Caring for carers

A new resource which details what community care staff can do to best support carers, has just been released.

Community care managers and frontline staff will now have access to a free resource offering guidance on how they can better support carers.

The new briefing paper, launched by the Benevolent Society today, collates the latest research about what carers need and examines what community care staff can do to provide them with much-needed support.

Policy manager, Sarah Fogg, believes that the paper, Working with and supporting informal carers, is an invaluable tool for community service staff.

“What we are trying to do is bridge the gulf between research and practice,” said Ms Fogg.

“Research comes out every day but it is not usually that accessible to people in the frontline who work with carers. This paper is a contribution to bridging that gap.”

The document advises that community care staff should adopt a person-centered approach to supporting carers, treating each as a person with their own needs and wants.

The paper also states that “individual approaches to supporting carers are more likely to have significant effects in terms of improving carer wellbeing than those based on group approaches. This is because individual sessions can be better targeted, more personalised and more intense”.

Ms Fogg advocated that the best thing a community care manager can do is to “give carers a chance to do things for themselves”.

“Sometimes services are tempted to step in and solve complex problems. But instead, staff should think of ways to help carers to become more resilient, and support their own health and needs.

“All of these things are happening to some extent but we know that people working in community care do not have much time to reflect on their practices and review the research. So this paper makes doing that much easier.”

The briefing was developed in partnership with the University of Wollongong’s Centre for Health Service Development, and was launched by NSW Minister for Ageing and Minister for Disability Services, Peter Primrose.

Chief executive of the Benevolent Society, Richard Spencer, commented that Australia’s rapidly ageing population means it is crucial to equip community care workers to better support carers, as there will be many more Australians caring for loved ones.

“There are already about half a million Australians over the age of 65 caring for a family member,” said Mr Spencer. “This will affect more people as our population over 65 doubles in the next 20 years.

“This research to practice briefing provides community workers with up to date information, best practice approaches and an easy-to-use guide on how to provide support that really makes a difference for carers in this most challenging time in their lives.”

To view the paper, click here.

Tags: aged-care, benevolent-society, carers, carers-australia, carers-victoria, community-care, jenny-macklin, national-carer-strategy, nicola-roxon,

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