It takes strong commitment from board members, senior managers from health & social care, advocacy groups, voluntary groups and carers to fully involve carers - it’s not the easy option.
Involving carers also places a responsibility to feedback on what change has happened as a result or, if no change has happened, the reasons why not. But the benefits can be enormous. These include:
- Problems arising from proposed changes to services can be pinpointed in advance and avoided.
- The results of consultation can be used to help make decisions about policies, priorities and strategies.
- Services can be targeted more closely on providing what people want and avoiding what people do not want.
- Take-up of services can be improved, making unit costs lower, especially where there is a charge for services.
- User and carer satisfaction with services can be monitored over time, providing a useful performance indicator on improvements to the quality of services.
Carers who are involved in decision-making feel valued.