It is with great pleasure that this weeks Guest Blog is from Natalie Deacon, Engagement and Support Officer for Scotland with Patient Opinion. We would like to thank Natalie and the team for their great support to Dementia Carer Voices over the last year. Patient Opinion were one of our 12 exhibitor stands at the Celtic Connections Concert for Caring in January of this year. Let`s see what Natalie has to say……
It is such an honour to be asked to write a blog for Dementia Carers Voices.
I have worked for Patient Opinion for over a year now as Engagement and Support officer. One of the first organisations I met at the Alliance was Dementia Carers Voices. I have followed the great work Tommy and his team do over the last year and I have really enjoyed working with everyone.
Patient Opinion have similar aims? to Dementia Carers Voices – we simply want people’s voices to be heard!
Patient Opinion is an independent, not-for-profit organisation and we run a website where people can share their experiences of health services, good and bad. We use the power of the internet to carry the voices of patients and carers to the right bits of the health service to help them improve what they do.
In January Tommy invited us to the “Letters Life and Love Stories – A Celebration of Caring in Scotland” concert which formed part of the Celtic Connections calendar of 2014. We invited Fife Young Carers as our special guests. The concert was amazing and paid tribute to Scotland’s carers and the part played by the many professionals and volunteers who contribute to and support the carer journey.
We were delighted to be part of such a heart-warming celebration run by the Health and Social Care Alliance and Dementia Carers Voices.
We shared stories from carers and the responses they got from health services at our Celtic Connections stand.
Fife Young Carers
Our guests on the night, Fife Young Carers, supports children and young people aged between 8 and 18 years whose lives are affected by caring for a family member, who is ill or disabled. Young Carers are offered a range of opportunities to improve their social skills and self–esteem at fortnightly support group meetings to day trips and residentials.
Recently we’ve started working together with Fife Young Carers to help give young carers a voice about their experiences using health care services. We attended the Scottish Young Carers Festival in July. Patient Opinion had a “Tell your story” stand and, with the help of volunteers from Fife Young Carers, we collected lots of stories from young carers from across Scotland. If you would like to read these stories please click here.
Natalie engaging with carers
Speaking to young carers reminded us of how hard their lives can be. A normal day of waking up and going to school for your average child can be such an effort for a young carer. Some carers told us they have to care for a family member before they can even think about stepping out of the door. This could mean they are late for school or don’t even have time to wash.
When discussing with Young Carers the barriers they faced and how to overcome these in terms of using healthcare services. They told us by simply just talking, listening and making a carer feel part of the patient’s care, can make such a difference in how the patient and carer feel about their care. These simple changes can take the anxiety out of a situation and have a much more positive impact on their experience.
We hope to continue working to help young carers and carers across Scotland share their health care experiences in the future to get their voices heard.
If you would like to share your experience today please share your story here.
Thank you Tommy and the Dementia Carers voices team for giving Patient Opinion such a lovely opportunity to write a blog today. We are reminiscing at Patient Opinion about how great the Carers concert was, thanks for inviting us 🙂
Tommy and Natalie
Once again Tommy, Laura, Irene and Sarah would like to thank Patient Opinion for their continued support to our project here at the ALLIANCE.
If you would like to write a guest blog like Natalie then please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org