How Carers First use the Carers Star in their work

Logo for Carers First - the words Carers First in purple on a white background
We recently caught up with Ferne Haxby – one of our Outcomes Star licensed trainers – and learned how the staff at Carers First use the Carers Star in their work.

I’ve been the Learning & Development Adviser for Carers First since 2016. My role includes ensuring the organisation is compliant by providing statutory training – GDPR and Safeguarding.  As well as championing compliance for Carers Frist, I author courses in a range of subjects that enhance the roles of the staff, source external learning providers, and arrange bespoke workplace training.

The Carers First staff team is committed to using the Outcomes Stars as part of their work; we have a large contingency who use the Carers Star.

The Carers Star is designed for use with a wide range of carers – anyone providing unpaid care for a relative or other person. It can be used by the carer whether they live with the person they care for or not. It’s primarily designed for adult carers but can be used with young carers.

The Carers Star is fundamental to the assessment of carers and allows Carers First’s staff to develop other supporting skills such as motivational interviewing, negotiating and communication as part of their roles. Using this, we can work with carers, supporting and empowering them, making their lives as best as they can be.

I am fully committed to using the Outcomes Star and after initial training it is good to see the number of staff grow in their use of it.  Refresher and reflective training is my favourite, as I facilitate sessions whereby staff are sharing experiences, knowledge and best practice together.  Each time, there is something new to learn and share between staff and this allows us to use the Star to the optimum advantage to help our carers in their journeys as carers.

What is so good is that the Star is a life tool and even though there comes a time when carers are not carers anymore, some keep on our books and check in every now and then and are still using the action plans and development tools as they live their lives. 

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The adult care sector is extremely broad, but most services in this sector focus on helping people achieve the outcomes that matter in their lives. Explore the Stars available for the Adult Care sector.

Full materials are available for organisations with a Star Licence and training for all managers and workers using the Star.

Triangle have also developed a guide for using the Carers Star and other Stars in the context of the Care Act 2014.

The Integration Star and refugees – common questions and answers

People arriving at an airport

Frequently asked questions about using the Integration Star and how it can be used to support services and service users

Last October, Triangle launched the Integration Star, the Star to support refugees to integrate into life in the UK. The development of the Star has been a collaboration with the Refugee Council and the Star was piloted by the Refugee Council and their partners on the New Roots programme, in London and in Yorkshire & Humber.

In this blog, we bring together some of the frequently asked questions and draw on the expertise of Amilee Collins, National Project Worker at the Refugee Council, who shared her experience of using the Integration Star at our recent Webinar, Better conversations, Better outcomes. Amilee has 14 years experience resettling refugee families and her team offers a client-led holistic support service. She finds that the new Outcomes Star suits this approach.

What are the key benefits of using the Integration Star?

From Amilee’s perspective, one of the most important aspects of the Integration Star was that it is a visual tool that her clients could understand and engage unlike previous assessment frameworks used. The pictorial resources that accompany the Integration Star, support this engagement, even when communication is through an interpreter.

The visual snapshot that the Star provides, has also been extremely useful, as the visual communicates a client’s needs succinctly to other agencies, reducing the need for families to repeat everything to each agency involved in their support.

Another aspect of the Star that Amilee appreciates, is that the scales for each Outcome Area, based on a Journey of Change specific to the Integration Star, are clearly defined in the User guide. This helps the worker and client to identify where they are on the scale and helps them visualise next steps. Amilee feels this helps to promote some objectivity and parity between worker and client, as they use the Star together.

The Integration Star is structured around 8 Outcome areas and Amilee finds this helpful to break things down and she often completes the Star in more than one sitting. Amilee found that clients surprised themselves, as they worked around the Star; clients can become overwhelmed by the challenges they experience, but the Integration Star helped them see that they were progressing well in some areas, and this restored some confidence and self-belief and helped the client to get some perspective on the areas that were still difficult. Clients fed back that they found using the Integration Star useful and easy to understand.

Can you complete the Integration Star through an interpreter?

Amilee found that completing the Integration Star with a client via an interpreter was no different to doing any other work through an interpreter. Her top tip is to brief the interpreter beforehand and provide a Star chart and visual of the Journey of Change so that they can familiarise themselves with the concept of Outcomes Stars. Triangle has produced a leaflet for interpreters explaining the purpose of the Integration Star and explaining the Journey of Change. Amilee’s other piece of advice is to encourage the interpreter to speak in the first person; the Integration Star is about capturing the voice of the client, so she feels it is important to hear a client’s responses in the first person.

Is the Integration Star translated into other languages?

