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Care needs focus group

Bristol Parent Carers holds meetings with parent carers and staff from Bristol City Council and NHS Bristol Trust, because they have asked us to help them improve the social care assessment services provided for disabled children and parent carers, as part of their Carers Strategy. If you want to participate in any of the opportunities listed below - watch our calendar or email us.

Progress and Achievements 2010-2011, and Activities 2011-2012

1. What parent carers said:
"how can the social care assessment system for children be improved?"

What Bristol Parent Carers did:

  • Arranged focus group meetings and consultations with the Disabled Children's Team.
  • Placed parent carer representatives on the Short Breaks Working Group (former Aiming High Consultation Group), Carers Strategy Implementation Group, and Complex Needs Framework Board.
What the Local Authorities did:
  • The Disabled Children's Team (DCT) is making changes:
  1. It has updated leaflets and their information packs
  2. When calls come in there will be more direct access to social workers, if they are out messages will be taken and dealt with   appropriately, urgent calls will be dealt with within 24 hours, and if parents are unhappy with the response they receive they can call the managers.
  3. All parents coming into the office will be seen - if an assessment is required, a home visit will take place with both the parent and young person.
  4. Someone in the team will be the carers' champion and will attend future focus group meetings.
  • Staff from the Disabled Children's Service attended parent carer awareness training in March 2011.
  • Continued to provide a range of short breaks (through the Aiming High Project in 2010 and the Short Breaks program in 2011), and through the NHS Bristol's Carer's Breaks Pilot Program.
What we are doing now:
  • Our focus group has been helping to make the local authority's Short Breaks Service Statement more parent-friendly, including the new Eligibility Criteria for children to access universal services and specialist services
  • Parents submitted suggestions for the use of capital funds on equipment for short breaks
  • Participating in the commissioning procedure for the new short breaks providers for next year (2012-2013)
What we discovered:
  • The social care assessment process is designed specifically to identify and help with the child's needs, and not with the parent carers' needs.
  • Local authorities are now required by law to provide a range of short breaks for families with disabled children - the question is how will they achieve this with current resources?
2. What parents carers said: " how can parent carers' needs be addressed?"

What Bristol Parent Carers did:
  • Arranged focus group meetings with child and adult social care services to discuss this issue.
  • Prepared a detailed response to a draft proposal for an Assessment Process for Carers' Needs.
  • Placed parent carer representatives on the Carers' Strategy Implementation Group (CSIG), where we have raised a number of issues.
What the local authorities did:
  • Are developing a system for assessing parent carers' needs, from light touch support through to those requiring the DCT's specialist services, and resources for meeting those needs.
  • Learnt lessons from NHS Bristol's Carer's Breaks Pilot Program - it showed that for many carers, providing low cost practical inputs for a short period can make a big difference (therapy sessions, a laundry service, help with gardening, driving lessons, a computer, a hoist, counselling, etc).
  • Have started to develop a system to help parent carers in emergencies, linked to response teams in both child and adult services.
  • Monitored their progress with implementing the Carer's Strategy Action Plan.
What we are doing:
  • Working with the local authorities on the details of the new assessment system and the assessment forms - do you want to be involved?
  • When the draft revised emergency card system is ready, parent carers will be consulted - do you want to be involved?
What we discovered:
  • Local authorities are now required by law to provide assessments of parent carer's needs (separate from their child's needs) - the question is, how can they achieve this with current resources?

For any materials, click on our Downloadable Resources page.

To get involved in any of these activities, and share your skills with us, click on our Contact Us page.


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