Merseyside has a large proportion of residents who act as carers for those with long-term physical and mental health difficulties and disabilities in a range of environments including day centres, nursing homes, hospices and hospital settings, and in family homes.
In preparation for this project, we spoke to local carers about the issues they face, both day-to-day and long-term, and how these could be addressed. Feedback indicated that whilst there was felt to be adequate and effective care provision for those requiring care, carers struggled with maintaining their own mental health stating that often they felt they do not have the time to properly care for themselves.
Carers and especially parents and relatives, said that often they felt ‘overwhelmed’ by the needs of those they care for and, whilst they were happy to provide care, stated that often they felt they did not have time to themselves. Some stated that this often made them feel guilty that they were not providing the best care they could as they were too stressed. Whilst respite care is available, carers felt that this often takes too long to arrange and that they were often too concerned about those they look after being away that they could not appreciate the break.
The Calm Carers Project was designed in response to this feedback. Using Virtual Reality Technology we will provide easily accessible brief intervention for carers through bespoke relaxation techniques. Due to the nature of the technology, this can be delivered in carer’s own homes or whilst accompanying those who they care for to appointments this ensuring minimal disruption to carers’ already busy schedules.
Through providing this relaxation we will ensure that carers have greater mental wellbeing and are able to care more effectively for vulnerable adults and children within the community.
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