Across Berkshire learning from safeguarding adult reviews has demonstrated a consistent theme; some of the adults who died were being looked after by a single family member, with the carer often being male, aged around 40 – 50 years and a child of the deceased. These carers had often lived with their parent or sibling from childhood and are socially isolated, so it’s easy to see how they became the main carer and how the nature of the caring becomes more complex. These families were not well known to agencies and did not ask for help; they have a history of coping on their own. During the course of the review, these family members do not define themselves as being a ‘carer,’ but ‘a son or daughter.’
Investigations revealed that unregistered carers often have their own unrecognised needs and little or no knowledge of how to ask for and access help; this left their parent with increasing needs and deteriorating health.
The investigation raised questions about how we can target and help unregistered carers who do not know they can ask for help.
Following these findings, East Berkshire and Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Groups, together with Signal4Carers are piloting a six month campaign around hidden carers.
The campaign launches on 3 June and coincides with Carers Week, 10-16 June www.carersweek.org.
The aim of the campaign is to ensure that people who are carrying out caring responsibilities recognise themselves as carers and get the help available to them. They may not see themselves as being in need of services and many may feel that they are simply carrying out ordinary responsibilities as part of a family.
There will be messages appearing on the back of local buses and on their interior screens, with the strapline, 'I'm her son/daughter, not her carer'. These will show a Freephone number: 0800 1337851. These calls will be answered by Signal4Carers and people signposted to the relevant organisation or service who can help. It is possible that local organisations may receive a few more enquiries during this time.
East Berkshire and Berkshire West CCGs will be promoting the campaign in the media and online. Where possible, please share the messages via your website and social media accounts.