East Sussex has the second highest proportion of people with dementia of any local authority in the country, affecting 10 per cent of women and six per cent of men over 65 (Alzheimer’s Society, 2007). In recognition of the need within the county for support for carers of older people with dementia, pilot projects had previously been set up in Eastbourne and South Wealden. The aim of the East Sussex Carers’ Demonstrator site was to expand these existing pilots across the county. The East Sussex Carers' break demonstrator site was commissioned and funded by the Department of Health as part of the 2008 National Carers’ Strategy.
The evaluation commenced in October 2009 and research findings were published in a report in March 2011.
The main aim of the evaluation was to gain a greater understanding of the views and experiences of those using and involved in providing or referring to the service. It was felt that qualitative methods using interviews were most appropriate in order to gather in-depth information from participants. Data from these interviews were analysed thematically.
The project has been hugely beneficial to many carers through increasing well-being and helping them to cope with their caring role. People with dementia have also benefited from their involvement.
The success of the project, however, is dependent upon provision of sufficient skilled staff in order to maintain the flexibility and person-centred character of the service, whilst at the same time increasing the amount of hours and number of people accessing support. Organisational issues around transport and communication also need to be addressed in order to increase efficiency and continue to provide the high quality and greatly needed support delivered by the project.
Download the evaluation report
Professor Marian Barnes
Evaluation of the East Sussex Carers’ Breaks Demonstrator Site evaluation report
East Sussex County Council