The Integration Star is not translated into other languages at the moment. The resources are very visual to support communication where the client might have limited English, or where an interpreter is being used.

Is the Integration Star a tool you use with individuals or families?

The Integration Star is designed to capture where an individual is on the Journey of Change scale and how they are navigating their new life in the UK, including supporting their children to settle. Amilee explained that she completes a Star for each adult in the family and gives them the opportunity to complete their Star one-to-one. This is really helpful to explore the different needs and strengths and perspectives of each individual.

Triangle has a range of other Stars that can be used with children and young people in the family to capture their voice.

What were the challenges of using the Star in lockdown?

Amilee was surprised how easy the Integration Star was to use remotely. Preparation is key, and Amilee always made sure, if she was going to do a Star remotely, that the client had access to Star resources. The visual of Journey of Change has been particularly helpful for clients to identify how they are feeling and then plot the relevant stage on their Star, so this usually meant printing and posting the Star Chart and Journey of Change to the client in advance of a phone or video call. Amilee used a range of platforms to talk to clients; Whatsapp, Zoom and Teams. The client usually used their phone screen for the call, so sending the client physical printed resources in advance, meant that the client didn’t have to look at the materials on the screens at the same time. Amilee would complete the Star during the call and sent a completed Star to the client.

Can the Integration Star be used with Asylum Seekers?

Triangle and the Refugee Council were open to the Integration Star working for Asylum seekers, but during the development process it became apparent that it would not be possible to structure clearly defined scales that could work well both for Refugees and for Asylum seekers, given the difference in eligibility for housing and benefits etc. so the scales, particularly Housing, Money and Education and Work relate options available to Refugees rather than Asylum Seekers.

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The Integration Star is one of two new Stars which are designed to support organisations and services that work with service users who are refugees, asylum-seekers and need assistance in settling in their new home and navigating a new country.  The Planning Star is the Outcomes Star for asylum-seeking children and may be more suitable for services working to support children. Both Stars have a strong foundation in supporting and empowering service users to best adjust and navigate the complexity of refugee and asylum-status. For more information please contact us.

Going back to my roots: Presenting the Carers Star to the Carers Awareness Day in Hong Kong

Stock photograph of a street in Hong Kong at night
Star co-creator Joy MacKeith reflects on how the Carers Star is taking her back to where she started life in Hong Kong

It is always exciting to have the opportunity to speak at an event about the Outcomes Star, but my presentation on the Carers Star to the Carers Awareness Day in Hong Kong this Friday is particularly meaningful to me.

I was born in Hong Kong and lived there until I was seven. My parents had travelled there from England just six months earlier so my father could take up a management post at the Nethersole Hospital on Hong Kong Island. He had been inspired by his aunt who had worked as a teacher in Shanghai and then Hong Kong from the 1930s to the early 1960s.  What a delight (just) over fifty years later to be able to share a tool I co-created with a Hong Kong audience of professionals, policy-makers and carers themselves.

Photograph of Joy MacKeith as a child with a group of people
Joy MacKeith, aged 6, with nurses from the Nethersole Hospital where her father worked

The annual event aims to promote the awareness of carers and their needs among the social service sector and policy makers. It is organised by Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service (BOKSS) a not-for-profit which provides a wide range of services across Hong Kong including children, youth and family services, services for older people and mental health services.

BOKSS have established a CARE College which provides training to carers, professionals and related agencies and raises awareness of the needs of carers. When they came across the Carers Star they recognised that the collaborative approach to assessment and action planning that is at the heart of the tool fitted perfectly with their holistic and participative approach. 

Image of the Carers Star in chinese
The Carers Star in Chinese

The Carers Star was developed by Triangle with the Carers Trust and Social Enterprise of East Lothian in Scotland. It covers seven key areas in which carers often need support including their own health, adapting to the caring role and making time for themselves. It is already widely used in the UK (including by The Carers Trust and Barnardos) and Australia (including by Australian National Carer Gateway and Uniting Care West), with over 30,000 readings on the Star Online. 

My presentation will introduce the Carers Star and outline its dual purpose as a key-work tool to support a structured and empowering conversation with a support worker, and an outcomes measurement tool providing valuable information about how things are changing for carers whilst they receive support. Sadly for me the event is completely online but on the positive side that will mean that I can be joined by colleagues Angela Kallabis and Laura Baker for the Q+A session. 

Percentage of service users moving forward in the seven Carers Star outcome areas

It is a long time since I lived in Hong Kong, but it is where life started for me and I still have vivid memories of my time there. I never could have dreamt that I tool I co-created would reach out so far into the world and pull me back, half a century later, to my roots. I will follow the journey of the Carers Star in Hong Kong with great interest and hope that it is as helpful there as it has been in the UK and Australia.

