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Trust signs up to national carers' support scheme

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is becoming a member of the Carers Trust's national Triangle of Care scheme. The Triangle of Care was developed by carers and mental health staff to improve carer engagement in acute inpatient and home treatment services. The a...pproach recommends better partnership working between service users and their carers, and professionals.

The Triangle of Care guide was launched in July 2010 as a joint piece of work between Carers Trust and the National Mental Health Development Unit emphasising the need for better local strategic involvement of carers and families in the care planning and treatment of people with mental ill-health.

The Triangle of Care has six key principles:

• Carers and the essential role they play are identified at the first contact, or as soon as possible afterwards
• Staff are carer aware and trained in carer engagement strategies
• Policy and practice protocols re confidentiality and sharing information are in place
• Defined posts responsible for carers are in place
• A carer introduction to the service and staff is available with a relevant range of information across the service pathway
• A range of carer support is available

The scheme operates at three stages; membership, membership with one star and two star membership when the organisations has completed a full self-assessment of all its services. Self assessments are peer reviewed.

Mary Rose Roe, one of the Trust's Carer Governors, said: "I am delighted that the Trust has joined the Triangle of Care scheme. The Board has made a commitment to families as expert partners in care, who are able to make an invaluable contribution to the recovery and care of our loved ones, and to our need for support in fulfilling this role.

"For example, carers will notice a more sensitive approach over sharing of information. Changes will not happen overnight, but pockets of good practice in carer engagement will be extended to the whole Trust. This is a commitment to foster cultural change throughout our mental health service."

Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Safety, Jane Sayer, said: "We have committed to joining the Triangle of Care scheme as it helps recognise our willingness to involve carers and make the most of their knowledge so that we provide the very best care we can."​