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Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

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Family, friends, carers

"I can plan my care with people who work together to understand me and my carer(s), allow me control, and bring together services to achieve the outcomes important to me."
National Voices
Narrative for Person Centred Care
Photo of CEO Stuart Bell.
  • Stuart Bell CBE
  • Chief Executive


Supporting families, friends and carers is central to the work we do as an organisation and plays a key part in allowing us to provide the best possible care to our patients and service users.

We know that, compared to other trusts, Oxford Health is already doing a good job when it comes to working with families, friends and carers. We are proud this work has already been nationally recognised.

But there is much more we can, want and need to do.

Our I Care, You Care initiative outlines our plans for the families, friends and carers that we come into contact with. We hope everyone takes the time to read through our ideas and let us know their thoughts.

We want carers to have the best possible experience when they come into contact with our services and staff, and I Care, You Care is us setting out our commitment to listen carefully to what people have to say and act on this feedback.

Thank you for taking the time to read through our plans and we look forward to hearing from you.

We believe that  to achieve the best possible outcomes for our patients we must work together as a team with their families, friends and carers.

We are on a journey to improve the work we do with families, friends and carers and are working towards a ‘three star’ Triangle of Care rating, having achieved a ‘two star’ in 2015.

The Triangle of Care is a nationally recognised accreditation tool developed by the Carers Trust in collaboration with NHS staff and carers.

"Sometimes, it’s the little bits of advice that you can get that you won’t have thought about as a carer, as you’re too close to things to see them. Just a simple observation that someone can make can have a profound impact on your life."
Alex Priestley
Cares for his son and daughter

Our approach

The Triangle of Care outlines six key standards that are designed to make sure families, friends and carers are better involved and informed in the provision of care and supported in their caring role.

  • Carers and their essential role are identified at first contact, or as soon as possible afterward.
  • Staff are ‘carer aware’, and trained in carer engagement strategies.
  • Policy and practice protocols for confidentiality and sharing information are in place.
  • Defined post(s) responsible for carers are in place.
  • A carer introduction to the service and staff is available, with a relevant range of information across the acute care pathway.
  • A range of carer support is available.

What's next?

Now we want to go one better.

Having successfully applied the key standards of the Triangle of Care across our mental health services, we now want to make sure we are doing the same for those supporting our patients using our physical health services, such as our community hospitals, district nursing and therapy teams, and children’s health services.

We plan to do this over the next 12-18 months, working closely with the Carers Trust, with the aim of getting a ‘three star’ accreditation – something no other NHS trust trust has yet achieved.

To do this, we have reviewed all of our services to see how they currently perform against the Triangle of Care’s key standards, and set ourselves targets to meet over the next three years.

"If you ask a carer if they’re okay, then be prepared to listen to what they have to say. Sometimes, you just need to get things off your chest, and know that you’ve been heard by someone."
Photo of carer Claire Garrison.
Claire Garrison
Cares for her daughter and parents

I Care You Care Strategy

We know a lot of our services are already doing some great work, but we recognise there is still more to be done. The aim of I Care, You Care is to make sure we are learning from the things we are doing well and offer a consistent approach across the Trust.

Central to this will be creating strong relationships with families, friends and carers, as well as carer groups, and providing clear ways for people to give regular feedback about how we are doing.

We know we might not always get things right first time, but we are committed to working in partnership with our patients and the people that support them, to provide the best possible care.


Where are we now?

The review of our services has highlighted a number of things for us to work on over the next 12-18 months in order to get our three star Triangle of Care accreditation.

The areas we know we need to make improvements are:

  • Adopt a more consistent approach to the support we provide families, friends and carers across our physical health services.
  • Better recognise the needs of specific carer groups that present unique challenges to the Trust (e.g. young carers, people who care for patients with dementia, or those receiving end of life care).
  • Harness the enthusiasm our staff have for working with

    families, friends and carers we need to identify people within our services to lead on this work and give them the time they need to focus on it.
  • Develop a clearer picture of the many different carer representative groups and organisations so we can better capture their feedback and address the issues they raise.
  • Develop the culture of the organisation to better value the importance of carers’ roles, and to deliver services that support them in their caring role.
  • Involve families, friends and carers fully in the ‘co-production’ of services, and nurture a culture in which we ‘do with’ people.

What we plan to do

As part of our I Care, You Care initiative, we have set ourselves a number of targets to achieve over the next three years. These include:

  • Creating a permanent, new post to be the Trust’s leader in our improvement work in this area.
  • Ensuring that all senior leaders’ roles include a clear expectation for improving the way our services effectively support and involve families, friends and carers.
  • Reviewing the Triangle of Care self-assessment and improvement process for physical health services, adapting it where needed in collaboration with the Carers Trust, and rolling it out across all of our services.
  • Identifying a nominated lead for families, friends and carers in every service and ensuring that lead is given enough time and space to focus on this element of their role.
  • Creating a ‘community of practice’ for local carer leads, which will include using both online networking and knowledge-sharing tools and a programme of conferences and events, with carer representatives invited to take part.
  • Introducing a rolling annual programme to review and improve our approach to care planning and delivery, ensuring that our services are carefully considering carers’ needs, including any special circumstances of care.
  • Reviewing and improving our web pages, leaflets and other information to make sure the information families, friends and carers need is clear and easily accessible.
  • Developing further family, friend and carers’ training for staff and ensuring that all staff receive this as part of their learning.
  • Improving the way we hold ourselves to account regarding our commitment to families, friends and carers by inviting Governors and nominated representatives to regularly attend our forums and ensure we are delivering on our aims.
  • Constantly reviewing and improving all of our work to ensure it is fully inclusive for everyone irrespective of age, disability, race, religion, belief, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity.
  • Evaluating how well we have done using the Trust’s I Want Great Care patient feedback tool, and holding focus groups with carer representatives.
  • Publishing an annual report on our progress.

We believe that these changes will allow us to provide the best possible support for the families, friends and carers we come into contact with and help us to achieve Triangle of Care ‘three star’ accreditation.

Get involved

Everyone at Oxford Health is working towards making the experience for families, friends and carers the best it possibly can be. The feedback of those that we come into contact with is vital to us developing and evolving our services in line with their needs.

We already run various carer forums across the different services we provide and will be expanding these over the coming months and years as part of our I Care, You Care initiative to provide places for families, friends and carers to meet and talk about the issues that most affect them.

If you want to learn more about what the service you come into contact with can offer you in terms of support then speak with our staff: these will be able to provide you with information and point you in the right direction.

You can email us at: and someone will come back to you with any help you might need. 

You can download this strategy as a printable PDF to share with others.

You may also like our Adult Directorate carers’ handbook.

The Trust also has carer representation on its Council of Governors, with positions dedicated for families, friends and carers to act as representatives for carers at the highest level of the organisation.

These elected carer governors play an important role in how the Trust is run and hold the board to account for the decisions it makes.

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