supporting-families-carers
supporting-families-carers

Supporting Families and Carers

Overview

Families and local community supports are typically the first responders to people with mental illness, suicide risk and problematic drug and alcohol use. Much of the care that happens in Australia is provided by family members, despite not often recognising themselves as formal ‘carers’. People providing care, whether formal or informal, will themselves have support needs and their caring role may have negative impacts on their own lives. Chapter two of Planning for Wellbeing is focused on supporting families and carers.

Key documents

Planning for Wellbeing – Full plan

Planning for Wellbeing – Summary

Planning for Wellbeing – Fact sheet

Planning for Wellbeing - Year one implementation report

Objectives and actions

2.1.1

All providers to promote the Carer Gateway and regional Integrated Carer Support Service to Carers and Families and ensure specific mental health carer advocacy, information and capacity building support is available for Carers in relation to mental health, suicide prevention and Alcohol and Other Drugs

Planned completion

2019/20

Status

On hold

2.2.1

Review the generic Carer pathway for Carers and review inclusion of Carer information and supports in HealthPathways every 12 months

Planned completion

2019/20

Status

On hold

2.2.2

Encourage providers to nominate a named contact person for Carers, such as a peer worker or Carer liaison role

Planned completion

2019/20

Status

Not started

Updated

2.2.3

Develop a platform for the promotion of services and supports providing income and employment support to Carers, particularly in peer worker roles

Planned completion

2019/20

Status

Not started

Updated

2.3.1

Ensure providers to incorporate approaches such as the ‘Triangle of Care’ model where consumers, carers and providers work together as partners

Planned completion

2019/20

Status

On hold

2.3.2

Brisbane North PHN and Metro North Health continue involvement with the Carers Gateway, to ensure it meets the needs of Carers and Families of people experiencing mental illness, suicide risk and people experiencing problems related to the use of alcohol and other drugs

Planned completion

Status

On hold

2.3.3

Review the full and effective involvement of Carers in the NDIS, both at an individual and policy level

Planned completion

Ongoing

Status

Not started

Updated

2.3.4

Continue the involvement of Carers and Families in PHN and Metro North Health service planning, delivery and governance structures and extend this approach to other providers

Planned completion

2019/20

Status

On track

2.3.5

Ensure support structures and capacity building opportunities are available for carers and families engaged in services plans and opportunities for peer connection for carer representatives

Planned completion

Status

Not started

2.4.1

Providers commit to active engagement and participation in education and training on the perspectives of Carers and on family-inclusive practice

Planned completion

2019/20

Status

On hold

2.4.2

Ensure all health practitioners have the requisite qualifications for their role and are matched to the level of need of the service Consumer, Carers and Families

Planned completion

2019/20

Status

On hold

2.4.3

Facilitate improved access to mental health, suicide prevention and alcohol and other drug treatment services when and where service Consumers need it, with providers sharing outcomes and learnings of improvements

Planned completion

Ongoing

Status

On hold

2.5.1

Strengthen Consumer and Carer-centred practice, particularly at time of diagnosis, intake or admission to a service, by actively referring Carers to support options. Services providing information for Carers regarding participants clinical or support information is done with the consent of the Consumer

Planned completion

2019/20

Status

On hold

2.5.2

Strengthen the early involvement of Carers in discharge and transition planning, working within privacy policies and procedures

Planned completion

2019/20

Status

Not started

Updated

2.5.3

Providers commit to the incorporation of appropriate standards and approaches such as the six partnership standards for working with Carers and to undertake any associated self-assessment processes

Planned completion

2019/20

Status

Not started

Updated

Governance

The Families and Carers Action Group was convened by Carers Queensland and met regularly throughout 2019 – 2020. This group was comprised of stakeholders with a vested interest in improving the active role that families and carers play in supporting people with mental illness in their lives.  The Families and Carers Stakeholder Group was established to progress key actions and objectives of Chapter Two – Supporting families and carerswithin Planning for Wellbeing. The Families and Carers Stakeholder Group is no longer active, and a review is underway to determine best collaborative practice to further implement the actions and objectives for supporting families and carers in Brisbane North.  

Membership

No current membership, as per above

Achievements

Planning for Wellbeing acknowledges the integral role that families and carers play in our community.  Families, carers and other local community supports are typically the first responders to people with mental illness, alcohol and drug use and/or suicide risk; and much of the ongoing care that is provided to people is provided by families and carers.  Although many carers don’t formally acknowledge this role, Planning for Wellbeing acknowledges that for those that do – there are ongoing challenges experienced by carers in being included in the more formalised care being provided to their loved one.

Chapter Two of Planning for Wellbeing is dedicated to Supporting Families and Carers, and proposes four shared objectives to improve the way families and carers are included in more formalised care, as well as improving outcomes for families and carers themselves.  A summary of some key work against the shared objectives is included below.

Summary of Achievements

The Carer Gateway launched their new digital and phone services in July 2019 and have been providing practical information and advice for carers, assisting connection to services as appropriate, and providing free counselling services over the phone.  Local carer support services are working with carers and new Carer Gateway partners to provide information on the transition of face-to-face and emergency respite services that will be launched in April 2020.

[1] https://www.carergateway.gov.au/

The actions to achieve this objective are focused on the health and wellbeing of families and carers, acknowledging the ongoing demands of the caring role, and the impact this has on the carers’ own wellbeing.  A specific HealthPathway on ‘Carer Stress’ has been developed, highlighting the impact the caring role can have on carers, and encouraging health practitioners to enquire about the physical and emotional wellbeing of carers.  Active management of the stress is advised, along with suggestions for carer supports available in the region.

The actions to achieve this objective are focused on activities that highlight the valuable insights that carers have, and integral role they can play in supporting their loved one.  The PHN proudly asserts that all partnership groups that are supporting implementation of Planning for Wellbeing have Lived Experience Representatives as core members, and where possible, the insights and input from people with lived experience as a carer, along with people with lived experience as a service user, are obtained.  The perspectives of carers are acknowledged, valued and sought whenever possible.

The actions to achieve this objective are focused on ensuring providers have the requisite knowledge, training and skills to seek out and effectively engage carers appropriately.  As an indicator of progress towards this, contractually, all PHN commissioned providers, are expected to ensure that practitioners engaged to deliver services have the requisite training in family-inclusive practice – whether that be for mental health services, alcohol and other drug services, or suicide prevention services.

Success stories

Get involved

If you would like to know more about Planning for Wellbeing, or if you’re interested in getting involved, please drop us a line – we’d love to hear from you.