Supporting Carers in your Organisation
This week from 8th to 14th June is Carers Week which is an annual awareness campaign to bring caring out into the open and to recognise the contribution that carers make to families and communities throughout the UK.
There are nearly 6.5 million people in the UK who are carers looking after loved ones living with an illness, disability or mental health condition. Caring is something that will affect each and every one of us in our lifetime, whether we become a carer or need care ourselves.
The amount of time and support that carers provide varies considerably and whilst caring can bring satisfaction to people’s lives it can also impact on all areas of individuals lives leading to loneliness and have an impact on the health and wellbeing of carers. This year more so than ever carers are facing even more pressure and challenges with covid-19 leading to even more social isolation, worry and anxiety which is why the focus of Carers Week 2020 is Making Caring Visible to ensure that carers get the information and support they need.
How Can My Organisation Support Carers
Encourage conversations about caring - ensure there is an open and supportive environment for employees to identify themselves should they wish and train line managers so they can have open conversations with employees to understand their responsibilities and offer support wherever possible.
Have flexible working arrangements - provide flexible working arrangements for carers which can include flexible start and finishing times, allowing individuals to work from home or allowing mobile phones to be kept on at all times and personal calls to be taken throughout the day.
Introduce a carers policy - this can include all the support and arrangements that are in place for carers which could include special leave arrangements such as paid or unpaid leave or compassionate leave as well as outlining what flexible working arrangements are available to carers.
Support the setting up of carers networks - work with those that are carers in your organisation to set up a network in which employees can support each other and through which information and support can be communicated through.
Pledge Your Support - Pledge your support as an organisation https://www.carersweek.org/get-involved/pledges or encourage your managers and teams to add their voice to make caring visible https://www.carersweek.org/get-involved/add-your-voice and share your support on social media using the #CarersWeek and #MakeCaringVisible.
Signpost to charities and organisations that can offer further support, help and advice - there are many charities and organisations that can support carers, make these details available to employees and if you know you have carers in your teams pass on this information to ensure they are aware of what other help is available. Some of the organisations that can help are outlined below:
Age UK advice and support for carers - https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/care/ Advice for looking after yourself as a carer - https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/care/helping-a-loved-one/getting-support-and-looking-after-yourself/
Carers UK - Help and Advice for carers — https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice
Links to local support groups https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/get-support/local-support
Coronavirus Guidance for Carers - https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-covid-19
Support for Carers NHS - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/support-and-benefits-for-carers/
Rethink mental Illness - Carers Hub for those caring for someone with a mental illness - https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/carers-hub/
Gemma Carter-Morris, Director of Wellbeing, Next Steps Consulting