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Young carers could be given a new lease of life with technology to put their minds at ease.

Many teenagers have dreams of going to university, however those who look after a loved one often feel that such ambitions are out reach.

Medway Council’s Telecare Service can take some of the worry out of leaving a person in need alone, and allows people to live independently.

An event held on Monday, 17 February gave some young carers living in Medway had a chance to see how the service could potential change their lives.

Young carers together with councillors and representatives from charity Carers First, took a look at the technology available such as sensors to detect falls, whether someone is in bed, whether someone has taken their medication and much more.

Every sensor is programmed to a small Telecare base unit that is linked to a telephone line, which is installed by in-house engineers.

In the event of activation, a trained operator from Medway Control Centre will talk to the client over the Telecare base unit in their home to assess the situation and put the most appropriate response in place, whether that be contacting a family member, neighbour, doctor, mobile warden or emergency services.

Rhiannon Johnson, 15 has been a carer for five years now, and was impressed with the technology.

She said: “This would really benefit me because I could be in my room or be with my friends leading a normal teenage life, and if mum had a fall I would be notified and I wouldn’t be worrying the whole time I was out.”

When an alert is sent to the control centre via sensors in the home, the individual’s primary carer is informed by the Telecare team.

16-year-old Charlotte Liddle has dreams of going to university but is unsure about leaving her mum.

She said: “This technology could help me feel more at ease going to university, knowing that there is a support system in place when I’m not there would be really helpful.

“Before I thought it would be really hard for me to go away and study, but now it seems as though it is possible and my mum will still be supported.”

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adult Services Cllr David Brake said: “These facilities are most useful and designed to help those in need of support. If young carers know their family members are being looked after and supported it enables them to have more time for themselves doing the things that lots of young people do and take as a matter of course.”

For more information about Telecare visit www.medway.gov.uk/telecare

NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is holding it’s next governing body meeting on Wednesday 23 October. The meeting is at the CCG offices at 50 Pembroke Court, Chatham Maritime between 1pm and 5pm and is open to the public.

The agenda and papers will be available on the CCG website (www.medwayccg.nhs.uk) this Friday (18 October) and any questions should be tabled in advance where possible although they will also be taken on the day.

Visitors’ parking is available in the CCG overflow car park at Dickens World. Permits should be obtained in advance. To table a question or request a parking permit, contact Sharon Davies by email sharon.davies6@nhs.net, by phone 01634 335177 or in writing to Executive Support and Governance Assistant, NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, 50 Pembroke Court, Chatham Maritime, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4EL.

Medway has 25,000 carers according to the last census and Medway Council and NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) believes many more people are caring for friends or family but not recognising the extent of their role. More

Patients and carers from Medway and Swale took the opportunity to receive one-to-one welfare benefits advice and support at an information event at the Wisdom Hospice, Rochester on Thursday 10 October 2013.

The event was held in support of Hospice Care Week 7-13 October 2013, a national week to raise awareness of the range of support available to people with life-limiting conditions and their families. Read More

The people in charge of planning and buying NHS healthcare services for Medway are due to meet on Wednesday 24 July, 1.30pm at Fifty Pembroke Court, Chatham, ME4 4EL.

Local people are invited to observe the monthly governing body meeting, to find out about decisions being made on NHS healthcare services in the NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area.

There will be an opportunity for people to ask questions at the end of the meeting. Anyone who would like to submit questions in advance is encouraged to contact the CCG executive support team by email: sharon.davies6@nhs.net or by calling 01634 335177.

For further information, and to view the agenda and meeting papers (published on Friday 19 July), visit the CCG website: http://www.medwayccg.nhs.uk.

Kate Browning volunteer Wisdom HospiceTo mark National Volunteers’ Week (1 to 7 June 2013) health teams at Medway Community Healthcare are celebrating the vital support local volunteers give every day.

In Medway and Swale, 280 community volunteers support 47 teams by giving more than 4,000 hours of their own time each month. Their roles are varied and include offering complementary therapy at the Wisdom Hospice; supporting new mothers with breastfeeding; helping at exercise rehabilitation groups and assisting with administrative tasks.

Kate Browning is one of the longest-serving volunteers at Medway Community Healthcare, having been at the Wisdom Hospice, Rochester in a variety of roles spanning twenty years. Kate, who is 74, began volunteering at the hospice in 1993, inspired by the ‘wonderful care’ the team gave to her mother-in-law.

Kate explained: “I started out as a volunteer driver, helping people living in Medway and Swale to get to the Day Hospice once a week. The conversations you have during each journey are very important, people feel comfortable with you and safe. It’s about giving them the most pleasant journey you can.”

Having been a driver for many years, Kate decided to volunteer within the Day Hospice.

Kate continued: “I saw how much the day of relaxation and support helped people and I wanted to be part of it. I made tea, helped people at lunchtime and was on hand for anything that people needed allowing staff time to concentrate on nursing and running the activities.

“I now work on the hospice ward as a spiritual care volunteer, talking to and comforting very ill patients and their families. The days are varied, I even recently helped a husband to bring his pet spaniel to visit his wife; I enjoy bringing a smile to people’s faces.

“I admire the wonderful care the hospice team provide, they are exceptional at what they do. To be connected with them even by putting in a small bit is a huge privilege.”

Natalie Taylor, voluntary services manager, explained: “Our volunteers, aged from 17 to 83, volunteer with us for a number of reasons. Some wish to remain active after retirement, others are healthcare students looking to gain experience and we also have some of our former patients volunteering as their way of giving something back.

“Medway Community Healthcare would like to say a huge thank you to our many inspiring volunteers for the support you give to staff, patients and their families during National Volunteers’ Week and beyond.”

If you would like to become a volunteer with Medway Community Healthcare please call 01634 830456 and ask to speak to a voluntary services manager or visit http://www.medwaycommunityhealthcare.co.uk/volunteer

NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group held its first governing body meeting in public this week, and emphasised that its agenda is all about quality and improving outcomes for people.

The clinically led organisation is responsible for deciding how and where an annual budget of £315million is spent on hospital, community and mental health services for the 283,000 people in the Medway area. More

NHS Kent and Medway, Kent County Council and Medway Council have won £1.2 million in funding from NHS South of England’s Dementia Challenge Fund for four new projects to help patients with dementia in Kent and Medway.

The projects will support patients with dementia in hospital, train GPs in early diagnosis, train hospital and care home staff, reduce anti psychotic prescriptions and improve the life of dementia patients by developing dementia friendly communities.
Evelyn White, Associate Director Integrated Commissioning for NHS Kent and Medway, said: “We are pleased to announce we have won funding for four new projects to help those living with dementia in Kent and Medway. More

Medway Park in Gillingham now has a new accessible toilet for people with profound and multiple disabilities and others with personal care needs.
In line with recommendations from the Changing Places campaign, led by disability charity Mencap, the new amenity includes a height-adjustable changing bench, a hoist system and space for a disabled person and up to two carers. More

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