‘We recognise that carers of people with a cancer diagnosis need support in their own right – separate from that being provided to the older person with the cancer diagnosis. We also understand that carers who have their own cancer diagnosis need additional support to consider the impact of their diagnosis on their caring role and the ongoing needs of the cared for person’ says Keri Harrison, Access and Community Support Manager at Help and Care.
Evidence gathered locally during the pilot phase led the Dorset Local Cancer Champions Board to seek additional funding for a carers support planning service over and above the three year’s funding already secured from regional Macmillan Cancer Support. The team was successful in an application for one year’s funding to the Dorset Carers Support Project Fund facilitated by Access Dorset on behalf of Dorset County Council and Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group.
These issues were highlighted for Macmillan Project Coordinator Kathleen Gillett recently when reading the Carers Trust report on mental health Triangle of Care . The section on Carer Support which seems to apply equally to people affected by cancer underlines how important it is to offer ongoing support to carers: ‘It is rarely sufficient to carry out a carer’s needs assessment in a one-off interview. This may be the first occasion when the carer’s interests have been addressed and their primary need may be to off-load and explore better care for the person they care for, rather than their own needs. As rapport and confidence in the process develop there will be a more meaningful exchange of information and insights.’
Jo Lee, Senior Macmillan Advocate says ‘Using person-centred thinking tools we will work with carers affected by cancer to identify what is important to them, what changes they want to make to their life, how they want to be supported and who they want to be supported by. We recognise that with improving survival rates, carers affected by cancer may be caring for a long time and need ongoing and consistent support. We also understand that carers support needs will change depending on where they, or the person they are caring for, are on their cancer journey.’