This week (8-12 June) is National Carers Week – a fitting time for Bridgewater to launch its Carers Strategy and supporting information plan.
The strategy describes our commitment, vision and direction for how we can better support carers, whilst the action plan sets out the practical actions we plan to take to improve how we work with carers.
The plan sets out how we want to value the important role of carers, with the aim of supporting them better, to provide the best care and help them balance their caring responsibilities with their lives.
Dorothy Whitaker, Non-Executive Director of Bridgewater, a member of the Service Experience Group and Trustee of Wigan and Leigh Carers Centre, said: “Carers play an invaluable role in supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities – be they family or friends.
“It is important we consider the massive contribution they make to thousands of lives.
Whilst Carers Week will not be celebrated in the way many of us envisaged, we need to take time out to reflect on the hours they give in support of those they care for.
“It is important too that our staff who are carers are recognised and are given the time and space to care for their loved ones.”
With one in eight of the population being carers, then this equation, as Dorothy acknowledges, should apply to our workforce and various initiatives aimed at achieving this include flexible working, special leave, additional annual leave, career breaks, a carers’ passport and an occupational health and counselling service.
Yesterday to mark the start of National Carers Week we shared with our staff the experiences of a Bridgewater nursery nurse who recently found herself having to call on her colleagues and social care to support her elderly parents at a time of crisis.
In respect of her parents privacy we are with-holding our colleague’s name but she has asked us to say ‘Thank you’ to her colleagues in Warrington who work for the Rapid Response team, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Continence Service and Community Equipment Stores who all responded when her parents situation at home deteriorated rapidly and unexpectedly.
“My mum has Alzheimers and my dad is her main carer. Unfortunately my dad was taken poorly and had to be admitted to hospital which threw their home situation into chaos.
“Within the space of two hours of my call being made, the rapid response team were at their home carrying out a full assessment.
“Carers started the very next day, visiting my mum twice a day, a physiotherapist and occupational therapist from Bridgewater were at their home two days later and they too carried out a full assessment and advised what aids and equipment were needed.
“On dad’s discharge from hospital they showed him how to use the equipment and the continence team made sure there were a range of products delivered to support my dad in his care of mum.
“Everything that could be done was done in a calm, professional, efficient and super-caring manner. In the space of six days the weight of the world was lifted from my dad’s shoulders. He looks a different man.
“This was all done during Lockdown. We could not have asked for more from everyone involved. Thank you too to my Team Leader who supported me with carers leave so I could move in to care for mum whilst my dad was in hospital.
“I feel proud to be part of something that is doing so much to care for people in these times. These people are fantastic and I can’t thank them enough.”