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Fact sheet

Personal Experiences

Personal experiences of dealing with Local Authorities from a carer’s perspective

Carers are generally aware that you will have limited resources. What they do say they expect is:

  • To be listened to
  • To be kept informed
  • To be told what they can expect in the way of support
  • To be given good quality information about other sources of help
  • Pragmatic, flexible, timely and non-bureaucratic responses which address the difficulties they face

When assessments have gone well carers’ have said:

I have never used any social services before and approached the meeting with scepticism and an amount of distrust. But I am pleased to say that I was totally wrong and my experience has been all good. I feel confident in contacting them again should I require help and advice and I have also referred another carer friend of mine to them.

We were dealing with my mother’s recently diagnosed Alzheimer’s and were working from an incomplete understanding. Your staff really helped.

Our social worker not only understood the needs and concerns of the service users but also our concerns as carers.

[she] is considerate, positive, sympathetic and constructive in her advice and is sincere in her efforts to help my mother and our family.

[she] discussed all options, including possible provision of respite night-care, upon agreement from her manager. She quickly informed me of positive outcome.

And when it has gone badly:

Was told someone would phone me back but they did not

Staff need to explain clearly what it is about and what they are going to do, as I waited for a reply for a long while so I had to ring again to find out what is happening.

I often felt I was talking a different language and didn't fit service stereotype.

No-one discussed choices.

Useful resources:

Listening to carers: in partnership with SCIE and Carers UK, the four Supporting Carers Beacons (Hertfordshire, Rochdale, Sefton and Sunderland) produced a DVD and training pack for front-line staff on carrying out effective Carers' Assessments, featuring carers talking about what they want out of Carers Assessments: www.listeningtocarers.public-i.tv

For a Scottish perspective on care and carers, see www.digitalstorylibrary.scot.nhs.uk. This is part of the Joint Improvement Team digital storytelling initiative. Videos can be downloaded.

The Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care is an umbrella and representative organisation which supports and contributes to the development and strategic direction of palliative care in Scotland.