10 Timely identification and support for carers of people at the end of life through the adult carer support plan: triangulating three data sources

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IntroductionThe Carers (Scotland) Act (2016) places a duty on local authorities to prepare an Adult Carer Support Plan (ACSP) and Young Carer Statement for any carer who requests one or is identified as such. From 2019 this will be assisted by a fast track process for carers of people in their last six months of life. Timely identification of unpaid carers assessment and support can; reduce the overwhelming pressure of caregiving increase competence confidence satisfaction and the quality of the care given.AimTo provide evidence on the supportive needs of carers to inform recommendations regarding the timescale for the creation of fast tracked ACSPs under the Carers (Scotland) Act (2016).MethodsThe study triangulated data from a literature review qualitative secondary analysis (n=19 interviews; 3 focus groups) and two primary focus groups with bereaved carers (n=11).ResultsThemes included; barriers to and triggers for identification and needs including physical support psychological support respite information communication co-ordination and competing demands. Additional themes were speed of decline and end of life care.ConclusionHealth and social care professionals need to take a radical reactive move to presume that every patient has a carer and ensure they understand their entitlements. Carer identification is everyone’s responsibility and it should be the ambition of the Carer (Scotland) Act (2016) that this happens early in the illness trajectory. In so doing rapid assessment and support can be initiated to help carers navigate and cope with an uncertain often rapidly deteriorating illness trajectory.ReferenceScottish Government. (2016). 1 Carers (Scotland) Act. Scottish Government. Available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2016/9/pdfs/asp_20160009_en.pdf (Accessed: 10 February 2018)

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