Tag Archives: carers

Southwark MH Carers Forum March 2018

Untitled-2Welcome to an update of how the March 2018 Mental Health carer forum went. I usually try to chair several carer forums around South London and on Friday the 23rd of March we had a forum at Southwark Carers. As stated in previous posts, one of the core aspects of the carer forums is to give carers the space, platform and voice for engagement at their local mental health trust.

Fortunately the forums are very much supported by our mental health trust and at this particular forum we had engagement from the Southwark Modern Matron for South London & Maudsley. Matron’s used to be used very much earlier on in the NHS history and now South London & Maudsley are bringing them back to help with quality standards, engagement with wards and a whole lot more.

South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust has 4 Modern Matron’s each one for the four boroughs the trust provides services in. For Southwark the Modern Matron focuses on Physical Health, Lambeth is on reduction in violence on wards, Lewisham focuses Quality improvement and Croydon on Learning disabilities and Carer engagement. As a note all 4 do a whole lot more, but these are some of the core aspects the matron’s work on.

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Zara the Modern Matron for Southwark spoke about how important it is to build relationships with the staff on the Acute wards. She spoke how she trained for the role and her passion to make a big difference. As a carer, I was very interested in what she had to say and her way of speaking made me even more interested in mental health overall. The modern matron for the borough of southwark also spoke about how care plans will hopefully be more of the focus in ward rounds held at the 4 hospitals. She spent a large time engaging with carers at the forum about SLaM’s “Carer engagement & observation plan” and changing the culture of how NHS staff can engagement and involve carers.

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Lots of big projects are happening with Maudsley working with the two other big Mental Health NHS trusts that being Oxleas and the other being South West London & St Georges. We also heard about the importance of the 5 year physical plan from SLaM looking at

– Stoping smoking
– Smear tests
– Denistry
– Nutrianal health and more

One of the reasons for the 5 year plan is that patients with mental health needs often tend not to focus on their own physical health needs and the NHS trust feels that mental and physical health should be the focus in health and recovery.

Other parts of the forum is that the borough of Southwark’s MPs have responded and will have time to engage with the forum, we are still waiting to hear from the last MP. The other good news is that the mental health lead for Southwark CCG will visit the forum in the coming months. So far, I am very impressed with the support the forum is getting from the borough of Southwark, but unfortunately there still is a lot of work to do in order to bring changes for families and carers.

The last part of the forum was exploring the following question regarding improving services for SLaM. I wanted to collect information from carers on how they feel South London & Maudsley could improve the quality of it services.

Hopefully we can get more carers attending the forum, but if not that then at least they can have an option to try attend a carers support group, which we hope will be set up to catch hidden carers or those who feel their role is not about caring.

Thanks for reading.

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Why you care

Mother comforts her teen daughterIf you are a non paid carer of someone suffering from mental illness, there will be times that you question yourself on why you care. Especially during the toughest part of a crisis. It might be that you constantly fear loosing that person through an eating disorder, addiction or psychotic episode. It may be that you are having difficultly getting your point across to mental health professionals especially when the NHS is in its time of crisis.

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Southwark Mental Health Carers Forum August 2017

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This is a update from the new Southwark Mental Health Carers forum for July. The Southwark Mental Health Carers forum took place on August the 31st over at Southwark Carers. Yes, the forum has moved from the Maudsely hospital to down the road where Southwark Carers is based.

This is the Second mental health carers forum to take place for Southwark and we had some interest carers attend this forum who also attended the carers support group. Since the forum was fairly new, I presented on updates which occurred the previous month, that being July.

 

To see the video of the forum report, click below

We are looking to run the forum every last Friday of the month. I presented what the forum is about, regarding that

  • It can be difficult for Carers in Southwark have an idea on Mental Health services and influencing them.
  • There has not been a Mental Health forum for some years, although there are Mental Health carer support groups.
  • Mental Health carers need some empowerment in their role.
  • Services have suffered from cuts, carers need to act in order to support everyone.

Mental Health Foundation are working to develop a series of pilot programmes on with The aim is to improve mental health wellbeing for all.

Mental Health and Wellbeing – Strategy patient engagement event where Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Southwark Council wish to improve mental health and wellbeing across the borough

Plus talking about the upcoming CarersUK AGM and the South London & Maudsley AGM.

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Next we had a presentation from Ana who is the co-chair of the forum about her involvement at South London & Maudsley. We also discussed the importance of attending carers support groups

Lastly, Carer support worker Lillian spoke about the definition of a carer.

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The next Southwark MH Carers forum will be on 29th of September.

Lewisham Mental Health Carers forum August 2017

Here is the update for the Lewisham Mental Health Carers forum for August 2017. This is one of the older mental health carer forums in south London, the carers forum has been running for more than a year. Of course, When I say “Mental Health Carer”, I mean someone who is caring unpaid for a relative, friend or neighbour suffering from some form of mental illness.

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The Care Act 2014

care-act-2014Welcome to another blog post. This time I want to focus on the Care Act. The Care Act 2014 is a major piece of legislation to put unpaid carers wellbeing as a priority. Carers have faced hardship and lack of identification regarding their needs for a long time.

When I talk of unpaid carers, I am talking about those who are caring for a loved one, relative, close friend or even neighbour. The Care Act 2014 heavily focuses on those who are WILLING to care and tries to avoid the casual carer. Unpaid carers go through so much and there are unfortunately still major problems with the Care Act.

The main focus for the Care Act is that

– Carers are entitled to a carer assessment
– Puts carers on an equal footing with the cared for
– Increases identification of the carer needing support

If you have the time to watch the video I have made explaning some of the basic parts of the Care Act 2014, then please do so by clicking on the video below.

The video covers the following

  • The main focus for the Care Act.
  • What carers need support on.
  • Problems with the care act.
  • What you or your family can do regarding carer assessments.
  • Local Authorities responsibilities.
  • How carer needs are provided.
  • What happens if you refuses an assessment?
  • Care and support plans.
  • Safeguarding.
  • Independent advocacy.

Although I mention that the Local Authorities have responsibilites, so do health boards, mental health trusts, housing officers, social workers, assessors and so on.

The Care Act can be a major force for carers like myself up and down the country, but it is only as good if carers or carer advocates do not know their rights. There are those who will take every chance they can get to ignore the Care Act and misuse their powers to prey on the vulnerable and when I mean vulnerable, it is not just the carer alone, but also the cared for. Still not every carer is an angel and there are safeguarding issues in some families, but as it stands the Care Act looks to prevent such crisis before they happen.