Issued by Connecting Carers
A Highland charity has teamed up with NHS Highland and The Highland Council to launch its “Key” campaign which is aimed at ensuring unpaid carers of people with disabilities or long-term illnesses know where to go for support.
Highland Community Care Forum’s Connecting Carers’ information service is this week sending 10,000 information leaflets in the shape of a key to professionals in health, social work and community organisations throughout the Highlands.
These professionals will then give the leaflets to the carers they meet in the course of their work.
Connecting Carers Information Co-ordinator, Marion MacNeil, said: “The key shape of the flyer represents three key messages:-
• the professionals to whom we are sending the flyers are key to recognising and identifying carers and getting this flyer into carers’ hands
• the phone number on the flyer - 01463 723 561 - is the key number for carers in Highland to call for support
• Scottish Government policy states that carers should be treated as key partners in the delivery of care and providing information to carers is the key which unlocks the support they require
Marion said: “We have found that the best experiences for carers are when staff, including nurses, social workers and doctors, tell them about organisations that could help.
“So we want professionals to hand these key flyers to carers directly and help them to realise that support is available if or when they need it.
“When they contact us, we can help them to continue their caring role as well as look after their own health and wellbeing.”
She added that the key flyer was a useful tool for signposting carers to Connecting Carers’ information service, which in turn provides access to other support services, such as advocacy, illness-specific support organisations and many other voluntary and statutory resources.
NHS Highland Community Care Integration Manager, Theresa James, said: “Carers play a crucial role in the lives of many of our patients and NHS Highland staff are highly committed to enabling carers to access appropriate and timely support when they need it.
“These keys are a simple, but very effective, way for our staff to provide carers with the contact details they can use.
“We intend to make these keys available to all staff in our hospitals and in the community who have contact with carers. They represent a very welcome addition to the tools we use to support carers.”
The Chairman of The Highland Council’s Housing and Social Work Committee, councillor Margaret Davidson said: “The Council is very pleased to be associated with this initiative. We recognise and value the important role that carers play and are keen to work in partnership with them and support them to continue in their role.
“The idea of a “key” is an effective way to raise awareness of the support and advice that is available to carers. We shall be ensuring that all staff who have contact with carers will be handing these out and playing their part in publicising the project.”
All carers in Highland, including carers of older people with long-term illnesses, young carers under the age of 18 and parents of children with disabilities and long-term illness, can contact Connecting Carers on 01463 723561.