Carers Trust Scotland – Emergency & Future Planning for Older Carers– June’s Hot Tips

Our free calendar “Hot Tips” aims to ensure everyone in Scotland knows about the organisations and services available to them, and provides information on how to make the most of later life.

The month of June saw us partner with Carers Trust Scotland – the largest provider of comprehensive carers support services in Scotland. Heather Noller, Policy & Parliamentary Officer tells us about emergency planning and future planning for older carers in her guest blog.

In March this year, the Scottish Government introduced the Carers (Scotland) Bill. It’s been a long time coming – first announced in Autumn 2013, an extensive public consultation took place to look at what was required from a Bill for carers and how it would interact with other pieces of Scottish legislation. The Bill is a further chance to highlight carers’ needs and experiences to policy makers, showing them where the gaps are in support and services and improving the carer identification and assessment process. However, there are a few areas where changes need to be made to ensure the new legislation delivers new rights and real change for carers, and one of the key amendments we’re seeking is a commitment to emergency planning and future planning for carers.

Emergency and future planning can be particularly important for older carers, who can be concerned about what will happen to the person they look after if they are unable to continue caring for any reason; a lack of planning (or lack of support to make a plan) often causes unnecessary complications and concerns for them and the person they care for. Nobody likes to think about something bad happening, but for many carers, the details of their caring role and their loved ones’ needs live in their heads rather than being written in a plan, and the need for a plan only becomes clear when an emergency occurs. Early planning and the availability of high quality emergency care and support can help to relieve concern in cases like planned hospital admission for the carer, and in emergency situations, when things can happen at very short notice, the plan is clear and accessible to everyone involved in caring for the carer and the person they look after.

Often the key thing is to provide continuity and security for the cared for person, especially if it’s important for care and support to be delivered by people they know. It might not be easy to think about what might happen if caring is no longer possible, but in the long term it’s the best thing for carers and the people they look after to make sure that a difficult situation isn’t further compounded by not having a plan in place.

The Carers (Scotland) Bill is a great opportunity to improve outcomes for all carers in Scotland and to highlight in legislation the importance of carers having the opportunity to plan for emergencies and the future. It should be a fundamental part of an Adult Carer Support Plan and Young Carers Statement so that all carers get the opportunity to discuss their emergency and future planning needs. Enable Scotland and Carers Trust Scotland have worked together to lobby the Scottish Parliament to make changes to the Bill around emergency and future planning, and we’ll continue to discuss the issues with organisations that work with carers, like Age Scotland, to make sure that a wide range of views of represented.

Visit Carers Trust Scotland or call 0300 123 2008 for more information.

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