Friday, 28 November 2014

Carers Rights Day - #CarersRightsDay

Today, 28th November, marks Carers Rights Day. There are currently an estimated 650,000 unpaid carers in Scotland, which is 1 in 8 Scots, all of whom have undertaken what can be an incredibly demanding role. Often, people are not aware of support that they are entitled to have in order to continue caring for their loved one. This may be practical support, such as replacement care to give the carer time off, help with lifting and bathing, equipment and home adaptations that can be vital in protecting carers’ health. It can also mean a deeper understanding of their rights, to make sure that people are empowered to know what support they are entitled to.
The Dementia Carer Voices project has been working to ensure that the voices of people who care for a loved one with dementia are heard, and that carers are recognised for the expertise that they bring. The ‘You Can Make a Difference’ campaign involves Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw sharing his own personal experiences in caring for his late mum, Joan, along with those who have shared their stories with the project in the hopes of making a positive difference in the lives of others. The campaign asks people to reflect on these personal stories and experiences and make a pledge to make a difference, highlighting the role that each individual can play in ensuring that carers are appreciated and acknowledged as full and equal citizens.

Pledge 2pp A5 leaflet_PRINT  Pledge 2pp A5 leaflet_PRINT2

The Charter of Rights for People with Dementia, their Families and Carers recognised that whilst in theory everyone has the same human rights, people with dementia, their families and carers face cultural, social and economic barriers to fulfilling these. The Charter was designed to empower people with dementia, those who support them and the community as a whole, to ensure their rights are recognised and respected. Carers Scotland recently released the ‘Carers Self-Advocacy Toolkit’  which aims to give carers looking after loved ones increased knowledge, skills and self-confidence in asking for information, products and services and also advice on how to challenge decisions effectively.
It is essential that people who work in health and social care get to know the person they are supporting and find out what is important to them in order to provide the best support. Dementia Carer Voices has been a strong supporter of the ‘Getting to Know Me’ document from Alzheimer Scotland and the 5 ‘Must Do With Me’ action points from the Person Centred Health Care Collaborative, which is working to ensure that health and care services are focused on people, their families and carers. You can find out more about other available supports and initiatives on the Dementia Carer Voices Help and Information page here.
charter getting-to-know-me

Carers Rights Day provides the perfect opportunity to recognise the tireless efforts of unpaid carers throughout the country, and to recognise the role that every one of us can play to make a positive difference in the lives of people with dementia and their carers. If you would like to join the 2500 people who have already made a pledge, please email your pledge to or to view the pledges we have received so far, please visit
Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
DCV photo DementiaCarerRGBlandscape3_zpsa2f3d5ff.jpg

Taking care of Scotland's carers - Viewpoint From Ian Welsh CEO ALLIANCE Scotland

Taking care of Scotland's carers

Three in five of us will become carers at some point in our lives. It’s a role that many don’t choose but carry out because we love the people that we care for.  For family carers the experience can, in equal measure, be fulfilling, rewarding, tiring and frustrating – but without the right support it can potentially have a significantly negative impact on the carer’s health and wellbeing.

At the ALLIANCE, drawing on the voice, experience and expertise of unpaid carers is the driving force behind a number of our programmes.

Through our growing ‘Involvement Network’, we have been able to support people who use support and services, including carers, to contribute to a diverse range of campaigning and policy activities. Additionally, through our role in the Scottish National Action Plan for Human Rights Health and Social Care Action Group, we will be working with the Scottish Government and others to progress the commitment to a new 'Carers Rights Charter for Scotland.’ 

Another example is our Dementia Carer Voices project, which has provided a platform for carers to share their experiences of caring for a loved one living with dementia.  The hundreds of letters the project has collected from carers provide an insight into a world of crisis situations, ‘lost futures’ and all too often ‘fights’ or ‘struggles’ to access support.  After reading them, it is impossible not to be left asking the question – what more can, and should be done to support Scotland’s carers?

This is the issue that the Scottish Government recently invited local authorities, health boards, third sector organisations and carers themselves to consider as part of their consultation on new legislation to “promote, defend and extend” the rights of carers and young carers across the country.

Within their proposals the carer’s assessment – the gateway to potential support for the carer – is identified as a key area for reform, with a number of changes aimed at improving the uptake, and quality of the process. These include widening the current eligibility rules to extend coverage to all carers and breaking away from the language of “assessment” by changing their name to the more appealing “Carer Support Plan.”

