One in eight adults (around 6.5 million people) are carers. By 2037, it's anticipated that the number of carers will increase to 9 million. Carers of stroke survivors often face a sudden change in circumstances and responsibility. They provide indisputable value to health and social care, their communities and loved ones, yet there is little investment in carer support.
To help address the need for investment in late 2016, we developed the Caring and You programme, which was piloted in Pembrokeshire, Manchester and Kent, and involved 21 carers.
The Caring and You programme will provide carers with the support and education needed to help them improve their skills and knowledge of caring.
Who is the programme for?
Caring and You is available to family or friends of stroke survivors who find themselves in a caring role. Carers may benefit from attending the support and education sessions if they are feeling stressed, anxious, depressed, isolated and/or want to improve their skills and knowledge of caring.
Whether they are new to the carer role or have been caring for years, this program will help carers understand the long-term challenges that living with stroke brings for themselves and stroke survivors. Carers can self-refer, or the need for the programme will be identified via the Stroke Recovery Service or a healthcare professional.
What we offer through our programme
We provide a five week face-to-face support and education programme to help reduce the emotional and physical challenges of being a stroke survivor’s carer.
Having a voice
This session focuses on the support and services available to stroke survivors and carers, and the importance of communication. It covers:
- Understanding entitlements and support available.
- Confidence to express needs and concerns effectively.
- Asking the right questions.
- What to do if you don’t understand someone.
- How to influence others.
Hidden effects of Stroke
Hidden effects of stroke, is covered over two sessions.
Session one focuses on communication and cognitive difficulties. It covers:
- Different types of communication difficulties.
- Different types of cognitive difficulties (example: difficulties planning).
- How to care for someone with communication and/or cognitive difficulties.
Session two focuses on changes to emotion and behaviour. It covers:
- Emotional difficulties of carer and stroke survivor.
- Mood and behavioural changes and how to address them.
Practical care skills
This session provides an overview of the stroke pathway, the professional’s role and responsibilities, and the carer’s role. It covers:
- Planning for emergencies.
- The physical effects of stroke.
- How to care for a stroke survivor affected physically by stroke.
- Reinforcing the importance of managing medication effectively.
- Swallowing difficulties and dietary needs.
- How to support personal care.
Caring and me
This session focuses on the carers and the importance of looking after themselves. It covers:
- The importance of physical and emotional well-being.
- Organising your time and how to prioritise.
- Build carers’ confidence in their caring ability.
- Top tips on managing low mood and stress and where to go for support.
These three-hour sessions are held once a week where carers will learn about:
- Stroke and understand its hidden effects.
- How to support someone safely and well.
- Where to go for support and advice.
- Practical tips on caring with confidence.
- The importance of looking after their own health and well-being.
Carers will become better equipped and confident in their caring role and may benefit from coordinator and long-term peer support via the Stroke Recovery Service.
You can read more about our Caring and You programme by downloading our leaflet. There's also a downloadable executive summary of the evaluation of the Caring and You programme that you can read.