Are you a Carer? Do you look after someone at home? Would you like to join our Carers / Care Partner Expert Reference Group?
Unpaid carers often have a hidden yet life-changing impact on those that they care for. Many of you do not see yourselves as a carer or care partner, you are a husband or wife, child or family member, but you are caring for someone, looking after them, keeping them safe and well. It is estimated that the number of identified and unidentified carers in the United Kingdom alone could be as high as 10.6 million and in Lincolnshire an estimated 80,000 plus an additional 6,000 young carers.
At ULHT we see our carers as the experts. You know the person you care for better than anyone and as such you offer essential insight into the care and needs of our patients. We recognise the unique and vital care that you give to our patients and as the title care partner reflects we want to care for our patients in partnership with you. We have some great work in progress at the Trust and much more planned and hoped for and we want to work with you to provide the best care to our patients and our care partners.
What is an Expert Reference Group (ERG)?
An ERG is a group of people who have lived experience of a particular health condition or situation who can share their insights and experiences. There is no doubt that if you have lived with or through an experience then you are an expert much more so that others who have not.
For this ERG, we want to work with people who care for someone.
We are looking for about 15 people who care (or have recently cared) for someone to come together to form this group and to be involved in discussions and decisions, designs, developments, evaluations and improvements relating to how we provide care to our patients who have a care partner in their lives.
We want to hear your voices, we want you to work with us to let your lived experience help us to be the best we can possibly be, we want to listen and learn from your experiences.
As a group member, you will be able to:
- Listen to staff who design and deliver our services, make suggestions and contribute from your expert perspective as a carer who has experienced such services.
- Collectively influence and act as a representative group that can be called upon to contribute to debate and discussion about caring for carers within our hospitals.
- Bring your valuable and unique lived experience into a group of others so that together a varied and inclusive view can be sought.
How does it work?
Meetings will be every 2 months lasting 2 hours and conducted virtually via Microsoft Teams. We recognise that travelling into one of our hospitals for a meeting may be difficult but hope in time to also have some face to face meetings too. We are able to provide help and training on how to use Microsoft teams if this is new to you; it works very much like Zoom so you will need a laptop or tablet to be able to join. We can agree at the first meeting how we wish, as a group to structure the agenda but typically are as follows:
- Welcome and introductions
- Approving minutes of previous meeting
- Review action log and any matters arising
- ERG presentations:
- There would then follow 2 or 3 discussions, led by staff from a service or team where they present a topic, issue, idea and the group then asks any questions, makes comments, give their views and thoughts – from their perspective as expert patients.
- Each session would typically last for about 30 minutes with just 10 minutes for the presentation itself so that the bulk of the time given to questions, comments and discussion.
All group members will be required to have a Disclosure and Barring (DBS) check (which we can sort out for you) and undergo some short training in relation to confidentiality and other key topics such as Safeguarding and Equality, Diversity & Inclusion. This training is standard across the NHS and completed by all staff regardless of their role. Full training support can be given so please do not worry about this aspect; it is there to support you to understand the workings of the NHS. We also ask all members to sign up as an Honorary Volunteer with ULHT to enable access to training & recruitment checks and any travel or refreshment expenses when and if we meet face to face.
This ERG is built upon the success other groups we already have in place and one member fed back to us
‘I feel we can have honest, open discussions and learn about some important changes and have a chance to influence those changes. I feel a great sense of pride and satisfaction, that
I can be a part of our health service.’
We hope that this new Care Partner Expert Reference Group will be a vibrant and influential group providing a valuable voice for care partners.
Are you interested? Would you like to find out more? If so, please email: [email protected]
We will then get in contact with you and discuss next steps.
Thank you for considering this and we hope to hear from you soon.