Giving carers more support

When someone goes into one of our community hospitals at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT), we not only look after them, but we also aim to support their family and carers, as best we can.

To help us do this, we have produced a new carers’ information pack. If a patient is admitted, these are given to those who provide a caring role to the patient at home.

The packs include useful information for carers, including details of how to access support services in Kent and Medway, general advice and guidance on carer well-being services.

They were co-designed with carers, carer champions, the trust’s Patient and Carer Partnership team and community hospital matrons to make sure they would be relevant, current and meet the carers’ needs.

There were several aims. It was not only to produce something to support carers, but also to show the trust’s commitment to the Triangle of Care. This is a scheme to promote better involvement and engagement between carers, patients and professionals, which the trust signed up to in April 2021, with the trust pledge included in the pack.

The work also aimed to gather more feedback from carers and families and to act upon this to improve services further, with a KCHFT ‘Giving Carers A Voice’ survey included in the contents.

Packs have information on how to access a carer’s assessment too. It is a statutory duty that KCHFT support the carer, by letting them know how to access a carers assessment, if they have not already had one. This is a comprehensive assessment of the carer’s role which helps to make sure they are fully supported.

Jane Browning, Patient and Carer Partnership project manager, led the work. She said: “With this information being made available on admission to a KCHFT community hospital, the carer then has time to look through the information and make sure they discuss with staff any additional needs they may have.”

Sharon Picken, senior participation manager in the trust’s Patient and Carer Partnership Team added: “This has been an incredible piece of work which ensures that carers are fully supported in their caring role with advice and information, in addition to having an opportunity to provide feedback to improve how we deliver our services.”

The carers’ packs have been available since March 2022, following a short trial. The next step will be to roll out availability of the packs across the trust, starting with long term community services.

This work is one of the trust’s many quality improvement (QI) projects. QI involves the trust looking at what it does and seeing how it could do things better. It’s important that those who use KCHFT services, their families or carers, are involved in QI projects and any changes which are made.

QI uses a way of working and a set of tools. Stakeholder mapping, a driver diagram and plan, do, study, act (PDSA) were used on this project.

More on the support we give to carers on the KCHFT website

The triangle of care, carers’ pack project on a page