The two-year project is funded by the Salisbury Hospicecare Trust and aims to ‘kick start’ a support network that carers can use and develop as they wish.
Carers will be able to get dedicated help and advice on how to look after themselves. The sessions will also enable them to talk freely about the issues they face and seek advice about looking after people with illnesses such as cancer, Parkinsons’s disease, Motor Neurone diseases and chronic heart failure.
Sister Sally Jenkins said: " Caring for someone you love can be physically and emotionally draining and can lead to depression, serious illness and social isolation. This is particularly so for carers of people with ‘life limiting’ conditions. This is because there is little opportunity to have ‘time out’ from the caring role to enjoy other aspects of life."
Sister Jenkins added: "A dedicated service could give carers the opportunity to take some ‘time out’ and share their experiences in a relaxed and safe environment."
The initiative stems from a patient and public involvement exercise that took place last summer. Around 80 carers known to the service were invited to share their experiences and come up with ideas about how the Trust could help.
Meeting others in a similar position, having time out and learning coping skills were just some of the themes that came up.
Sister Jenkins said: "These are early days, but we think and hope that this initiative will complement the support that already exists for carers. The aim is that it will lead to a dedicated support network run and developed by the carers themselves and we will carry on providing professional support and advice through our established support services."
The sessions are run by Sister Sally Jenkins and Sister Sandy Moors on the second Monday of each month, from 6 to 8pm at the Peter Gillam Centre at the Salisbury Hospice. Ends
For further information please contact:
Patrick Butler, Public Relations Manager, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust. Tel: 01722 425170