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Fact sheet

Berkshire Carer Preparation Programme

The Carer Preparation Programme is a true partnership project with involvement from Berkshire LSC, Community Council for Berkshire (CCB), Age Concern Slough, Slough Social Services, Windsor Ascot and Maidenhead PCT, Slough PCT and the Berkshire Carers' Centre.

The project provides learning opportunities for carers to equip them with new skills, reduce feelings of isolation and inspire confidence. It is aimed at anyone who provides regular unpaid help to a friend or family member who is frail, sick, disabled or has a special need. We have a huge variety of initiatives funded through the project, one of which is the Carer Preparation Programme.

The project is funded by the Berkshire Learning and Skills Council (LSC) with European Social Fund money. The Community Council for Berkshire is the contract holder for the overall project, entitled 'First Steps to Learning – A Carer Development Programme'.

Carer Preparation Programme – Aims and rationale

The objective of this project is to develop and deliver a training programme that prepares individuals to become informal carers. In particular, the programme should address some of the practical care skills identified by carers, but also with a high component to address the personal health protection and other issues relating to the carer themselves.


1. To identify carers at an early stage either before the discharge of the person needing care from a hospital bed or by the General Practitioner following a change in condition.


Supports the development of a carers register and supports the need to address discharge in a holistic manner taking in to consideration not just the patient but all others that will be affected by the change in circumstances.

2. To offer all carers participation in structured sessions which prepares them for the caring role by giving them the core information and practical skills training needed by anyone in a caring role. The program would also need to have the flexibility to address individual and or disease-specific issues. Preferably attendance at a minimum of one session would be arranged prior to the person taking responsibility for the cared-for.


Early identification and preparation of people taking on a caring role has the potential to reduce failed discharges, reduce re-admission and reduce stress and physical injury to the carer. There is also a need to ensure that all carers have the opportunity to access consistent high quality information.

3. Follow-up sessions to address issues as they arise and also give the carer the opportunity to discuss difficulties with people in similar circumstances


Even with planned preparation there are often issues which were not thought of until the cared for person is at home. A carer can feel very alone, and uncertain who to ask advice from, this will give them the opportunity to discuss problems with care professionals but also with peers. There is also an opportunity for carers to form relationships with other carers and to learn from and support each other.


  • Acute Hospitals – to refer carers appropriately and early after identification
  • General Practitioners and or members of the primary health care team – to refer when deterioration in a home situation requires a person to become a carer
  • Therapists – both for the identification of carers but also to contribute to the program with advice and information
  • Social Services/Borough Council – to contribute to the program with advice and information
  • Voluntary Services – to coordinate the programme, to contribute to the program with information and advice and to provide further support options at the end of the program
  • Professionals - to provide teaching on clinical skills/knowledge

Issues to be addressed in the program

The program includes a flexible series of sessions, including but not limited to the following:

  • What it is like to be a carer
  • Accessing support services, such as respite
  • Moving and Handling
  • Back care
  • Skin care
  • Understanding the psychological effect of chronic disease/dependence
  • Dealing with difficult behaviour/frustration
  • Assertiveness
  • Nutrition
  • Relaxation techniques for carers
  • Medication management
  • Planning for an emergency
  • Financial information
  • Equipment/aids

Service Co-ordination

Co-ordination of the Carer Preparation Programme is carried out by a link worker employed by Age Concern Slough. The link worker will carry out the following functions:

  • Liaise with Upton Park Hospital, St Marks Hospital and King Edward VII Hospital to accept carer referrals, link carers to the Carer Preparation Programme and confirm training delivery arrangements for each training session
  • Ensure that each carer enrolled onto the programme attends at least one training session
  • Be responsible for the completion of the required paperwork for each carer and each session and forward the paperwork to the Community Council for Berkshire within 5 working days of the session.
  • Aim to enrol a minimum of 15 carers onto each session
  • Consider development of the programme for discussion before the end of the six month pilot timeframe

Berkshire Carer Preparation Poster (294 KB)

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