Gold star carers hubs make a difference to carersThe Carers Trust runs the Triangle of Care membership scheme, which aims to encourage healthcare organisations to commit to improving the experience of carers whose family members are using their services. The Triangle of Care is a collaborative relationship between a service user, their healthcare professionals and their carers. Its purpose is to ensure that carers have all the information that they need to continue looking after their loved one, and that clinicians can use the carers knowledge of the patient when making decisions.

The gold star has been awarded for the Trust’s successful completion of phase one of the scheme, which is to assess the needs of people caring for people who use their hospital services, and to pledge their commitment to improve the support they provide to carers. This will be followed by phase two, which is an assessment of community mental health services, and phase three, where community physical health services will be assessed.

As part of the scheme, each of the Care Trust’s inpatient wards has a member of staff who is a carer champion. These champions are integral to the success of the scheme, as they provide a point of contact for carers as well as promoting the Triangle of Care principles to their teams.

The Care Trust has a history of including carers in its work, using their feedback and experiences to shape services and improve the support that they receive. In the last two years, the Trust has opened three Carers Hubs across the district: at Horton Park Surgery and Lynfield Mount Hospital in Bradford, and Dyneley House Barn in Skipton. These community-based centres provide a place for carers whose loved ones are using the Trust’s services to meet with others in a similar situation, hear talks from local community organisations, get practical advice on health and wellbeing, and get involved in activities. Most importantly, the hubs offer a space for unpaid carers to have a break from their caring role.

Sara Firth, aged 52, cares for her husband who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2015. She said of the carers hubs: “They help carers feel so much more connected and really help to reduce isolation. When the first branch opened at Horton Park it was great but I felt that carers living across the district might encounter difficulties getting there, so it’s great that the Care Trust has since opened two more hubs to offer even more support.”

The gold star accreditation in March coincided with the second anniversary of the Trust’s Horton Park Carers Hub. Since opening two years ago, the hub has been used over 1,250 times by 167 different carers. To celebrate, the Trust’s patient experience team held a birthday party on Wednesday 21 March with fish and chips for lunch. The event was attended by carers, Trust staff and colleagues from partner organisations to recognise the difference that the hub has made to carers in the local area.

Sallie Turner, Carer Lead at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are very proud of everyone’s contribution to getting this gold star; it was a team effort at all levels of the organisation. As a Trust we think it’s so important to give carers the support they need, and to ensure that they feel valued and appreciated, because they are so important to their loved ones’ wellbeing. Our ‘gold star’ carers hubs make a big difference to our carers. We’re all very excited and really looking forward to rolling out phase two of the Triangle of Care scheme.”

To find out more about the help that is available to carers in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven please visit www.bdct.nhs.uk/support-for-carers.