‘Message in a Bottle’ initiative calls for carers to ‘plan ahead’ 

Health leaders in West Yorkshire are encouraging unpaid carers to make contingency plans for the person they look after in the event of an emergency.

To mark Carers Week (6-12 June 2022) West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership (WY HCP) and Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) are teaming up to raise vital awareness of the ‘Message in a Bottle’ initiative.

‘Message in a Bottle’ is a simple and effective way for people to share their basic personal and medical details, including contingency planning for caring responsibilities, in an emergency. This written information is kept in a bottle in a common location in the home – the fridge.

The message to all carers across West Yorkshire is to think about a contingency plan so that the person they care for is supported at the earliest opportunity and the carer has peace of mind that arrangements are in place should they become unwell or be involved in an   accident or medical emergency.

Local carer organisations across Bradford District and Craven; Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield District are supporting carers to have their own ‘Message in a Bottle’.

The idea was developed by Lions Club International and the ambulance, police, fire, and social services all support this life-saving initiative by knowing to look for essential medical information in the fridge when they see a Message in a Bottle sticker in someone’s home. The scheme has been developed further so carers can also include information about what should happen to the person they look after in the event of the carer suddenly becoming ill or injured.

Karen Jackson, a Senior Responsible Officer for the unpaid carers programme and Chief Executive at Locala said “Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlighting the challenges unpaid carers face and recognising the valuable contribution they make. Caring often comes with great sacrifices and we encourage local carers to make contingency plans and to consider what a plan B looks like If they become ill or if there’s an emergency. This can avoid a crisis and ensures everyone’s best interests are considered”.

Lesley Butterworth, Lead Nurse – Urgent Care at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said “Our crews are often called to treat a person with caring responsibilities who has suddenly become unwell or injured. As a result of no contingency planning, they may refuse to go to hospital for urgent medical treatment because they don’t want to leave the person they care for or if hospital admission is unavoidable, the cared-for person may be required to go into emergency respite, and this can become a distressing situation for all concerned. We strongly support this initiative and encourage carers to make contingencies for the person they look after and detail these in a Message in a Bottle”.

Dawn Perkins, Dementia Carer Support Worker at Carers Leeds said “As carers we like to think that we will always be there when needed but sometimes this is not possible. This could be for many reasons, such as you suddenly becoming unwell or being injured and unable to carry out your usual caring role even if you are not in hospital. Please plan ahead and find out more by visiting https://www.wypartnership.co.uk/messageinabottle”.

Carer organisations across West Yorkshire can supply carers with a ‘Message in a Bottle’. Find out more by visiting the WY HCP website (wypartnership.co.uk/messageinabottle).

Carers week 2022 – Making West Yorkshire’s carers visible, valued and supported

Carers week 2022 is taking place from 6 – 12 June 2022. This year’s theme is ‘Visible, Valued and Supported’.

Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlighting the challenges unpaid carers face and recognising the valuable contribution they make to families and communities.

The West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership (WY HCP) are using carers week to reach the estimated 400,000 unpaid carers across West Yorkshire. They will be highlighting a different theme during each of the seven days.

An unpaid carer cares for family or friends who have a disability, illness or who needs support in later life: washing them, doing their laundry, their dishes, keeping appointments and records, filling forms, and dealing with a range of health of health professionals.

On the launch of carers week (Monday 6 June) the focus will be on the health and social care issues affecting carers, as they have been impacted hard by the pandemic. Throughout the week they will also be recognising and celebrating the incredibly valuable contribution that carers make.

With only 50,000 registered unpaid carers (with their local GP surgery) across West Yorkshire – there is a real need to encourage more people to identify so they can get the support they need when living across Bradford District and Craven, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield District.

Resources made alongside local carers will be made available online. These include a young carer education pack and a ‘Working Carers Passport’ guide for managers. The ‘Message in a Bottle’ Lions Charity International initiative will also be available to local carers.

You can follow all the activity during the week by following @WYpartnership or visit www.wypartnership.co.uk/carers-week-2022 where you can find all the resources and details of your local carer organisation.

