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Fact sheet

Lothian Carers Centres Partnership within NHS Lothian

This was a joint approach by the three carer organisations in Lothian region:

• VOCAL which covers the City of Edinburgh and Midlothian
• Carers of East Lothian (CoEL) which covers East Lothian
• Carers of West Lothian (CoWL) which covers West Lothian

The Moffat Charitable Trust funding created four new Carer Practitioner posts based in the Lothian PRTC Carers Centres. The overall aims of this team were to:

• Strengthen partnership working between NHS Lothian, local authority social work departments, the PRTC Carers Centres in Lothian, and carers
• Strengthen policy and practice in relation to supporting carers during hospital discharge and through carers’ assessments
• Make a positive difference to the quality of hospital discharge and carers’ assessments benefiting at least 1,200 carers over the duration of the project

The Lothian PRTC Carers Centres already had excellent links at a policy level with NHS Lothian and their respective local authorities. The project builds on these by embedding the ‘Carer Practitioners’ within NHS and social work teams to strengthen good practice in the way carers are supported.

East Lothian and Midlothian Carer Practitioner posts
The East Lothian and Midlothian Carer Practitioners focused on developing carers’ assessments as part of improvements to the Single Shared Assessment process. The role of carers as ‘partners in care’ is integrated into this process through carers’ assessments. The Single Shared Assessment process in East Lothian and Midlothian has been co-ordinated by a Project Manager who took up post at the end of August 2007. The Carer Practitioners are working in partnership with health and social care and the Single Shared Assessment Project Manager to improve the carer assessment process, in terms of both accessibility and outcomes. The work delivered a range of successes including:

• A programme of joint training sessions for local community care practitioners
• Co-working with front-line staff on complex carers’ assessments
• Supporting NHS and social care staff teams to make any changes in their own practice
• Providing evidence for any policy or management improvements

Edinburgh and West Lothian Carer Practitioner posts
These posts focused on supporting carers through the hospital discharge process. The West Lothian post is based within St John’s Hospital in Livingston and in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, and is working with ward staff to support carers prior to the point of discharge of the person they care for. The Edinburgh post is based with social work teams and is working to support carers once their loved one has been discharged from hospital. The achievements for these posts included:

• Work alongside NHS primary care and social work staff to identify carers looking after someone at risk of hospital (re-)admission
• Work alongside hospital ward staff and discharge planning services to identify carers looking after someone soon to be discharged from hospital
• Develop new processes, pathways and services that enhance the ability of carers in the target groups to prevent hospital (re-)admissions and which support appropriate hospital discharge