Self Help and Community Support

Family, Community and Practical Help

Communicating well, delegating and sharing care responsibilities are key skills to building your own support network.

Family and friends may give support, either regularly or occasionally, if they know how they could help out. It’s important, where possible to match the request for help, to the person, rather than ask someone to do something which is way out of their ‘comfort zone’.

When family and friends live some distance away, they still might be able to help by looking up information for you, making appointments or shopping online for example.

Sometimes the support you need is having someone to listen to you. A carer can easily become isolated so it is important to;

  1. Accept help. Share the care responsibilities or practical tasks when you can.
  2. Give clear details of the tasks you need help with.
  3. Give choices of ways and times to help.
  4. Be encouraging not judgemental.
  5. Thank them for their support.

Charities and Community Groups

Linking up with other carers is great way to get information and recommendations from people in the same position as you and it’s an opportunity to make new friends. Southend Carers run peer support groups and health and wellbeing groups.

Southend Carers Groups and Events

Community centres, libraries, churches and community hubs are a good place to look for information on social groups, lunch clubs and local support. These might be groups for you as the carer or for the person you care for.  It is a good idea to contact the group by telephone or email first to check the latest information.

Community information – useful websites;

SAVS Community Directory

Livewell Southend

Southend Council Asset Map and Community Hubs

South Essex Advocacy Information on local support

South Essex Advocacy Service also run the Hello Life!’ project which helps prevent isolation for people aged 60 or over.

Southend Libraries Home Library Service –  Libraries offer a FREE delivery service for anyone who cannot access their local library. If you or someone you know can’t get to the library due to permanent or temporary disability, illness, frailty or caring responsibilities then a friendly team of Home Library Service Volunteers can deliver books and audio books to your home on a regular basis free of charge.

Condition specific support

Charities and organisations which specialise in giving advice and support for specific health conditions are a good point of contact.  It can be helpful to contact both national charities and local organisations.  Many run groups suitable for the person you care for and for carers. Some examples are;

Breathe Easy Southend – British Lung Foundation support group

Dementia Community Support Team – supporting families living with all types of dementia

Little Heroes ASD support group – for families with a child who is on the autistic spectrum

Rainbow Trust supporting families who have a child with a life threatening or terminal illness 

SEET1 Diabetes Family Group – supporting families who have a child with Type 1 Diabetes

Southend in Sight – the community division of Southend Blind Welfare Organisation

Southend Mencap serving the interests and needs of children and adults with learning disabilities, as well as those of their parents and carers, in the south east of Essex. 

Take Heart Southend – supporting people with heart problems

Trust Links which includes REACH recovery college – supporting people living with mental health conditions and unpaid carers 

Transport

Southend Hospital Care Cars – Volunteer drivers to hospital appointments – call 01702 385125

Age Concern Southend – Volunteer drivers to appointments, social events and shopping

Practical help

TrustMark  is  a ‘not for profit’ social enterprise  endorsed by the government.  It helps  consumers,  when they need work done in and around the home, to find traders  in complete confidence that the work will be of a high quality, protected and at the agreed costs.

Finding a trusted trader

Just the Job is a Southend based company specialising in domestic help including; cleaning, gardening, dog walking and looking after pets, homes and gardens while the owners are away.

Just the Job

Many care companies can help with housework, shopping and meal preparation too.

More advice on finding a trader you can trust can be found on the citizens advice website;

Citizens Advice – FInd a Trader

Shopping

Online shopping, home delivery

This service can overcome some difficulties associated with shopping such as transportation, time commitment and being unable to leave the person you care for.

  • Some home delivery services will if required unpack the shopping and put it away for you for example; Oakhouse foods and Wiltshire Farm Foods

https://www.oakhousefoods.co.uk/

https://www.wiltshirefarmfoods.com/

  • Some home delivery services are accessible to people unable to use the internet as the order can be telephoned through to the store.

Shopping in the store

A shopping trip can be an opportunity to get out and interact with others and to make your own selection of goods.   Many of the larger supermarkets can provide assistance with shopping by providing the following;

  • disabled parking bays
  • a member of staff to go round the shop with you,
  • help with packing
  • carrying the shopping to a car or call for a taxi,
  • motorised shopping carts,
  • trolleys suitable for wheelchair users
  • trolleys with padding and straps suitable for disabled children (age limits apply)
  • wide aisle checkouts
  • induction loops at kiosks
  • seating available at the checkout

Combination of services

Some stores offer a combination of online shopping and home delivery either you shop in the store and they deliver the goods at an agreed time slot or you shop online staff pick and pack the items and you collect them from the store at an agreed time slot.

GP services and Community Health Teams

Services at your GP practice

  • A Carer Register is held by each GP surgery, ask for your details to be put on the register to help your GP give you the most appropriate care.
  • An annual carers health check can help lower your risk in developing a serious illness.
  • Free flu vaccination is available in the run up to winter if you are the main carer for an elderly, disabled or vulnerable person who may be put at risk if you fall ill.
  • More flexibility in making appointments because of caring responsibilities.
  • GP Carer Champion Many GP practices are working towards appointing a member of their medical practicestaff to coordinate the identification and support of carers within the practice.