The new law won’t prescribe a list of issues that the Carer’s Support Plan must include, perhaps a wise move to avoid it being construed as a “tick-box” exercise. 

We feel, however, that this risks missing an opportunity to provide support to a group of carers who are often overlooked.  One of our members, ENABLE Scotland, has been at the forefront of advocating on behalf of older carers of people with learning disabilities, calling for additional support to help them to plan for a time when they are no longer able to care.  The growing number of people with learning disabilities living for longer, whilst a happy problem to have, means that this is now more important than ever – but most family carers don’t have a written plan for an emergency and many haven’t communicated the wishes of the person they care for to a family member.

That’s why we’ve backed ENABLE Scotland’s calls to ensure carers are supported as part of their Support Plan to consider what arrangements should be put in place should an emergency situation arise.  This legislation has the potential to not only provide reassurance and peace of mind for the carer, but to improve outcomes for the cared-for person by reducing the risk of inappropriate admissions to hospital or care home settings. 

No matter what name it is given, the value that carers attach to the assessment process is unsurprisingly most closely determined by its’ overall outcome in terms of opening the door to services and support that assist them in their caring role. 

Although most carers currently have a right to an assessment, they do not enjoy the corresponding right to receive the services they are assessed as needing – an anomaly which can understandably be the source of much frustration and risks rendering the process, in the words of one carer, simply a “paper exercise.” 

The proposals could change this, with the potential introduction of a new duty on local authorities requiring them for the first time to provide support to carers who meet defined eligibility criteria. Along with our members from the National Carer Organisations including Carers Scotland, the Coalition of Carers in Scotland and Carers Trust Scotland, we are hopeful that this move could provide much-needed clarity to carers on what they are entitled to and address current inconsistencies in access to support both across and within local authority areas.

Its success however, would ultimately depend on the development of the eligibility criteria for carer support and particularly, the level at which this is set. There is a danger that, if this is set too high, we risk losing the benefits of preventative, often inexpensive interventions that can enable carers to maintain their caring role, delay or prevent the need for crisis interventions and therefore produce cost savings by reducing the need for more acute services at a later stage. 

The contribution of unpaid carers will be central to achieving our collective vision for the future of Health and Social Care, in which everyone is able to live longer, healthier lives at home, or in a homely setting. It is therefore vital that we seize this opportunity to ensure that effective and efficient support for carers, preventing future need, is in place to support this shift in the balance of care without creating an unmanageable burden on Scotland’s carers, and prevent today’s carers from becoming tomorrow’s cared for.

Ian Welsh, Chief Executive
Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland

Thursday, 27 November 2014

ALISS (A Local Information System for Scotland) A search and collaboration tool for Health and Wellbeing in Scotland

ALISS (A Local Information System for Scotland) is a search and collaboration tool for Health and Wellbeing in Scotland. @ALLIANCEScot

You can view ALISS at the link here

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Thank you East and North Herts NHS Trust StudentConference Lister Hospital



With great thanks to Carolyn Fowler Assistant Director of Nursing, Education and Research East & North Herts NHS Trust and Wendy Fowler nurse education for the kind invite to speak at Student conference Lister Hosptial Today 

And a BIG thank you from my heart to all the inspiring students and staff I had the privilege to meet today 

I had the great privilege speak at meet and listen to Caroylin speaking at a patients stories conference a few months  back and I was very honored to be invited to speak today at the student conference 

I travelled back to Glasgow with a smile in my heart tonight 

 Thank you Carolyn,Wendy all the amazing people I met today the inspiring pledges and all at East & North Herts NHS Trust for the kind invite 

Thank you 



Monday, 17 November 2014

27th Nov consultation event on the on the Standards for Older People in Acute Care at The Alliance Scotland

