held over in West London, from the West London Collaborative, they do excellent work over there helping to build communities.

Going back to this particular post, I want to dedicate this blog post for its creative content. A while ago I met Patrick who provides peer support for those using the mental health services. He spoke to me how he used the power of poetry to help others express themselves. Poetry can be very creative and powerful in a non-combative way. Sometimes just saying things is hard enough, but if we use the power of poetry then anything is possible.

I have recently created a video about one of his poem’s which is from his book “The Nearly Man”. The Poem from the video is called “Cardboard City Dweller”. You can watch the full video below

 

Patrick has released several books of poetry, let me know if you want to try catch him in order to hear more about his work. I hope to do some more blogging real soon.

Thanks for dropping by.

Southwark MH Carers Forum June 2018

Dg3QQzpUYAAo2uyWelcome to June 2018 update from the Southwark mental health carers forum. As a reminder the mint of carers forums give unpaid carers in care for someone suffering mental health needs a chance to get updates and query mental health services and also services aimed at unpaid carers. One of the things that is important to note is that the forms allow empowerment to unpaid carers.

For this particular form over at Southwark carers, we were lucky to have the Labour MP helen Hayes attend the forum to present a new report published jointly by the Health & Social Care and the Housing, Communities & Local Government Select Committees on the long term funding of adult social care.

At the forum we all admitted that the social care system is broken. There are quite a few reasons why social care is struggling to support those in desperate need. One of the things that has been causing a lot of problems is the austerity effect. We felt that the current government seems to be dragging its heels on supporting and protecting the rights of unpaid carers.

If that wasn’t hard enough we have a double blow in regards to the ‘cared for’ where hospitals are struggling with funding, delayed hospital discharges, difficulty with mental health patients getting support and the rotating door system. All of this applies added pressure on families and unpaid carers who are trying their best to care for their loved ones.

Comforting friend. Woman consoling her sad friend.

The select committee which Helen Hayes is a member of is a cross party initiative that includes a Citizens jury. The committee looked at funding and who should fund social care. The committee also queried what social care should look like.

Too often the poorest in Society are asked to pay for social care that cannot often reach them. Above all they should be transparency not just in social care but within the NHS. It is so important that families and carers are given the support in order to care for their loved ones rather than being pushed out by care workers.

The forum also discussed the integrated social care system where are the city of Manchester has set an example for others to follow.

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The MP felt glad that such a forum is up and running since she felt the current government has failed to give unpaid carers a voice and she will do all she can in order to support the mental health carers forum. We also discussed carers assessments and who should attend the forum.  Unfortunately Southwark Council representatives were due to attend the forum, but were unaware the time had changed.

In future we can send out posters where the MPs can help publicise and support the forum.

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This concludes the update for June 2018 Southwark mental health carers forum.