Hospice launches support group for people caring for a relative

Categories: Care, Community Engagement, and Featured.

St Clare Hospice in Essex is launching a support group for local people who care for a friend or relative living with a life-limiting illness or disability.

According to UK Charity Carers Trust, one in five people will be informal carers at some point in their lives – meaning that they provide continued support to a less able friend or relative. By 2030, the number of carers will increase by 3.4 million (around 60 per cent). In Essex alone there are 145,000 who provide unpaid care and support for someone (a family member or friend) on a daily basis, according to Healthwatch Essex.

The “Our Carers’ Group will offer vital support for carers and people who support a friend or relative throughout the local community,” explains Jane Iskander, Day Therapy Manager at St Clare Hospice. “Around 22 per cent of Essex carers are providing care to someone close for 50 more hours per week – which means that these people are twice as likely to report ill-health as those not providing care. Now, more than ever, it’s time for organisations like hospices to ensure that people living alongside someone who is ill or disabled are getting the support they need.” 

St Clare Hospice’s new carers’ group aims to provide information, skills and support to help informal carers cope with the challenges they may face caring for someone close. The group will run over a period of six weeks from February, and it is advised that attendees commit to attending the whole course as the programme offers structured sessions.

“There are a number of ways that a person can be affected by the pressures of caring for a friend or relative, whether they are providing personal care or simply things like doing the shopping or taking them to appointments regularly” Jane continues. “Things like stress, fatigue and exhaustion are common – and will be things that we look to address within the group.

“Through connecting with others in a similar situation, the groups will facilitate a safe space for carers to explore and express their emotions and concerns through group discussions and peer support. But we’ll also be providing guidance around practical issues such as preparing for the end of life, financial guidance and navigating the care system, as well as exploring how to better care for a relative – including technique-based skills such as mindfulness, hand massage, moving and handling a person, diet and nutrition, physiotherapy and more.

“This is a real opportunity for carers in West Essex and East Herts to access support that will empower them to offer better care to their relative – as well as cope and care for themselves in the process. It’s an opportunity to meet others in a similar situation whilst accessing professional, specialist advice and guidance – completely free of charge.”

“Our Carers’ Group runs alongside Café Clare – a drop-in event open to both patients and families at the hospice, as well as members of the community who wish to visit or engage with St Clare.

“This is to ensure that if needed, carers can bring along their relative or friend at the same time as attending the group,” explains Jane. “Café Clare provides a great opportunity to meet others and find out about other St Clare services that may be of benefit.”

Thursday 30 January is Young Carers Awareness Day

For more information visit St Clare Hospice