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Carers Week 2020 – Gillian Kelly, Deputy Director of Nursing, reflects on the past year

09 June 2020

The theme of this year’s Carers Week (8-14 June 2020) is ‘Making Caring Visible’.

Gillian Kelly, Deputy Director of Nursing at West London NHS Trust, reflects on progress made over the last year in increasing carer involvement:  

“Carers play a crucial role in how we deliver patient care. They’re the voices of those who are sometimes unable to speak out, and without them, we wouldn’t be able to meet patients’ needs to the best effect.

Over the past year, we’ve been working even closer with our carers.

We’re now in the third year of Triangle of Care, an initiative by Carers Trust to ensure that carers are at the centre of patient care. Last summer, we presented our first year’s findings and were delighted to receive the first of three stars in September 2019. The charity recognised the work we’ve done to ensure carers, service users and professionals work together effectively and collaboratively.

We’re currently working our way towards a second star. This focuses on completing self-assessments for all our community services, including mental health, learning disability, older people and dementia and substance misuse services.

We encourage all carers to get involved in our service user and carer experience meetings, where carers provide invaluable feedback and advice on how we can improve. We’re also currently co-producing a Carers Council, which offers a platform for further widening carer participation and perspectives on all aspects of care delivery and service development.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been an extraordinarily stressful time for everyone, not least our patients and carers, both in terms of the impact on their own health and lives and that of the wider environment. Our carers are critical in working with us to help patients’ worries and play a major role in what our services will look like are run once the situation eases. It’s more important than ever to support carers, recognise their contribution and hear their lived experience of this period.”