07 November 2014


Good CAUSELu Duhig spoke recently at a conference in Belfast, run by CAUSE, which supports carers in Northern Ireland.

Lu had visited in 2009 when services in NI were beginning to implement a recovery focused approach and had made the point then that carers, as well as service users, need to recover.

This time she talked about the benefits of using the model of partnership working defined in the Triangle of Care document. The document, now in its second edition, sets out six standards for staff to work to, provides examples of good practice and includes a self-assessment tool. Much research has been done to prove that working collaboratively with those caring for people with mental health problems leads to better outcomes for all. The Triangle of Care gives staff both a framework to use and a way of evidencing how well they are doing or where they need to improve.

Lu has been part of the national group developing and promoting the document since its launch in 2010 and was able to give first-hand experience of the benefits of using the self-assessment tool. Most of AWP's inpatient, rehab and intensive teams completed their assessments and submitted them for the national Carers' Trust accreditation scheme in May. This resulted in AWP gaining one star and providing evidence to commissioners that it is committed to this way of working.

Lu explained to the conference that AWP's community services were now completing their assessments to submit for a second star early in 2015.  She also promoted AWP's Family, Friends' and Carers' Charter, produced by carers and staff working together and which underlines this commitment to carers. People attending the day were keen to develop something similar as it gives carers a way of challenging for improved services. It was the message that Lu wanted carers in Northern Ireland to take home. She urged them to be proactive in getting services to work more collaboratively with carers, hoping that the Triangle of Care might be the vehicle to achieve it.

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