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Fact sheet

Good practice examples: commissioning services

Red flag scheme, Coventry: Funding and a care support worker(s) for an outing for their whole family

This scheme was developed following feedback from carers that they would like to be able to do things with the person they care for and/or their family, that they had not been able to do because of their caring role or the condition of the cared for person.

Crossroads administer the scheme and provide the care workers. Carers come up with their own ideas of what they want – and all expenses are paid. The only restriction, to keep costs down, is that they cannot go abroad or stay overnight.

Greenwich emergency scheme

Sue Mitchell explains how this scheme evolved:

"As many Centres do, we had what we called a carers emergency card scheme where carers provided the names and contact details of 3 persons that could be contacted in an emergency. We kept the details on file at the centre and gave carers a 'carers’ emergency card' with their own ID number and our telephone number on it - so that it would hopefully be found in case of emergency or accident. The idea was that we would then get the call, notify one of the contacts (if they were not available we would go round and sit until one of them was). This scheme ran for 5 years, overall 497 carers signed up, and we only ever got three calls (and two of those were not because of an emergency). The system worked well for that one emergency.

"However, at an AGM we were feeding back information when a carer asked what would happen if there was an emergency out of hours. We were STUMPED!

"We decided to ask Telecare (the only 24 hour provider in the borough) if they would extend their service to holding the carer’ emergency details and notifying contacts. We told them about the lack of use of the service and explained how carers had said that they found having it around a comfort even though it was not used very often, and Telecare agreed.
"They identified that they could follow the same system in cases where a contact could not be made, as they do already for service users i.e. if carers deposited keys with them they could then visit the service user themselves if necessary. For carers that already had, or who signed up for, the phone system, Telecare could also have the opportunity of talking to the service user over the loudspeaker system when appropriate.
"One practical application of the joint work was that a carer had to go back to Russia for a week to see her dying mother, leaving her Russian speaking husband in the care of her Russian speaking friend. Telecare put in a phone system and the friend was taught seven English words: Help, Mr ????, Ambulance, Police, Doctor, please, ok. Telecare were aware that if there was a call the friend would alert them to what service she felt the service user needed and they would make the call to that service on her behalf explaining the situation in English. When this did actually happen everything went really well. So this was a really positive experience.
"I got myself onto the Telecare steering group as a way of maintaining joint working links etc. and found out that Telecare had under spent on its equipment budget. They suggested offering free phone sets to Carers for 6 months. We also looked at carers being referred to Telecare in their own right if their concern about the behaviour of the person they cared for was impacting on their own lives and they thought that other items of Telecare equipment could prove useful. This was just about to be agreed and implemented when the good Lord gave the local authority a load of money and they 'adopted' the work.
"Carers are now given a comprehensive emergency plan assessment (based on the original format) and their details are logged onto the social services client database so that if in an emergency, where the statutory authorities have to step in, they have a copy of the client’s care plan (updated). The department has also set some of the emergency money aside for a certain number of hours of domiciliary care per week in case of emergency requirements (based on our experience of how often the service would be used). Carers are given 10 Wallet sized ID cards (based on the pan London colours so that they are recognisable by the emergency services), and a key ring, a free key-safe for those who do not wish to leave a key with Telecare, and if required a referral for other items of Telecare equipment. It’s been a wonderful experience with everyone working together to achieve some fantastic outcomes."