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First Co-produced Carers Assessment Training launched


Working Group Carers Assessment Training

We launched our first ever co-produced Carers Assessment training at the Silverbirch Hotel, Omagh on Friday 25th November 2022.

The staff training entitled A Little MORE Conversation, a Little More Action’ was developed and delivered in co-production by staff and carers. The training day was opened by Stephen McLaughlin, Assistant Director of Social Work (Learning Development, Governance, MDT Social Work and Adult Safeguarding) at the Western Trust.


Stephen commented:

“The Western Trust is delighted to be hosting this event today at the Silverbirch Hotel, Omagh. We wish to acknowledge our unpaid Carers who are invaluable in supporting those who they care for in our communities. This co-produced training event is an opportunity for us to improve the experience that Carers will have when interacting with Trust staff who assess their need as carers to help to support them in their caring roles.”

Cathy Magowan, Carers Coordinator at the Western Trust explained:

“The Carers Assessment Co-production Group established to develop this work wished to inspire, encourage, celebrate and support staff in meeting their statutory obligations to Carers.  They did this by emphasising the reality of life as a carer and highlighting some of the excellent work that goes on in the Trust to prioritise the needs of carers. The facilitators provided practical advice, support and encouragement to staff with regards to the use and benefits of available options such as ‘The Carer’s Conversation Wheel’. A number of Carers shared their story with the audience in person and via video recordings.

“The co-production group included the Social Services Learning, Development & Governance Team, Carers Support Team, Personalisation Development Officer, practitioners and most importantly Carers. Alongside the development of the training, a written collection of ‘Voices’ has been captured throughout each step of the process which will inform a project report.

“A Carer is someone who provides care and support to a relative, friend or neighbour in an unpaid capacity; in other words they are not employed to provide care. 64% of carers are women; 36% are men.  Any one of us has a 6.6% chance of becoming a carer in any year. There are currently 318,000 carers in Northern Ireland and this is expected to grow to at least 400,000 by 2037.

“Those who provide care and those with a role in assessing and supporting carers have been challenged by the impact of the pandemic and the current cost of living crisis.  Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were 220,000 unpaid carers in Northern Ireland.  It has been estimated that an additional 98,000 people started caring during the pandemic.”

Speaking about the Carers Assessment training Una Coyle, Carer said:

“Getting the opportunity to take part in such training and share my story made me feel that the carer matters.  Having our voices heard in a bid to improve understanding of staff will be revolutionary moving forward.  It was a privilege to be involved.”

Carers Assessment TrainingIn closing today’s event, Valerie Devine, Interim Assistant Director Care and Accommodation who chairs the Western Trust Carers Steering Group said:

“The training is important not only to increase the uptake of Carers Assessments but also to improve the quantity and experience of assessment for carers and staff. Carers have told us they dislike the term ‘assessment’ and find it off putting. In introducing the new assessment tool, the Carers Conversation Wheel, which has been piloted in all of the HSC Trusts, we are promoting it as a ‘conversation’ to discuss the carer’s support needs. I would like to congratulate all those who participated in developing this training, especially the carers whose stories were very powerful. We greatly appreciate that they gave up their precious time to be involved. Thank you.”

For more information please contact the Western Trust Carers Support Team on T: (028) 66344163 or (028) 71355023 email: