7th November 2019

AttendingDick & Hazel L, Margaret I, Tim W, Norma Y, Angela D, Terry G, Brian L, Brenda M, Max ? Angela D,

Guest speakerWill Davies of CIH talking about CIH and Advocacy

After being welcomed by Dick, Will stated that his Job Title within CIH is Carer’s Advocate and Sub-Team Leader of their Involvement Team working one to one with Carers.

He began with a PowerPoint presentation about Carers and the CIH. as summarised below:

Unpaid carers in the UK

In the UK there are some 7.3 million people caring for someone every day

  • 1 in 6 Adults may be unpaid carers
  • 40% carers say that they haven’t had a day off in over a year
  • 1 in 7 are juggling caring and work

In Hertfordshire

  • 114 000 carers in the county
  • 78 000 spend 1 – 19 hours caring
  • 13 000 are between 20 and 49
  • 22 000 spend over 50 hours per week caring

CIH is a charity receiving funding from numerous sources.  Its work with carers is as follows:

  • to make carers visible
  • carers to feel confident and in control
  • carers to be recognised and appreciated for their contribution
  • carers to have a stronger voice in the system
  • State of caring in 2019

Planning Caring (by Carer Support Advisers CSAs )

  • signposting including referring carers to Money Advice Unit
  • helping carers to look after their health
  • helping carers to know “where to turn next”

He also talked a little about

  • the Discount card and Passport
  • the Care Waves magazine
  • Local Hubs
  • Involvement Forums and their guest speakers with Q&A sessions
  • the mentoring scheme or buddy system

Having a break schemes:

  1. make a difference (some possibility of small grant to reduce isolation)
  2. Cross roads care
  3. a range of topics workshops (as listed on their web-site)
  • Having a say with CIH coordinating Carer responses (eg the overnight stay units were to be reduced from 8 to 5 that was resisted via coordination of views from carers.
  • Bereavement support group noting that the carer can receive support for up to 3 years following their loved ones death.

The Triangle of Care – Will shared his experiences of issues and shortfalls eg non-delivery, confidentiality restrictions and increasingly, where staff are new, they have yet to receive training in it.

Carer’s assessment (there is a booklet entitled “preparing for your assessment”)

  • only 27% have received an interview in the last 12 months. The reason why this was so low was not known
  • contingency plans should be included including those for a short emergency time and for the long term eg for aged carers. However, with very little proactivity (ie often not mentioned) there is a very low take up

Turning next to Advocacy, Will reported that he once worked for POhWER and went on to share his experiences. Starting with a definition which effectively boils down to:

Advocacy is

  • Acting on behalf of the interests of the person.

Advocacy is NOT

  • giving advice – legal or otherwise
  • telling people what to do
  • imposing own views or beliefs on someone
  • refusing to support if they are making an unwise decision
  • going outside the boundaries of the advocacy relationship

There are two main aspects to advocacy

  • Firstly knowing what should happen ie- ones rights and the Standards of Quality, Safety and Acceptable delay in obtaining the services that they need. This may also include those little known services that can only be asked for when you know about them – here advocates often do know.
  • Secondly having the skills to do something about any shortfalls ie communication (written and verbal), making the case to the provider asking for better explanations in detail which if not acted upon can formally complain on clients behalf.

Often the advocate will work within family situations and not just providers like the HPFT

CIH advocacy tasks

  • one to one advocacy for carers
  • write emails, letters, phone calls
  • chase up assessments eg for OT, PIP etc
  • attend assessment reviews together with the client
  • respond to referrals from internal Carer Support Advisers, Herts Help, Social workers

Types of advocacy (of which some are statutory)

  • Independent MH (for those under section)
  • Independent MH Capacity (where the assumption is that we all have capacity until we are told that we don’t have it)
  • NHS complaints advocacy (Hospitals and Care Homes where the outcome is at best an apology)
  • Care Act 2014 advocacy

Discussion went on to address how we carer members of the group can be better advocates for our loved ones without formally involving Will who is already overloaded. He suggested sources of information about what we should expect of the service (example the HPFT booklet “What should happen in Hospital”) but when it involved complex issues like PIP it was felt that it would be beyond the skills of most of us in our caring role – so additional support would be needed.

Agenda items

Apologies: Rod C, Carolyn G, Francis W, Ann R, Sue C, Sarah W, Kevin M, John I.

Minutes of last meeting3rd October 2019

Matters arising- There were no matters arising and the minutes accepted as a true record

Update on Poster and Leaflets: This item was raised by Dick to find out how they were progressing.  Tim spoke to this saying that the previously agreed January deadline was now a top priority and would be met with the final copy ready for the group’s agreement.  This would be followed soon after by the final design from the already identified printer/design company. He also stated that there would be no need for another working party meeting.

Terry reminded the group that the web-site fee is up for renewal in September 2020. He suggested that before we renew, we should revisit the purpose of the site and its effectiveness or usefulness to us in some or all of the following:

  • a recruitment tool to obtain new carer members
  • a reference of MH information and signposting for new carers
  • a record of our meetings for reference by members

It was acknowledged that the site is still not “Search Engine Friendly” in that a Google doesn’t bring up our web-site in the list when you enter key words like Carers or Carers in Dacorum.  There were technical reasons for this but was not discussed in any detail.  Currently the only way to access the site is to enter the full address ie (caringforcarersindacorum.com)

Upcoming events: Christmas Meal at the Plough in Leverstock Green.  Dick reported

  • that we now have met the target of 25 people attending with a further 4 yet to respond with their menu choices
  • there will be 10% discount on the published prices £16.95 for 2 courses and £19.95 for 3 courses (for members only)
  • that drinks on the night will be free (discount and free drinks made possible by the £150 donated from Dick’s Quiz night
  • Each to bring a prize for the raffle (approx value £5 plus)

Any Other Business: Dick reported to the group that he had received an award – “Special Contribution to the NHS” and he and Hazel were invited to a free dinner. (NB for which he has recently bought a new suit)

Hazel wanted the group to know about the tremendous effort and support of Angela D and Francis W in the actual delivery of the quiz night and formally wanted to record hers and Dicks thanks.

Date of next meeting – Our Christmas Dinner on the 5th December at the Plough in Leverstock Green

Our January meeting will be the second Thursday of the month with Sam Slayter (The HPFT Inclusion and Engagement Team Manager) as our speaker.