 

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The Carers Star was recently translated into Chinese in collaboration with Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service (BOKSS). For more information on the Stars and how to use them internationally or in translation take a look at our International section or contact Triangle for more information.

Integration Star proves a hit

After a successful pilot with the Refugee Council, the Integration Star for refugees is now available for widespread use, with an introductory webinar taking place this February. What’s more, the Star is a great fit with the Home Office’s integration framework, writes Triangle’s research analyst Dr Anna Good.

Designed for refugees needing to build lives in the UK, the long-awaited Integration Star was finally published at the end of 2020. It’s been in development for two years and has undergone a rigorous pilot with the Refugee Council and refugee community organisations that collaborated in the Star’s development. And it’s proven to be a powerfully transformative tool.

Not only has the Star gone down well with refugees and with workers, but it’s also been greeted positively by the Home Office – an important factor for refugee organisations reporting to the department or seeking Home Office funding.

From the outset, the Refugee Council wanted a tool that could map onto the Home Office’s “Indicators of Integration” framework. That was on Triangle’s agenda too – as part of the development process we carry out a detailed literature review that examines the issues affecting the sector. This time the review included each of the domains in the Home Office framework.

The Integration Star

Designed for use with refugees needing support to integrate into their new country and to build a new life there.

The Home Office framework mainly focuses on end outcomes of successful integration, such as work, housing, education and social connection. Within the Integration Star, these and other outcomes form the end point of Star domains. They are  typically realised at the top of the Journey of Change (the model of change that underlies every Star). But the Star also captures important changes in acknowledgement of issues, acceptance of help and attempts to change things. This makes for a nuanced tool that maps the stages refugees go through from getting practical help to building the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to integrate into their new country.

It was important, however, that the Home Office framework did not pre-determine the shape of the Star. That was developed from the bottom up in a series of workshops and expert interviews that teased out the issues for front-line workers and for refugees. As with all Outcomes Stars, what mattered was partnership and collaboration.

The drafting of a Star is a meticulous and lengthy process – if people knew how much detail went into it they would be amazed. The Integration Star had many, many iterations, examining the structure and the content through a number of different lenses.

As research analyst at Triangle, part of my role is to check that the scales have clearly defined stages so that readings are comparable when they are done by different people. I then crunch the numbers from the pilot and check the psychometric properties of the Star to see that it’s academically sound. In addition we put a lot of thought and testing into how the Star worked for different refugee circumstances – refugees who come in on a resettlement programme, and refugees who don’t have resettlement status and typically have been in the UK for longer.

It was encouraging – though by no means a given – that the final version of the Star mapped really well onto the Home Office framework. And Home Office officials have been very positive about the Star, seeing it as a much simpler, more accessible tool for refugees.

One worker from the pilot sums up the prevailing mood: “The Integration Star is a really powerful, clear tool that can visualise a client’s support needs. I think it provokes conversations that highlight support needs that may have otherwise been missed”.

A separate version of the Star, the Planning Star was published last year for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

The Integration Star and the Planning Star are available to all organisations with a Star licence and training is available for workers and managers. Join our Integration Star webinar on 9th February or contact us for more information on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

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Triangle Consulting Social Enterprise is an innovative, mission-led organisation that exists to help people reach their highest potential and live meaningful and fulfilling lives, often in the context of social disadvantage, trauma, disability or illness.

The Refugee Council works with individuals and families to make sure they can live safe, fulfilling lives in the UK after being forced to seek refuge from persecution and human rights abuses overseas.

The development of this Star was part funded by the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

Other organisations taking part in the development of the Integration Star included: RETAS (Refugee Education Training Advice Service) Leeds, Leeds Refugee Forum, Path Yorkshire, Goodwin Development Trust, Humber Community Advice Services (H-CAS), Refugee Action Kingston, Iranian Association, Diversity Living Services, Bahar Women’s Association, Action for Community Development, West Yorkshire Somali Association, DAMASQ, Stepping Stone 4, Leeds Swahili Community.

Triangle measures what matters at GO Lab’s Social Outcomes conference

Triangle’s Co-founder and Director contributes to GO Lab’s Social Outcomes conference programme to share learning from using the Well-being Star in a large social prescribing  programme and how vital it is that measurement approaches are designed with relationship building and behaviour change in mind.

Hosted by The Government Outcomes (GO) Lab, the Social Outcomes conference brings together researchers, policymakers and practitioners working to improve social outcomes. Joy MacKeith, Triangle’s Co-founder and Director features at this year’s virtual event; she will share learning from 20 years of measuring individual outcomes to contribute to a debate about how commissioning approaches and Social Impact Bonds in particular can help or hinder the achievement of social outcomes.