GP online services

GP online services can give a carer the ability to book and cancel appointments and order repeat prescriptions at a time convenient to them rather than trying to fit everything into the hours when the surgery is open.

If a carer is given full access to the online records of the person they care for they can also see medical information such as test results and details of what has been discussed at appointments. It also gives the ability to check the personal information the surgery holds are correct.  This can be particularly helpful to carers caring from a distance.

A person can ask their GP to give access to one or more trusted people.  Further information on how to give someone authority to access the records can be found on the NHS England website Giving another person access to your GP online services.

Hospital outpatient transport

The East of England Ambulance Service provides non-emergency patient transport services for patients attending hospitals and treatment centres for NHS-funded treatment.

If your GP makes a referral to an NHS outpatient department and the patient is unable to travel by public or private transport for medical reasons, your GP can initiate the first request for the non emergency patient transport service.  The patient can book the transport for any follow-up visits to the treatment centre or hospital.  Bookings must be made at least 48 hours in advance of the appointment.  The booking number is 0300 0134 997 (lines are open Monday to Friday 10.00am to 4.00pm).

Before a booking is made you will be asked some short questions to see if you are eligible to use the service. If you are, transport will be arranged. Please do not book less than 48 hours in advance of your appointment.

Community Health Services

Your GP can make referrals to community health teams which offer invaluable support to the carer and can prevent a hospital admission.

The services available include;

  • Complex Care Coordinators complete home visits to assess and manage the care of chronic conditions.
  • Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team mental health professionals offering treatment and interventions in your home an alternative to hospital admission to promote recovery.
  • Emotional Wellbeing Mental Health Service (EWMHS) –https://www.nelft.nhs.uk/services-ewmhs -mental health support for children and young people. Get in touch on 0300 300 1600 option 2 or email nelft-ewmhs.referrals@nhs.net
  • Everyone Health Southend this service helps with every aspect of health, fitness and wellbeing. It is free for people aged 16 and above who live or work in Southend or are registered with a Southend GP practice. It includes support to lose weight, eat more healthily and get active. Individuals can refer themselves or healthcare professionals such as GP’s and pharmacists can refer patients. More information can be found on the website Everyone Health contact 0333 005 0095 email:  contactcentre@nhs.net
  • Falls Prevention contact the Care Coordination service for advice on falls prevention and staying steady exercises 01702 372 060.
  • First Response mental health team a multi-professional community mental health team, who provide specialist and initial mental health assessment and treatment for up to 6 months.
  • Occupational Therapy Assessments to provide disability aids; equipment and home adaptations.
  • Oxygen team – specialist nurses providing home visits to those with a respiratory health condition.
  • Single Point of Referral (SPOR); formal care visits put in place whilst the cared for person is receiving treatment for a sudden deterioration in health e.g. treatment for an infection.
  • Specialist help for specific conditions such as the Dementia Intensive Support Team (DIST) and the Continence Advisory Service.
  • SWIFT team – medically trained team able to prescribe and administer drugs and carry out home visits to treat a sudden deterioration in a known health condition.
  • Wheelchair service if a wheelchair is required for mobility inside the home.

Pharmacy services

Your local pharmacist can give medication advice which can ease stress and anxiety for the carer and often be of great practical help.  The services available are;

  • Advice to ensure medication is taken correctly, so it works most effectively.
  • If there is a problem with taking medicines the pharmacist may be able to suggest a form of the medicine that’s more acceptable e.g. a soluble or liquid form instead of tablets. Some painkillers can be prescribed as a long-acting patch that you stick on the skin. Check with a pharmacist before you crush tablets or open capsules and mix the powder with food or drink. It’s not always safe to do this.
  • Aids to help with taking medication at the right time – You can ask your pharmacist to provide the medication in blister packs or dosette boxes. These are plastic boxes with small compartments that clearly show which pills need to be taken at what time of day.
  • Repeat prescriptions – Most pharmacies offer a repeat prescription service; the GP surgery send prescriptions directly to the pharmacy or the pharmacist requests the repeat prescription for you.
  • Some pharmacists also offer home delivery services.
  • Medicines review – If you or the person you care for is taking more than one medicine and has a long-term health condition, they can get a free medicines use review with their pharmacist. This is a chance to talk to the pharmacist in confidence about any problems with the medication.

Help with health costs

Some people are eligible for free prescriptions, help with the cost of dental treatment, eye tests and other NHS services.  The link below can help you check whether you are eligible for help with NHS costs https://services.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/check-for-help-paying-nhs-costs/start

 

If you need frequent prescriptions but do not qualify to get them free of charge, you can buy a prepayment certificate which will save you money.  Prescription Pre- Payment Certificate Information

More information including help with the cost of eye and dental treatment can be found on the NHS.uk website. NHS website – Help with health costs

Information on support with the cost of travel to medical appointments is available from the NHS Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS)

Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme

Safe from Abuse and Neglect

The Care Act gives each local authority responsibilities to safeguard adults this means, to protect a person’s right, to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.

