Supporting carers in the local community

Michelle Williams - Associate Practice Development Facilitator

It is more important than ever to support our carers.

Carers are a vital part of someone’s support network. They provide practical and emotional support as well as comfort and advocacy for the people closest to them.

A carer is anyone who provides help to a friend, neighbour or relative who could not manage without them because of illness, frailty, addiction or disability. It is estimated that there are 31,000 people in Wigan who have a caring role.

As part of the Practice Development Team, my job is to help expand the support offered to our local community. One of our newer and more exciting projects has been our collaboration with the Wigan and Leigh Carers Centre.

One afternoon a month a member of our team hosts a drop-in support session at the Carers Centre in Hindley to talk to unpaid carers about their loved ones, their experiences of palliative care and their thoughts and feelings about the future.

Carers use these sessions to gain clarity around the services available at end of life and they help them to think about what to expect as things start to change.

We touch on topics such as advance care planning, common symptoms at end of life and coping with loss. These are things that carers struggle with on their own, so by providing them with support via the drop-in sessions, it helps not just our carers patients, but also their own mental wellbeing.

Through my experience, carers appreciate the opportunity for peer support that the sessions provide and enjoy coming together to discuss common challenges and experiences.

Previous attendees have said,

“I really benefited from talking through my experiences” and, “It is just unbiased talk that really helps”.

Looking back on my own experience, I am proud to work alongside other dedicated professionals and unpaid carers providing much needed support and comfort at end of life.

Drop-in sessions run on the fourth Thursday of every month 2 – 4pm at Wigan and Leigh Carers Centre in Hindley. There are also sessions running at Standish Library on the second Monday of every month 12 – 2pm.

Find out more information on how we can help those dealing with a palliative and end of life illness.