5th May 2016


Minutes of the meeting

In attendance: Brian P, Rod C, Angela D, Hazel L, Brian L, Tim and Francis W, Terry G, Lawrie & Chris S, John and Margaret I, Carenza W.

1. Apologies

Dick L, Sue C, Carolyn G, Val T, Dianna W.

2 Matters arising

Francis was unclear about the date of the evening meeting at Carers in Hertfordshire which was confirmed in last meetings minutes as 6:30 for 7:00 start on the 13th July in Oxlease House, Travellers Lane Hatfield.

3. Guest Speakers

Sarah and Tanya, our speakers for the evening, agreed to role play what a Carers Assessment might actually look and feel like. Margaret volunteered to play the Carer with Tanya the Assessor and Sarah the Observer. At the outset Tanya stressed that the assessment was wholly about the Carers needs and in the real situation she would have spent some little time getting to know the carer and information about their loved one first. She also acknowledged that this may not be true for all HPFT staff carrying them out.

Tanya asked a series of probing questions and Margaret replied with real responses. The following questions are not verbatim but capture the gist of the short conversation.

  • What is important to you?
  • How does your caring role impact on your life?
  • What would you like to be doing outside your caring role?
  • How would you like things to be different in the future?
  • How do you see your caring role change?
  • What support mechanisms do you have out there?
  • How did you find that experience Margaret?

Sarah made a number of points and questions to the group and discussion centred around:

  • This role play being only a small sample of the normal assessment conversation which had many more questions and could take some 2 hours or more.
  • The conversation being very much focussed on carer’s needs but would also naturally take into account the needs of generated by their loved one.
  • How distressing it might be for the carer ( hence Tanya’s stressing of meeting and getting to know the carer before the assessment)
  • How important the need for empathy and the drawing out of the Carer’s needs – both of which were well demonstrated by Tanya in the role play
  • This being an opportunity for the Carer to open up or unburden in a circumstance they would not ordinarily get in everyday life ( ie just getting on with it)
  • The expectations / results for the carer (possible cash outcome)
  • The expectations / outcomes for the HPFT (with notes going onto the PARIS database) and access for some later analysis perhaps
  • Tanya pointed out that she can and has spoken to the professionals delivering the service on behalf of carers basically asking for more help.
  • In response to the question about assessment outcomes and possible issues with Care Coordinators, Tanya reminded the group that Care Co-ordinators also carry out Care Assessments and there are many more to be carried out
  • In response to Francis and her experience of poor service with the S.P.A. Sarah pointed out that under the Carers Act it is the Carer’s right to ask for a Carer’s assessment even if their loved one has been discharged back to Primary Care.
  • There is general acknowledgement that there is still a long way to go with improvement in service delivery. Many professionals still do not fully recognise that treatment is much more than just handing out tablets.
  • Focus on staff safety and carrying out risk assessments is important but the service user is often left worse off. The social aspects of living with the condition should be taken much more into account which in turn could significantly reduce the burden on carers.

4 Update on Web site development and possible logo

Terry introduced the latest development from the working group via a diagram demonstrating what could go onto our “Home Page”. This to have six buttons or tabs which when clicked on would take you to the relevant pages. The six buttons to take the user to:

  1. About us
  2. New to Mental Health Care and Services
  3. Contact us (with Dick’s contact details)
  4. Meetings (of the group with past minutes and upcoming agendas)
  5. Chat room (later agreed to change to “Members Forum” ie available only to members)
  6. Information sources and support (including web sites of other organisations)

Angela asked who was going to maintain the site and Terry said that we still had to decide how that was to be carried out noting that some of the pages would be reasonably stable while others would require frequent updating eg keeping the “meetings” pages up-to-date. Terry went on to say that the content of the “About us Pages” has been agreed (see attached) but there was still much more work to do on the detailed content of the other pages. We still need to decide on things like a corporate colour for the site and agreeing an appropriate logo for both the web site and stationery.

Terry had previously asked the members of the group to have a go at designing a logo. Unfortunately, no one had yet done so. Undaunted, Terry introduced a two pages of his early attempts at a logo with various emphases in design style, and colour.

Some people liked some of the logos while other people liked completely different ones. All agreed that we should have a logo but there was little or no agreement as to what it should contain.

Our current name is “Dacorum and District Mental Health Support Group for Carers” which most agreed was too long. Terry had dropped the words “Mental Health” from his logos and made use of the initials CSG and avoided colours with little impact like yellow. Some suggestions were to drop “and District” others to drop “Group” still others to drop the use of initials.

Some post meeting thoughts about what our current name conveys Dacorum describes our geographical location or coverage but doesn’t act as a limiter. Carers in Mental Health does limit those who can become members. Support describes what we do Group describes that we come together and requires a collective noun (others could be commune, collective, party, club, cooperative, team, flock, shoal, pod, herd, roost)

Ultimately, no decision was required at this point and Terry tried to encourage all to have a go as it would be fun and involve some deep thinking about what is important for the logo to convey and the best way to convey it. If we get some logos produced by others in the group we could hold a competition and collect votes for the most popular. Examples to be submitted to Terry before the next meeting.

5 Update on summer day out

Given Dicks absence, Hazel provided the following details about the summer day out. The date will be Sunday 24th July and we will visit William McAlpines’ at Henley- upon-Thames. The site has a garden, a farm, a museum and a steam locomotive. The minibus is booked, and will leave Gadebridge Park Bus Stop at 10:00 am and arrive back approx. 6:30 pm. Leaving Henley-upon-Thames at 5:00 pm. The cost will be £10 per person and the cost for minibus will be taken from group fund. Arrangements and details about food and drink will be available at our 2nd June meeting when Dick will need the final numbers. If you need further information before our June meeting, please contact Dick on 01442 823712 .

6 Any Other Business

Brian Parish queried the amount of walking he might have to do at Henley and asked whether he could bring his walker. He suggested that this would easily fit in the minibus without issue. Terry agreed to check with Dick that this would be possible.

Rod brought to the group’s attention to the HPFT Carer’s day to be held as part of Carers week on Thursday 9th June from 9:30 – 4:00 pm at Stanborough House Watford. Terry to email Michelle McKenzie for copy of the poster and distribute it to the group when available.

7 Date of next meeting – Thursday 2nd June 2016