Joy Said:

“When people design a Social Impact Bond or any other commissioning approach, they need to be mindful of how it will impact at the front line because that is where the real change happens. Research tells us that the quality of the engagement between workers and service users is absolutely critical to behaviour change but sometimes payment mechanisms can unintentionally impact in a negative way."

"The Outcomes Star has been designed to provide service-wide outcomes data whilst at the same time supporting that collaboration and helping people take the small steps that together add up to achieving their goals.“

Joy Mackieth

Joy is joined by Tara Case, Chief Executive of Ways to Wellness ­– a large-scale social prescribing service and the first health service in the UK (and globally) with social impact funding. Ways to Wellness, with Bridges Fund Management as investors and Newcastle Gateshead CCG as commissioners, has been using the Well-being Star since 2015 as part of the support their service provides and to capture client-reported wellbeing improvements; the Star was specified in the outcomes-based funding contract for the programme.

Tara said:

“We have found that the Well-being Star helps to open up conversations that might have been hard to broach without it.  It helps our Link Workers take a holistic approach and make links between different aspects of someone’s situation. It helps services to tailor what they do to support the person whilst also providing a standardised framework for reporting results.”

The Well-being Star was created for people living with a long-term health condition, to measure their progress in living as well as they can, and support self-management, rehabilitation and person-centred approaches. Triangle recently conducted further validation work on the Well-being Star within the Ways to Wellness service and shared their findings.

GO Lab’s Social Outcomes Conference runs 1st-4th September. Triangle is contributing to “Back to the Future? Learning from the UK”s experience with impact bonds: what should we take with us and what should we leave behind?” which takes place 15.30–17:00 (UK BST) on Tuesday, 1st September. You can register to attend free of charge via Eventbrite.

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Triangle is the social enterprise behind the Outcomes Star™. Triangle exists to help service providers transform lives by creating engaging tools and promoting enabling approaches. Through the Outcomes Star, they work with services to promote and measure individual change and to enable learning at an individual, service, organisation and sector-wide levels. The Outcomes Star™ is an evidence-based management tool for both supporting and measuring change. For more information email info@triangleconsulting.co.uk.

Ways to Wellness is a service for people in the west of Newcastle whose daily lives are affected by certain long-term health conditions. GPs and their primary care teams use social prescribing to refer patients to the service. Ways to Wellness adds to and complements the medical support that people receive, to help them feel more confident to manage their long-term conditions and make positive lifestyle choices. For more information email info@waystowellness.org.uk.

The Well-being Star and The Family Star Plus are available to all organisations with a Star licence, and full training can be given for workers and managers. For more information on the Outcomes Star, please contact us on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

Recent updates on the Well-being Star™ for adults self-managing health conditions

The Well-being Star is a holistic, person-centred, outcomes focused and strengths-based tool. It encourages people with long-term health conditions to consider a range of factors that have an impact on their quality of life.

The completed well-being Star
Figure 1

 

It was developed with DoH funding in collaboration with North East Essex PCT and can be used in a variety of settings from hospices to rehabilitation centres and social prescribing services. The Star supports and measures progress in eight areas identified by patients, health professionals and researchers as central to maximising well-being and independence when living with a long-term health condition (See Figure 1).

Service users may begin at the bottom of the Journey of Change (‘Not thinking about it’) and the aim is to progress to things the situation being ‘as good as it can be’.

We have recently conducted further validation work on the Well-being Star within Ways to Wellness, a social prescribing service using the Well-being Star.  Ways to Wellness is an innovative service for people whose daily lives are affected by certain long-term health conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy or heart disease.

Our psychometric validation presents evidence that the eight outcome areas form a coherent measure, with no repetition and good sensitivity to detecting change.  Since publishing the first version of this factsheet we have expanded the sample of link workers who have taken part in our peer-reviewed case study method for assessing how reliably workers apply the scales. The findings using the larger sample confirmed initial positive results showing good understanding of how to use the Well-being Star’s scale descriptions.

Chief Executive of Ways to Wellness, Tara Case is talking alongside our Strategic Director, Joy MacKeith, about the Well-being Star in the context of social prescribing and payment by results at the upcoming Government Outcomes Lab International Social Outcomes Conference.

Their session “Measuring what matters: an innovative outcomes tool capturing what is most important to beneficiaries” contributes towards the broader topic “Back to the Future? Learning from the UK’s experience with impact bonds: what should we take with us and what should we leave behind?” and  takes place 15.30–17:00 (UK BST) on Tuesday, 1st September. Register to attend free of charge via Eventbrite.

