This weeks guest blog post comes from Gillian Reid, Senior Project Manager at Enable Scotland. Gillian met one of our ALLIANCE colleagues recently at the Cross Party Group on Carers and we got in touch for her to write a piece for our blogs . Lets see what Gillian has to tell us about emergency planning for carers..
Enable Scotland staff and carers visit Joan Mcalpine MSP at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh to celebrate positive amendments being made to the Scotland Bill for Carers. back row: Gillian Reid, Senior project manager, Joan McAlpine MSP, Salman Amin, Project worker, Kelly Munro, Project worker picture by Alex Hewitt email@example.com 07789 871 540
Supporting carers to make emergency plans can help to reduce the anxiety that carers feel about the potential unplanned circumstances which can prevent them from carrying out their caring role. We know that carers will focus on the health and wellbeing of the person they care for; sometimes to the detriment of their own. Preparing an emergency plan can provide peace of mind for carers as an assurance that the person they care for will be looked after in their absence.
An emergency plan is a written document which sets out the practical arrangements for short term circumstances when the main, unpaid carer is unavailable. An emergency means different things to different people. Often the word ‘emergency’ conjures up images of flashing lights and the involvement of the emergency services but it needn’t be that dramatic. It is the potential impact of the situation on the carer and the person they care for which determines whether or not it is an emergency.
Carer 1 is delayed due to her car breaking down. Her son is due home at 3pm and it is already 2.50pm. Carer 1, however, knows that her son will be safe at home for an hour or two on his own. She will need to be home, or arrange for someone else to be there, by 5pm as her son receives medication and needs his meals prepared for him. This is apotential emergency.
Carer 2 is on the bus home when it breaks down. Carer 2 provides round the clock care for her mum who has dementia. The befriender is with her mum for two hours to allow the carer to pop to the shops. The befriender is due to leave in 15 minutes. The carer will not be home in time. This is an immediate emergency for Carer 2 and her mum.
Carer 3 is delayed on a train home from work due to a signalling failure. His wife is at a physiotherapy appointment and he must pick her up from the hospital as she cannot travel independently. He has no mobile phone signal. Carer 3 and his wife have an emergency plan so the hospital knows who to call when they cannot reach him. A family friend steps in and picks his wife up from the hospital. The emergency planprevents the emergencyfrom becoming a crisis.
The process of emergency planning encourages carers to identify informal networks of support around the person they care for. Carers are urged to talk to their family, friends and neighbours about emergency planning. These conversations will include what care and support the person needs, who can help out and for how long. The detail is then written into a plan which is read and signed by everyone who is named in the plan. The plan should then be shared with relevant individuals and its location within the household should be known. Only by sharing the plan can it be put into action in an emergency situation.
Last week , the Carers (Scotland) Bill was passed by MSPs. This new legislation was amended at Stage 2 to give carers the right to emergency planning conversations as part of the Adult Carer Support Plan and Young Carer Statement process. Furthermore, information and advice about emergency planning must be made available to carers through the localised Information and Advice Services.
ENABLE Scotland has been working with the government on these amendments. Our Picking up the Pieces project is funded by the government to increase and facilitate access to emergency planning for carers across the country. Emergency planning is relevant to all carers irrespective of their age or the health condition of the person they care for. We want to make sure all carers are thinking about emergency planning and being offered the support they need to prepare an emergency plan. As such, we have developed new resources to help carers to make their own emergency plan.
The Emergency Planning Toolkit takes carers on a journey – from thinking about why they might need an emergency plan, through the discussions with emergency contacts, the detail required about the person they care for and, finally, who to share the plan with. The Toolkit has been designed to support carers with this process in their own time, at their own pace. This Toolkit can also be used by professionals as a framework for emergency planning discussions with carers.
We have also developed an Emergency Plan template which carers can populate once all of their emergency planning discussions have taken place and a handy guide – ‘The Who, What and Why of Emergency Planning’ is a useful introduction to the process.
The Picking up the Pieces team are also offering emergency planning training to all frontline staff who regularly work with carers.
If you would like hard copies of the resources, more information on emergency planning or Picking up the Pieces or if you are interested in booking a training course in your area please contact Gillian Reid, Senior Project Manager on 01698 737124 /firstname.lastname@example.org
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