Everyone using healthcare services in Scotland is entitled to the same level of care regardless of their age, however, it is recognised that older people are admitted more often to hospital, and can face problems not experienced by other user groups – for example rehabilitation and discharge.
Healthcare Improvement Scotland is in the process of revising the 2002 “Clinical Standards for Older People in Acute Care” and have produced a set of draft standards for consultation. These are now available for download and comment from the Healthcare Improvement Scotland website, at >
Acute care is defined as when a person is treated for an immediate and severe episode of illness, recovery from surgery or from injuries sustained in an accident. Acute care is usually given in a hospital and is often for only a short time.
The ALLIANCE and Healthcare Improvement Scotland will be holding a consultation event on the on the Standards for Older People in Acute Care, which aims to find out what people think of the revised standards, if they reflect what people would like to see, and to use this feedback to shape the updated standards before they are finalised.
What do the draft standards focus on?
Adopting a person centred approach by involving patients and carers in every decision about their care and treatment throughout their journey of care. To help focus attention on this aim at each stage of the patient journey we have listed the essential criteria under the following four themes:
1.        Person centred care – dignity, respect and compassion for older people using hospital services
2.        Safe and effective care – older people are cared for in the right place at the right time
3.        Admission to hospital – older people are assessed to quickly determine the treatment required
4.        Discharge from hospital – older people are supported during their rehabilitation and return home

The consultation event will take place in Glasgow on 27th November between 11 - 14.00, lunch will be provided. To register your interest please contact:

Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
DCV photo DementiaCarerRGBlandscape3_zpsa2f3d5ff.jpg

wednesday Speaking Tayside wide Podiatry Development Day on Dementia #AHPS


With great thanks to  Liz Oakley Specialist Podiatrist Perth & Kinross CHP NHS Tayside for the kind invite to speak at the Tayside wide Podiatry Development Day on Dementia  November 17th

A big thank you also to Shelagh Creegan AHP national lead NHS Tayside for the kind introduction you can follow Shelagh on twitter @ShelaghAHP or follow her blog here
The event will be held  Riverside Church and there will be approximately 70 Podiatrists from across Tayside at the event  
I look very much forward to attending, Learning ,Listening and speaking

Thank you Liz for the kind invite and opportunity 


Wednesday 19 November 2014
Riverside Chuch, Bute Drive, Perth, PH1 3BG


8.30am-8.50am                    Registration

8:50am-9.00am                    House Keeping

9.00am-10.00am                  “You Can Make a Difference” Tour – A                                                       personal account of caring for someone with                                           dementia – Tommy Whitelaw

10.00am-10.45am                “Make Every Moment Count” - Edith                                                           MacIntosh – Rehabilitation Consultant                                                       Care Inspectorate

10.45am-11.00am                Coffee

11.00am-12noon                  Promoting Excellence Level 1 Training –                                                   Fiona Matthew – Alzheimer Scotland                                                                    Dementia Advisor, Rachel Milne – Senior                                                   Charge Nurse – Care Home Advisor, Valerie                                              Nelson – Learning Development Officer/MHO                                               Perth & Kinross Council

12noon-1.00pm                             Lunch

1.00pm-2.45pm                    Promoting Excellence

2.45pm-3.00pm                    Comfort Break

3.00pm-4.00pm                    Communication and Behaviour – Valerie                                                   Nelson

Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
DCV photo DementiaCarerRGBlandscape3_zpsa2f3d5ff.jpg

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Today Speaking University of Glasgow School of Nursing


With Great thanks to Jane Joy senior Lecturer Glasgow University School of Nursing for the kind invite to speak  to Nursing students on Monday 

I have had the great honor to speak at the University a few times before in fact I was a guest speaker a few weeks back at a  staff nurse development day

A big thank you to all who took time to attend that day for the kindness and for the pledges
you can view the pledges from today HERE 

last year I had the great privilege to give two talks at the University one to students and the other at a nurse development day ( a wee photo below with some of the students) 

in fact I am working with the University on the letters I receive  

Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here! 
DCV photo DementiaCarerRGBlandscape3_zpsa2f3d5ff.jpg

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Self Management IMPACT Fund Round 4 Open forApplications #UnpaidCarers # OlderAdults

