Summary of report content
With an ongoing focus on carers in Solihull and gathering feedback from local carers who told us their experiences. Healthwatch Solihull chose to explore support for carers who are caring for someone over 75 as one of their priority areas for the year. They organised focus groups which 19 people attended.
Many of the carers spoke of struggling to get GP appointments in some circumstances whether for the person they care for or for themselves. Being recognised as a Carer with their GP was something that participants felt was important and that there was a need for a system that recognised them as a carer when they were making an appointment. However, it was largely felt that even when they had informed their GP that they were a Carer by way of a form, their respective GP practices had not then used that information or had lost it.
Participants generally felt that they were not involved in the decision making around the care of the person that they care for. They felt that they were excluded by professionals rather than included and that their experiences of trying to tell professionals about how the person that they care for is on a day to day basis was not listened to.
Although participants spoke about care assessments for the people that they care for, there was very little mention of them having had their own Carers Assessments. Only one person mentioned a Carers Assessment, and this was in relation to having had a long wait for an assessment and being given misinformation on how long they might have to wait.
Some of the participants said that the person that they care for also had domiciliary care, either funded by the local authority or self-funded. Those that spoke about domiciliary care told of late or missed calls and how this meant that they could not rely on the care provision. One spoke of how a lack of flexibility in the times of calls meant that they may have to give up their paid work outside the home.
Participants spoke about how if the person that they care for was a self-funder there was a lack of support. When they tried to access any additional support in their care, they were generally told that as self-funders there was no assistance available.
When participants spoke about their own health there was a recognition that caring can have a detrimental impact on their health. Participants felt that there was a lack of recognition and support around their mental wellbeing concerns.
All said that things across services are improving. They were frequently asked for feedback from different people and would like to see changes. All felt the new Solihull Council Carers Strategy accurately reflected their views
The report includes 7 recommendations to deal with the issues raised by the carers. The report contains responses from providers.