Improvements in health, diet and preventative care means that people in Northern Ireland are living longer. This is good news. However, the care and support services that are intended to help people to live an independent, healthy, active and inclusive lifestyle need to be reformed in order to meet the future needs of an increasing ageing population.
To make these reforms and improvements in adult care and support services, the Department of Health is undertaking a review of the adult social care services to ensure these services can cope with an increase in demand.
As part of this review an Expert Advisory Panel has been set up to find out what type of help people need and how they wish it to be delivered. To do this the panel needs to hear and listen to the views and experiences of service users and carers.
If you have experience of care and support services, including the provision of domiciliary care (care in the home), residential and nursing home care, day opportunities, short breaks and specialist equipment, the expert panel would like to hear from you.
Laura Collins is an unpaid family carer who has had experience of the health and social care system in Northern Ireland for the past 35 years. Over the years, Laura has sat on many committees, providing service user and carer feedback on our health and social care services.
Laura said: “Citizen feedback, whether good or bad, will help drive safety and quality improvements. Unfortunately, the importance of this ‘half’ of our health service is often not acknowledged as it does not have the high profile of acute services.
“Social care is so important. It is really about providing personal and practical support to help people live their lives. It is about enabling them to maintain their independence, dignity and control. It’s what we all would wish for ourselves.”
Laura added: “There is now a unique opportunity for lay people to engage proactively with the recently appointed Social Care Expert Advisory Panel.
“The co-creation door is wide open and awaits those who want to share their experience, help design improved systems and be joint partners in reform.”
Are you a service user who wants to get involved? Perhaps you’re a carer who wants to share your experience? If so, please contact Lindsay.firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday 31 January 2017.
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