Published Friday, 10 July 2020
Healthy Lifestyles (HLS) Coventry has launched a digital resource pack to provide online support for those people caring for family and loved ones.
Commissioned by Coventry City Council, the campaign has been developed by the Healthy Lifestyle Service (HLS) in partnership with the Carers Trust to provide tailored advice and resources aimed at carers themselves rather than those they are caring for. This is in recognition of the exceptional work that this often ‘hidden’ group of people do on a day to day basis for their family and loved ones they care for in the home and how the carer’s own health and mental wellbeing is often overlooked due to the pressures of their caring role.
Insight research and consultation undertaken with a diverse sample of carers, the Carers Trust and stakeholders in the community evidenced how demanding caring is and how ‘time poor’ carers are which leaves little time or energy to take care of their own health and wellbeing.
The campaign was designed to ensure that carers are given tailored self-care resources, a safe digital space to connect and easy access to the HLS service online coaches who are supporting people virtually via video and telephone calls. Importantly the choice is there to either access self-care information, digital support or service-based support – all from the comfort and safety of the home. The resource is available to download via the HLS website and, in addition, a new online group was established on the service’s Health & Wellbeing digital app www.best-you.org to give carers a safe online forum to connect with other local carers like them and provide support for each other.
Calvin Holman, Service Director at HLS Coventry, said: “At HLS Coventry we wanted to reach out to the carer community and encourage them to access self-care support and to provide easy access to service based support where needed, which involves light touch coaching support and guidance primarily delivered through our bespoke service app, best-you.org, which encourages peer based online support.
“The resource pack came from the insight research and what carers told us about their experiences, the demands on their time and what forms of support are most helpful. The support is led by the carer who has a range of support options that are user-friendly, accessible and confidential.”
The resources have prompted carers to change their behaviour such as making small changes to eating, exercise and sleeping habits and spending more “me time” doing things important for their wellbeing. A carer involved in the pilot said, “After reading it I changed what I did before bed, like getting my thoughts down on paper, and I soon realised what I was writing was more positive and now I sleep much better and have more energy in the day”.
Sonja Woodhouse, Chief Executive of Coventry Carers Trust Heart of England, said; “Despite their huge voluntary contribution to society many family carers experience significant disadvantages as a result of their caring role. We are delighted to have been involved in the project and encouraged by the positive feedback from carers in Coventry that these resources have supported carers to make positive behaviour changes for the better.”