Parent carers of disabled children tend to have poorer mental and physical health than other parents. Researchers and parent carers have co-developed a programme to improve the health and wellbeing of parent carers of disabled children.
The programme is led by parent carers and involves working with others in a group to encourage behaviours associated with better health and wellbeing. The behaviours are called CLANGERS: Connect, Learn, be Active, Notice, Give, Eat well, Relax and Sleep, and are based on a book by Dr Phil Hammond.
In the previous feasibility study, we wanted to see whether the programme can be delivered in the community through organisations that have links with parent carers. We also wanted to find out whether we can test the programme to see whether it improves health and wellbeing and whether it is good value for money.
We randomly allocated parent carers to either receive the group intervention or to receive only the Healthy Parent Carer Guide information online. All parent carers completed questionnaires before and after the programme and 6 months later.
We wanted to find out whether parent carers are willing to take part in a study like this, whether enough people sign up and stay to the end of the study, and whether the ways we measure health and wellbeing are appropriate.
The study has now been completed and we are currently analysing the data and will share a summary of the results when they are ready.
Current Implementation Study
Using what we have learnt from the previous study we are now working with two leading UK based Charities, Council for Disabled Children and Contact to look at whether the programme can be delivered in partnership with them.
We want to explore how the programme can be replicated by organisations who may have different contexts, resources, and ways of working that the intervention will need to work within. We will look at the things that worked well in the previous study and what similar or different things the charities might do, including, recruiting facilitators, setting up venues, organising training and providing practical and emotional support to the facilitators.
This work will hopefully set the foundations for implementing the programme, nationally and internationally.