Rally round to support carers

A new online service is bringing together Oxfordshire carers to help their loved ones stay safe and well at home.

Rally Round is a free digital network which enables family members, friends and carers to create and organise support for themselves and the person they care for.

Rally Round, which is backed by Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) and Carers Oxfordshire, was designed to help frail older people and their family carers, but can be used to help anyone who needs more practical support.

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Dr Barbara Batty, OCCG clinical lead for older people, said: "This is an exciting digital tool to make life easier for carers in Oxfordshire. It's like social media where new starters are supported to set up their own network.

"Individuals become part of the network by invitation only and can be family, close friends or professionals - so someone well-known and trusted.

"Rally Round promotes strong support networks which in turn help people stay out of hospital or reduce their dependence on care services."

Carers start by inviting friends and family to form a support network. They can all add things that need doing, discuss details and volunteer to help. Texts and emails alerts remind everyone in the in the network who is doing what and when things are done.

Catherine Blaxhall, Head of Carers Support at Carers Oxfordshire, said: "Rally Round is all about getting jobs done. A carer logs that their fence has blown down, for example, and asks if someone in their network can fix it.

"People on the network will know when somebody has agreed to do the task. It's helpful as carers are not sending repeated texts and making phone calls – saving time and stress. It can be easier for the carer to ask for help via a network rather than approaching an individual.

"Here in Oxfordshire the carers signed up to Rally Round have used it to help plan a hospital discharge for a cared for person with dementia; a parent carer with cancer is using it to organise for her disabled children to be helped to school and activities on the days she feels less well, and a working carer is using it to build up a network of support around her elderly mother. It is a wonderful resource for anyone needing support and has almost unlimited potential.”

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