Lisa has osteoporosis, dementia, and anxiety. Lisa's husband, Trevor, is her carer. Lisa was well and coping with her condition prior to the pandemic; she used to be able to leave the house with support from Trevor. The fact that she couldn't go out during lockdown significantly impacted her physical and mental health, leaving her bed-bound. Trevor can't leave her alone anymore in case she injures herself. He can no longer attend outside activities, so his physical health has deteriorated. Trevor is also concerned about his financial situation if Lisa moves into residential care. This has significantly impacted his mental health.
Trevor had previously contacted his local n-compass Carer's Hub to see what support was available. Now that Lisa's condition was worsening, Trevor was becoming desperate for support. A statutory carer's assessment was completed to determine what information and services best suited them. n-compass' approach to carer's assessments is to identify what outcomes matter most to the carer. Using 'I' statements, the carer is encouraged to focus on their thoughts and feelings, which puts the carer at the centre of the support plan but also helps uncover other underlying issues. Well-being scales help carers consider the extent to which they think/feel about a particular problem. During the assessment, Trevor said that from time to time, the responsibilities and the intensity of the caring role "took him to a dark place"; he realised that this was a real concern. The carer's well-being is paramount in these situations; both for the carer and the cared for, it's unlikely Trevor would be able to support Lisa adequately if he is not in a good place himself. Understandably, Trevor wanted to focus on Lisa and seek systematic solutions to their problems. The carer's assessment helped him to see that he needed to look after himself first.
The carer's assessment highlighted the key support needed and helped him prioritise what was most critical. Trevor worked through a set of actions that included looking after himself and putting in place better systems to help him care for Lisa.
Trevor said that talking about his needs had been really helpful as he hadn't realised how isolated and alone he had felt. This was the first time anyone had focussed on his health and well-being. 'Getting the most out of life' tools helped him reflect on how caregiving affects his own well-being opportunities and provided a different measure of what achieving well-being looked like. Trevor said the "dark days" are now behind him, and he feels he is coping much better. He has been supported to access online counselling services to help him to improve his coping skills and to maintain more robust mental health. He was eligible for a carer’s personal budget and is utilising this to fund a golf club membership, something he can look forward to and enjoy knowing that Lisa is safe while he’s away.