Self Management IMPACT Fund Round 4 Open for Applications

The ALLIANCE are delighted to announce that Round 4 of the Self Management IMPACT Fund is now open for applications, deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 19th December 2014.
The Self Management IMPACT Fund is building upon the learning from the Self Management Fund and provides support to third sector organisations to develop their self management work over the period 2013/14 - 2015/16.  
The IMPACT Fund provides a unique opportunity for third sector organisations and partnerships to develop and strengthen new project ideas that support self management as well as building upon existing approaches. 
Themes for Round 4 of The Fund are as follows:
  • Self Management and Unpaid Carers
  • Self Management and Volunteering
  • Self Management and Technology
  • Self Management and Older Adults
  • Raising awareness of Self Management and the ‘My Conditions My Terms My Life’ Awareness Raising Campaign
An application form for the IMPACT fund can be downloaded here Guidance notes on applying to The IMPACT Fund can be downloaded here.  Frequently asked questions regarding applying for the IMPACT fund can be found here
For more information on how to apply or for pre-application support please contact Kevin Geddes (Director of Development and Improvement)  or Emma Goodlad (Grants and Impact Officer) 
The ALLIANCE grants team offer support to organisations to strengthen ideas and applications.

Self Management IMPACT Fund
The IMPACT Fund has so far supported 73 innovative projects to develop self management approaches across Scotland.  Find out more about the projects here.  
The IMPACT Fund has already demonstrated essential learning about the impact of self management:  
  • Even a small investment delivered using asset based approaches can lead to significant outcomes in terms of quality of life and wellbeing, building capacity within people and communities.  Valuing lived experience and developing meaningful relationships has been core to the way the projects work.
  • A central feature of all projects has been the involvement of people with long term conditions in the design, delivery and evaluation of the projects.  Learning has also identified that adopting a flexible approach and providing choice and encouraging people to develop aspirations for the future is central to the support many people need.  
The Fund is a key recommendation of 'Gaun Yersel' - The Self Management Strategy for Scotland' published in 2008 in partnership between The ALLIANCE and the Scottish Government.

Learning from the Self Management Fund

During the period from 2009/10 - 2010/11 the Self Management Fund for Scotland invested £4m and supported 81 projects across Scotland.  
The Evaluation Report reviews the background, aims and achievements of the Fund, and has been described as a leading example of how a funder and funded projects can work together to share learning. You can download a copy of the report below:
IMPACT - Evaluation Report Published
Following on from the success of the Self Managment Fund, the Scottish Government granted an additional allocation of £1,756,000 for 2011/12 to support development and partnership opportunities for projects that were supported via the Self Managment Fund. 30 projects received funding to develop their work on Self Management. 
The Development Fund Evaluation Report considers how the aims and objectives of the Self Management Development Fund have been realised, and focuses on the processes involved. 
Download the Interim Development Fund Evaluation Report here
The Focus on Development Report highlights the range of ways that the Self Management Fund projects developed their ideas and approaches – and features some new inspirational Case Studies. 
Self Management Fund Special Reports
Following the launch of the Interim Evaluation Report, The ALLIANCE produced a series of Special Reports on the Self Management Fund. These reports focus on the themes of the evaluation, and highlight some of the great projects around the country.
Click here for more information on the aims and priorities of the fund, and for full details on the successful projects from the first and second and third rounds and identification of future priorities, please read more here.

DCV Speaking at the Paradigm in Dementia Care and Support – driving innovation in education conference Dec 2nd


With great thanks to  Susanne Forrest | Programme Director | NHS Education for Scotland for the kind invite  for Dementia Carer Voices to attend and speak at The  Shifting the Paradigm in Dementia Care and Support – driving innovation in education conference Dec 2nd

My Mentor and ALLIANCE Dierector  Irene Oldfather who is also giving a talk  on Rights on the day 
will  also speak about our ' Make a difference ' campaign and the wider project


We are also very honored to attend the Promoting excellence Programme board meetings and I also promote this initiative  on my tour and our stands 

Thank you Sussane for the kind opportunity to speak about " making a difference " 

Friday, 7 November 2014

Dementia Carer Voices Oct - Nov Newsletter is now Available


Welcome to the latest edition of the Dementia Carer Voices Project's newsletter, which will keep you up to date with our latest activity.
This month features the 'You Can Make a Difference' exhibition at the Scottish Parliament, the Community Channel filming and some great guest contributions to our Dementia Carer Voices blog site, as well as news from our network.

You can read the newsletter via the link here 


My mums name was Joan ,my Mum Had Dementia - our Story 9 Short Films

Tommy’s speech, providing a carer’s perspective,  on the theme of “ No – one ever asked   ” highlighted the transformational impact that ...