North West Reading Reading Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is working with the other CCGs in Berkshire West to develop integrated commissioning to support unpaid or informal carers.
The CCGs and local authority commissioners have put in a place a range of services intended to:
- support people in a caring role;
- prevent carers’ support needs from increasing;
- help carers to manage the impact caring has on their own health and wellbeing; and
- help carers to enjoy a life outside caring.
A vital element of achieving this will be recognising and supporting informal, family, unpaid carers as expert partners in care. Carers tend to neglect their own health, putting the needs of the person they care for first, often missing routine health check appointments or vaccinations. Caring can particularly impact on mental health as many carers report feeling stressed, anxious and suffering from depression. Carers may also experience social isolation and loneliness as their caring role impacts on their ability to maintain social relationships both through lack of free time but also from limited finances.
NHS England's Integrated approach to identifying and assessing carer health and wellbeing is available here.
Berkshire West CCGs, Reading and West Berkshire Council re-commissioned a new Carers Information and Advice service through Carers Trust East Midlands.
Carers Trust provides a range of support and services which can be accessed via the Carers Hub – funded by Reading Borough Council, West Berkshire Council, North and West Reading CCG, South Reading CCG and Newbury & District CCG. The Reading and West Berkshire Carers Hub offers:
- Information, advice and guidance
- Signposting to other organisations
- Short break accommodation
- Access to Carers support groups
- Free access to local leisure, health and well-being facilities
- ‘Carers Smart’ benefits and discounts
- Free training and caring support
- Access to Carers breaks
- Carers grants
- Peer support
The responsibilities and demands of being a carer can often mean that they overlook their own health and wellbeing. If you are a carer make sure you tell your GP so that it can be recorded on your medical records.
Carers need good sources of help, support and information as they are often focused solely with the health and wellbeing of the person they care for. A practical guide to caring is available here.
Many people do not see themselves as carers. They simply may think of themselves as a friend or family of the person they care for. It is because of this that they often don’t realise there is help available to them as well. Such help could include:
- direct payments
- home care
- housing adaptations
- funding for short breaks or respite
Helpful information for carers in Reading can be found on Reading Borough Council's website here.