Chairman’s June Blog – Carers Week
Carers Week is an annual campaign which aims to highlight the challenges faced by carers, recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK and generally raise awareness of their plight. The week is supported by a partnership of seven charities and the focus this year is on building communities which support carers to look after their loved ones well, while recognising them as individuals with needs of their own.
I wrote last month about the key role Community Pharmacy has in supporting carers. Carers Week is now an opportunity to show your support and I encourage you to get behind the campaign. If you want to know more about building support take a look at this research report, which was published last year. Key concerning facts from the report include:
- Three in four carers don’t feel their role is understood and valued by their community
- 51% have let a health problem go untreated
- 50% said their mental health has worsened
- 31% only get help when it is an emergency
- 72% have given up work or reduced their hours
- 57% are more stressed about being able to care well
- Older carers – 61% have let a health problem go untreated and 59% say their health is becoming a significant worry
There’s a three in five chance that we will become carers at some time in our lives. Therefore, let’s start to build a community resource which offers the support we may one day need to access ourselves. For some of us that time could even be now and with 118,000 unpaid carers in Derbyshire there are plenty of opportunities to make a difference to people’s lives.
Many of you will be actively working towards achieving Healthy Living Pharmacy (HLP) Level 1 accreditation. This is not just a ‘tick box’ exercise, as the underpinning quality criteria need to be evidenced. This can be in the form of an HLP evidence portfolio, so participation in a campaign such as Carers Week could be a part of this. It would fit in well with the ‘Public Health Needs’ and ‘Community Engagement’ criteria, but also give you an opportunity to setup a ‘Health Promotion Zone’ as part of the ‘Health Promoting Environment’ criterion.
I have been asked what support the LPC is offering with developing ideas for health promotion events, so I would like to take this opportunity to commend Carers Week to you. There are now around 170 Health Champions working in our pharmacies. This important training initiative means that we have a valuable resource that we can use to make a difference to people’s lives. Your new Health Champion can get behind this campaign and provide information/support to carers during Carers Week (12th to 18th June).
Want some resources? Following a recent meeting with Adult Care officers, Derbyshire County Council has offered to supply carer information packs for pharmacies to hand out to family/unpaid carers during the awareness week. The packs will include a Guide to Carers services leaflet, a Carers Benefits factsheet and Derbyshire Carers Association leaflet. Pharmacies can also be supplied with printed, laminated copies of a poster to promote the information packs. See below for how to obtain the packs.
You now have your ‘starter for ten’. It would be great to hear about your successes with this campaign, so I would be very interested to learn how you got on (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Alternatively, for those of you on twitter, why not send a tweet to @DerbyshireLPC or @carersweek #carers.
Chairman, Derbyshire LPC
If you’d like supplies of the packs and/or poster, please email the Adult Care Information Team on email@example.com or Tel: 01629 531310. If you could order supplies as soon as possible that would be appreciated.