Day care services in Caerphilly to expand to seven days a week, addressing needs of unpaid carers and increasing independence for service users
Day care services in Caerphilly look set to be extended to seven days a week, under plans to increase the independence of service users and address the needs of unpaid carers.
Cabinet members at Caerphilly County Borough Council this week backed reforms of day services for adults who receive care.
It follows criticism earlier this year from unpaid carers, who said their stress levels increased when the council cut day centre provision during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A consultation with service users revealed “strong views from some parents [and] carers in favour of a return to previous arrangements”, although other families were “clearly benefitting from the changes”.
The local authority currently supports dozens of people through community schemes such as gardening projects and workshops for woodwork and cookery.
Planned improvements to services will include a move to seven-day provision, instead of the current five days a week.
Council officer Jo Williams said day services would also be offered for longer hours, adding that “sometimes, people’s outcomes might be better met in the evening, rather than in the day”.
All newly-recruited employees have been informed of this change, and the council will soon meet with staff and trade unions to discuss changes to contracts.
Council cabinet members also endorsed an extension of the opening hours of the Brooklands Day Care Centre, in Risca, from 9.30am to 3.30pm.
It is hoped the planned reforms of day services will ease pressures on unpaid carers, whose support the council described as “paramount”.
Replicating a project called Bridging the Gap will “address the concerns of unpaid carers”, Cllr Elaine Forehead, cabinet member for social care, said.
That project, which has been running in north Wales for ten years, is a “tool kit for implementing respite for unpaid carers”, offering them brochures of services they can access over a six-month period.
“When consultation for this scheme was taking place, families said they struggled with traditional forms of respite care for things such as needing to go for a haircut or attend a family wedding,” a council document read. “This scheme allows carers to have the choice.”
Ms Williams said Bridging the Gap would give unpaid carers more “flexibility” and allow them to book respite services “as and when they need it”.
“The idea is people will have a lot more choice and control over how they receive their respite,” she added.
Note to editors:
Links to previous coverage of issue by LDR at Caerphilly Observer:
Carers suffered increased stress because of reduced day care centre opening hours
“Thorough” public consultation into day care centre provision to be held
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