Social Return on Investment
Wednesday 9th November 2016
At last it is possible to demonstrate the full value of providing breaks to the hundreds of unpaid carers living in North Wales.
Carers are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Without regular breaks, the impact on a carers life can be massive. For carers like Joan who cares for her husband with dementia there are high levels of constant stress which often lead to depression and poor physical health so that Joan is more likely to require support and services herself. Unsupported carers like Joan are more likely to end up at a crisis point, and this can impact negatively on the person they are caring for and result in two people requiring additional and higher level services. Joan is not alone in facing particular difficulties in accessing practical and emotional support.
We currently face a vicious circle, especially as we hit winter months and the associated increase in A&E admissions, where understandably limited resources are increasingly being focussed on those with the very highest level of need. However, this only worsens the crisis as many carers are left without support, trying to cope alone, often ending up in expensive hospital or crisis care which our current systems struggle to cope with.
Carers Trust North Wales recently commissioned research with the New Economics Foundation (NEF) and Carers Trust which sought to evidence the true value of providing breaks for carers. The project concluded that for every £1 spent on providing carers with breaks £1.70 is returned in real value to the authority commissioning and funding the service.
Having now received the respite support service for 6 months Joan said "Now that we get support from Crossroads, the break allows me time to myself and I no longer feel depressed."