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Triangle is the social enterprise behind the Outcomes Star. Triangle exists to help people reach their highest potential. Through the Outcomes Star, they work with services to promote and measure individual change and to enable learning at an individual, service, organisation and sector-wide levels. The Outcomes Star is an evidence-based management tool for both supporting and measuring change. For more information email info@triangleconsulting.co.uk.

Ways to Wellness is a service for people in the west of Newcastle whose daily lives are affected by certain long-term health conditions. GPs and their primary care teams use social prescribing to refer patients to the service. Ways to Wellness adds to and complements the medical support that people receive, to help them feel more confident to manage their long-term conditions and make positive lifestyle choices. For more information email info@waystowellness.org.uk.

The Well-being Star is available to all organisations with a Star licence, and full training can be given for workers and managers. For more information on the Outcomes Star, please contact us on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

A real difference: How the Star is helping the Carers Trust prove its impact

In the increasingly competitive world of carer services, commissioners want robust outcomes data. For the Carers Trust, measuring outcomes has become crucial in its mission to improve support for unpaid carers – and the Carers Star is helping provide the evidence it needs.

Since the Care Act of 2014, local authority commissioners have had to assess carers and provide support where needed. This has given rise to bigger, multiple contracts for services helping carers – and a corresponding demand from commissioners for good outcomes measurement.Carers Star case study

 “The landscape now is that you need to demonstrate the difference that you’re making – it’s more and more competitive,” says Dr Richard McManus, insight and intelligence manager at the Carers Trust. “There’s a big difference in the way services are commissioned and ultimately how they’re delivered.”

The Carers Trust has a large network of partners, all operating in slightly different ways, so collecting and analysing robust outcomes data across the network is crucial. “The Carers Star is widely used throughout the network,” says Richard. “It’s a really useful tool, based on lots of research, evidence and testing, as well as engagement with the carers themselves.”

With nearly a third of the Carers Trust’s network partners now using the Star, Richard McManus is able to see the individual impact of particular services, but also to gather data on the collective impact across the network. It’s proving invaluable in securing bigger contracts, which the Trust bids for jointly with one or more network partners.

“Having the Carers Star is a really good way of demonstrating that we understand the needs of carers,” says Richard. “More generic charities might have less robust reporting and measurement in place. But with the Star we can show we have specialist knowledge and real expertise – and also for particular groups, like young carers, carers for people with dementia, or carers who also work.”

The Carers Trust is seeing benefits right across the network. “The network partners that use the Star really value it,” says Richard McManus. “It helps them with improving their services and transforming the way they deliver those services, based on real evidence and feedback from carers.”

“And of course, because of its robust design and methodology, it’s highly appealing to commissioners.”

For more detail about how the Star works both as a measuring tool and for carers themselves, have a look at the case study. Related blog: we also published a related blog; Carers Star makes collaboration count.

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The Carers Star is available to all organisations with a Star licence, and full training can be given for workers and managers. For more information on the Carers Star, please contact us on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

New Outcomes Stars for mental health

Introducing the new My Mind Star and a new, improved edition of the Recovery Star

My Mind Star – a much needed and timely tool for early intervention with young people

My Mind Star was developed in collaboration with managers, service users and professionals at leading UK children’s charity, Action for Children. It was also piloted by:

The results of the pilot were very positive, with 94% of young people agreeing that their complete Star was ‘a good summary of my life right now”.

94% of practitioners agreed that My Mind Star gave them a better idea of the support needs of the young people they support.

“Often young people have not been listened to or given control: completing the Star gives them space and lets them take the lead.” 

 Grainne Hart, Manager of the Choices Service, part of the My Mind Star pilot

Find out more about the My Mind Star here.

The Recovery Star (4th Edition)

This is a new and improved edition, drawing on independent research and feedback from service users, keyworkers and organisations.

The new edition retains the person-centred, strengths based approach of previous editions but with even more accessible language, incorporating trauma-informed thinking and fuller acknowledgement of the impact of external factors.

There is fuller recognition of the necessity of on-going support for enduring and severe conditions. It is backed by a report on independent research into the psychometric properties and a review of literature supporting the Journey of Change and choice of outcome areas.

Find out more about the new Recovery Star here.

Both Stars were launched at the Govconnect Mental Health 2019 Conference at the Royal Society of Medicine on 26th September.

If you have any questions about our new Stars, any queries about transitioning between the Recovery Star 3rd Edition and the new Edition, or you would just like find out more about how the Stars can support your service users, keyworkers and organisation, please contact us on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.