 Fatima Khan-Shah leads the unpaid carers programme and is an Associate Director at the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership said Carers Week is a fantastic opportunity to recognise the contribution of all carers from different backgrounds and ages to their families and local communities, workplaces and society. Caring impacts on all aspects of life from relationships to health and finances and without the right information and support can be incredibly tough, so please do contact your local carer organisation.”

Richard Parry, a Senior Responsible Officer for the unpaid carers programme and Strategic Director Adults and Health at Kirklees Council said “At the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership we do not underestimate the challenges of caring – because we work with you and listen to your experiences. Our message to local unpaid carers this ‘Carers Week’ is we see you; we hear you and we are working hard to support you. We hope during the week we are able to raise much needed awareness and recognise the valuable contribution local carers make.”

Jan Archbold an older carer from Wakefield who has made a video in support of Carers Week said “You have to look after yourself. I have learned so much from other carers, living the same life I live. Please don’t be on your own, get peer support. You learn from each other, get some relief and have fun.”

Carers Wellbeing Service Dress Up and Dance through the Decades! June 8th

Carers Wellbeing Service would like to invite you and the person(s) you care for to dress from your favourite decade and join us for an afternoon of singing and dancing to celebrate the Queen’s Jublilee, Carers Week and Making Space’s 40th Anniversary!

Wednesday 8th June 12:30 – 3:30 pm

At the King’s Centre (near People’s Park)

So get your dancing shoes on, put on your fancies and your sparkle and come to the Dress Up and Dance through the Decades event!

The Event will include lunch, professional entertainment, a raffle, tombola, Jubilee photo booth and a prize for the best dressed!

For more information, please ring : 01422 369101

Venue: The King’s Centre, Park Road, Halifax HX1 2TS

Caring Together Event – Friday 14 June

For Carers Week 10-16 June, there will be a Caring Together event on Friday 14 June, 10:30am-2:00pm at Age UK C & K, Ground Floor, Rimani House, 14-16 Hall Street, Halifax HX1 5BD.

This event is FREE to all adult carers and their loved ones.

There will be;

  • entertainment
  • therapies
  • information
  • refreshments and lunch
  • free prize draw

Free transport and respite care is available by calling Calderdale Carers on 01422 369101 (please give at least one week notice to organise)

Facebook Support Group for Unpaid Carers

A new Facebook Support Group has been created to foster a community of carers made up of those that have a responsibility of providing care for their partner, other family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or an addiction.
The group will provide a space through which members can connect with each other in order to:

  • Overcome the isolation and loneliness that carers often feel
  • Share thoughts and ideas
  • Listen and be heard on the challenges you may be facing
  • Provide and receive support
  • Learn what help and support is available for carers

Perhaps in Carers Week 11-17 June you could take the opportunity to meet other carers online.

Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.

The campaign is brought to life by thousands of individuals and organisations who come together to organise activities and events throughout the UK, drawing attention to just how important caring is.

This Carers Week, we’re coming together to build communities that support the health and wellbeing of carers. Around 6.5 million people in the UK are carers, looking after a parent, partner, child or friend. A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, mental health problem or who needs extra help as they grow older. Caring can be a hugely rewarding experience but sometimes carers find it challenging to take care of their own well-being whilst caring. The impact of caring on health and well-being should not be underestimated this Carers week we will be looking to share examples of good practice from supporters of which have helped carers to stay Healthy and Connected.

Link to the group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/carerscommunity

Carers Week 2017 – 12 to 18 June

Carers Week (12-18 June) is an annual awareness campaign to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the UK’s 6.5 million carers.

At the beginning of Carers Week Monday 12 June there will be a Complimentary Therapies Day held at the Neighbourhood Centre, Queens Road, Halifax. Between 10 am and 2 pm there will be treatments available for registered carers including shoulder/neck massage, Indian head massage, reflexology. There will also be henna hand painting and face painting for children.

Different professionals will be available to answer your questions and you will be able to obtain advice from other organisations.

If you wish to book in for any of the treatments be sure to book a place by Wednesday 7th June as places are limited.

To get further information call Julie on 01422 369101, Natasha on 07815 493442.