Safeguarding is for people who have care and support needs that may make them more vulnerable to abuse or neglect.  This includes adults living with dementia, learning disability, mental ill-health or substance abuse.

Safeguarding includes protecting from all types of abuse; financial, emotional and physical and protecting from neglect including self-neglect.

Reporting concerns

You can report your safeguarding concerns in a number of different ways;

  • Call Essex Police on 101
  • Contact Southend Borough Council Access Team on 01702 215008
  • Ask SAL – Safeguarding Adults Helpline on 08452 66 66 63
  • Use the  Reporting Abuse Form
  • Contact the Crimestoppers Elder Abuse Reporting Line confidentially

on 0800 023 7644 or via the website

Local Authority Responsibility

 The Care Act 2014 requires that each Local Authority must:

  • Set up a Safeguarding Adults Board including representatives from the local authority, NHS and police, which will develop, share and implement a joint safeguarding strategy.
  • Arrange, where appropriate, for an independent advocate to represent and support an adult who is the subject of a safeguarding enquiry.
  • Work with partners in the police and health service, in order to protect adults who are experiencing or at risk of, abuse or neglect.
  • Make enquiries, or ensure others do so, if it believes an adult is experiencing or is at risk of, abuse or neglect. An enquiry should establish whether any action needs to be taken to stop abuse or neglect, and if so, by whom.

Keeping safe out and about

Technology such as mobile phones and GPS trackers can help to support independence whilst giving both carer and the person they care for peace of mind.  The Keep Safe scheme and the Herbert Protocol are two schemes developed to support vulnerable adults when they are out and about.

Keep Safe Scheme

The Keep Safe scheme is run by the organisation SHIELDS which is a charity formed of people who have learning disabilities.  SHIELDS  aim is to represent people with learning disabilities living in Southend, making sure they have a voice about the services they receive. The letters ‘SHIELDS’ stands for Supporting, Helping, Informing Everyone with Learning Disabilities in Southend.

The Keep Safe Scheme is designed to help people with disabilities that live, work, or socialise in Southend, feel safe when they are out in the town. It is for any disabled person or person with Asperger’s over the age of 16.

Members of the Keep Safe Scheme carry a key ring and a wallet card which holds their own details, plus the name and phone number of a trusted person on it. This person can be a family member, a friend, a care worker or anyone that can help if something goes wrong.

Shops and other businesses involved in the scheme will display the ‘Keep Safe’ sticker in their window, and they will help to call the trusted person, the police, or an ambulance if necessary.

For more information and to join the scheme contact the Keep Safe Team info@shieldsparliament.co.uk Telephone 01702 534544

Herbert Protocol

The Herbert Protocol is a national scheme designed to help protect a person living with dementia should they ever go missing. The protocol is being introduced in Essex by Essex Police, in partnership with other agencies, including Alzheimer’s Society, Essex Search and Rescue, Essex County Council and the unitary authorities of Thurrock and Southend.

The scheme encourages carers to complete a form compiled of useful information which could be used in the event of a vulnerable person with dementia going missing. The form includes information on medication required, mobile numbers, places previously located or attended, a photograph, friends, daily routine etc. The form should be kept safe but in a place where it can be easily found if the person it refers to goes missing. It would be helpful if you make several copies, which can be kept safe by care workers, neighbours or relatives.

The police will only ever ask for the form if the person is reported missing it will then reduce the time taken in gathering the relevant information, and aid the police in finding the missing person.

Case study

When her Mum fell and broke her arm Janet visited everyday doing housework and other chores but soon Janet’s high blood pressure started to flare up. Janet found the local pharmacist could order the repeat prescriptions, put the tablets into dosette boxes and deliver them each week to her Mum. A friend recommended someone who did the ironing for six weeks. Janet’s cousins visited her Mum each day while Janet took a few days off and neighbours took her Mum out with them to a local social club which has now become a weekly event. Janet feeling less exhausted, is enjoying ‘quality’ time with her Mum again.

Case study

Joan’s husband is living with dementia.  One morning her husband was unwell and she did not have the strength to help him out of the chair and to the bathroom.  The carer was advised to contact her GP and ask for a SPOR referral. 

It was confirmed that Joan’s husband had an infection.  Carers visited to help with care needs while the infection was treated and he recovered his strength again.

Case study

Dawn was concerned that her brother with additional needs had been befriended by two people who were persuading him to take money out of his account to give to them. Southend Carers helped Dawn report suspected financial abuse. The social care team investigated and helped to resolve the immediate dangers.  Dawn’s brother moved into sheltered accommodation. Dawn became an attorney for her brother’s financial affairs.