Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust has become one of only three mental health trusts in the country to receive a gold star for their commitment to the national Triangle of Care initiative.
The Triangle of Care, developed in partnership with the Royal College of Nursing as well as people with mental health problems and their carers, aims to improve communication between those caring for people with a mental health problem and mental health professionals.
By signing up to the Triangle of Care membership scheme, mental health trusts must undertake rigorous self-assessments and develop action plans to demonstrate how they are involving and supporting carers as well as promoting the important role they have and further improving services for carers.
The gold star award recognises GMW’s work towards the Triangle of Care standards and is further accreditation of the trust’s carer-focussed services. GMW has already led the way in their commitment to working with carers by becoming a national NHS demonstrator pilot site for carers where best practice from Bolton was shared locally and nationally to shape the support and information carers receive.
A carers’ charter and strategy has also been developed by the trust to set out what carers can expect form the trust’s staff and services. The trust has also employed dedicated Carer Support Workers to support carers both practically and emotionally and run carer awareness training for staff.
To help carers identify themselves as carers, a Mental Health Carers film has also been produced by the trust and Carer Champions are available on all of their mental health inpatient wards to encourage more effective communication between carers, patients and professionals.
The Triangle of Care, led nationally by the Carers Trust, is based on six principles (standards) that mental health trusts can use to include and support carers. These principles range from identifying and assessing carers and their needs, offering carers a range of support, information and advice both for them and the person they care for to training staff in carer engagement.
Gill Green, Director of Nursing and Operations for GMW, said: “People who care for someone with a mental illness often provide day to day support and understand that person’s needs and condition extremely well as they have first-hand experience.
“When professionals appreciate this relationship and acknowledge the suppo rt that carers give as experts in that persons care then service users receive better care and support from services.
“The gold star for work towards the Triangle of Care demonstrates our commitment to carers as we want them to feel valued and get the help they need so that our service users get the best possible care.”
If you would like to know more about this project or if you feel your experiences as a carer could help us with this piece of work, please contact: Tracy Collard, CARE Hub Lead, on 0161 772 3935 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org