Omega exists to tackle some of the wider determinants of health, including social and economic issues. We achieve this by providing access to opportunities, information and a range of other non-clinical support. We work with family care-givers, people nearing the end of life, the bereaved, socially isolated individuals, the frail and the elderly.
- Supporting unpaid care-givers, particularly those looking after people with life-limiting or long-term health conditions
- Supporting former care-givers, the bereaved and the isolated frail-elderly
- Undertaking outreach activity to identify those in need of support
- Helping to raise standards in end of life care
- Collating and sharing information and resources
- Collaborating with other organisations to improve quality of end of life care in the community
We work collaboratively to achieve improvements in general care and palliative care with a range of delivery partners and specialists including clinicians, third sector organisations, care professionals, expert advisors, businesses, volunteers and others. We are keen to reach out in new areas and welcome offers to work closely with others. We discourage unhealthy dependency; instead helping people to help themselves and each other. We do this by disseminating important information, sharing skills and coping strategies, delivering facilitated group sessions, encouraging peer-support and arranging social activities.
We support a range of groups shaped by our beneficiaries, each with its own identity. We aim to fill gaps in local provision and take pride in tackling difficult issues. We have experience of working with hard to reach groups such as hidden carers, including those from BME communities and those who are socially isolated due to onerous caring responsibilities.
We have a proven track record reaching unpaid family care-givers who have not previously accessed the limited support available to them. Typically, our beneficiaries face three key problems:
- Social isolation
- Poor health
We adopt a variety of efficient and extremely cost-effective delivery models, relying upon a mix of experienced professional staff employed upon a sessional basis and talented volunteers.
In addition to managing a growing network of carer groups and continuing to work in several communities engaging with, and supporting un-paid family care-givers, including hidden carers, our achievements have included the following activity:
Omega delivered the first national snapshot of End of life care in primary care. This internationally significant survey includes information about 4487 deaths from 502 general practices in 15 PCT areas. Nine out of ten English Strategic Health Authority regions are represented. Facilitated by Omega, this audit was funded by Primary Care Trusts and the NHS National End of Life Programme and jointly delivered by the Gold Standards Framework national team, The Evidence Centre, and The University of Birmingham. We supported the successful development and delivery of 2 other web-based platforms to host audit/improvement applications of the GSF After Death Analysis tool.
We developed a number of strategic relationships and expanded delivery of facilitated groups support sessions under the auspices of the Department of Health funded Caring with Confidence programme. We launched an effective bereavement support programme and trialed and developed a successful bereavement outreach approach. 8 members of the Omega facilitator team received coach training and began supporting the work of other delivery partners.
We devised a group training resource suitable for health care workers involved in supporting people approaching end of life or who have recently faced bereavement. We launched the Wolverhampton Carer Forum with support from Wolverhampton City Council. We also launched a new group for carers of people with autism. Building on our successful track record in developing and testing guidance material we developed a range of resources in response to requests from groups and individuals. We extended the level of assistance we provide to families affected by motor neurone disease by launching the Omega MND iPad appeal.
Omega allocated more resources to supporting patients suffering from Motor Neurone Disease and their families. Working with the Zion City Tabernacle Church in Wolverhampton, we launched a new carer support group, aimed at carers looking after family members with mental health problems including dementia. Omega has always been committed to learning and continuous improvement; responding to demand from our beneficiaries, in September this year we began offering the opportunity to attend relaxed Community Learning Taster Sessions. Topics chosen by family carers included Computing With Confidence, Healthy Cooking and Making The Most Of Your Money. The sessions were very well received. We are delighted to report that we have further expanded our team of talented volunteers during the year and boosted our community outreach and information sharing capacity. In November 2012 we launched Omega Chatterbox - a free telephone befriending service. The Chatterbox Service enables us to reach more socially-isolated beneficiaries, many of whom are unable to attend support groups and other organised activities.
Omega Continues to Reach Carers from Across the Country
We have delivered over 2000 friendly group session places across the country. So far we have held sessions in the following areas:
- Greater Manchester
- West Sussex
Evidence of Need
In 2011, Omega consulted with 24 local commissioners in the West Midlands. The following responses, identifying issues and gaps in provision, were typical:
- A need for peer support and advocacy provided at arm’s length from statutory services, to complement the information and advice services provided by local authorities and the NHS
- Home-based and telephone support is valued by older carers and those who feel unable to leave the person they are caring for: such a service should always aim to find ways to enable carers to leave their homes and enjoy social opportunities to reduce isolation
- Group sessions which take people away from the caring role are valued
- Always a need for more support following bereavement
- Volunteering which matches individuals to worthwhile tasks rather than organisations
- The recruitment of carer champions
- A service which enables family carers to receive supplementary support when away from home; such care will not extend to personal care but would, in many cases, provide 'an extra pair of hands' to allow an older or frail carer and the person they look after to lead a more fulfilling life, by being able to do ordinary things with the person they care for e.g. to accompany a couple to enable them to visit a cafe for a meal out together.
This information will help us tailor our support programmes to the specific needs of our beneficiaries, without duplication. If you have identified unmet need in your area or want to complement existing provision please get in touch.