"My experience as a carer"

About: Let’s Talk Well Being ( IAPT) – Nottinghamshire Nottingham West / Community nursing Nottinghamshire Hospice

(as a carer),

My husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer 3 years ago and I then received the service of a local District Nurse assigned to supporting carers because I had to give up work. She regularly visited me at home to listen to my worries and she signposted me to 'Let's Talk - Wellbeing', which I self-referred myself to. However, this required me to undergo a 50minute phone assessment with an untrained clinician, so I didn't pursue.

The nurse was very good at communicating with me and always provided me with respect and some understanding but she never advised me to register as a carer with my GP, help with benefits or assist me on accessing a carer's assessment. She also never advised me of local support groups or provided me with information about specific services such as the Carers Federation.

Sadly, my husband died last October 2014 and since then I have found out things that I should have been entitled to which would have helped me cope better as a carer. I have also now ironically secured a part-time job at The Carers Federation as an Adult Carers Support Worker, so I hope to improve things for carers and develop the support service for carers across Broxtowe (my newly assigned area).

The point of my story is that although this nurse was very kind and empathetic, she had little knowledge of how to effectively support carers and where to signpost them to for specific help. I have seen from your report re: carers feedback, that my opinion and experience is common and I really think things need to dramatically improve, especially with the introduction of 'The Care Act 2014' in April. I feel annoyed and sad that I missed out on accessing the help I really needed as a carer.

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Response from Deborah Hall, Patient Experience Manager, Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience, Health Partnerships

Posted on behalf of Sharman Aldridge( General Manager)

Dear Candice

Thank you for writing to us and firstly may I offer my condolences for the sad loss of your husband. I was sad to read of your experience with our service and that we were unable to signpost you to other services where you could have received additional support. Carers are a massive resource to the health service and it’s vital that they are supported and I am sorry that this was not the case on this occasion, at what was clearly a very difficult time for you.

At Health Partnership we do provide carer awareness training to all or community nursing teams, we have developed a resource to give staff the knowledge of services available to carers, however as staff members change there may be a lapse in them accessing the training and so they may not always be fully aware of the additional services. This obviously is not what we would wish for people accessing our services and again I apologise for your experience.

As a result of your comments we are going to run the training for all of our staff in the area to ensure that everyone is fully aware of additional services available to carers and that all carers are signposted to appropriate support services.

I am pleased to hear that you have taken up a post with the Carers Federation and I hope you find this fulfilling work.

I would be happy to talk with you further should you wish to do so, please do not hesitate to contact me on 0115 8835000

Kind regards

Sharman Aldridge ( General Manager)

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Response from Julia Parkes, CPN, IAPT County North & Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Candice

May I first of all offer my sincere condolences to you on the very sad loss of your husband. I am sorry not to have responded before now but there has been a problem with the website and my being able to respond.

I can see that you have had a response from Sharman Aldridge from another service.

I am a Clinical Team Leader with the Let's Talk Wellbeing Service and was very sorry to hear that you felt unable to pursue with your therapy following your initial assessment with us and I would like to apologise to you for the experience you feel you have had with us.

I would like to advise you that it is routine for initial assessments to be carried out by a telephone appointment in the first instance with our service. This is to try and ensure that our service is the most appropriate service for clients being referred as soon as possible.

You state that your assessor was untrained and I would like to advise you that Clinicians are fully trained practitioners or in training. All clinicians receive Clinical Supervision with an Accredited Supervisior in line with IAPT requirements.

I would like to offer you the opportunity to discuss your experience with me to see if there is anything that we can do to improve our service for the future as we do not want people to have have a bad experience with us. You can contact me on 0115 9560888.if you wish to do so.

I am pleased to see that you have been able to secure employment with the Carer's Federation in Broxtowe and I am sure you will be an asset to them.

Kind regards

Julia Parkes

Clinical Team Leader

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