Carers Need Care Too

By the Tonic UK Team

As a healthcare communications agency we are dedicated to supporting the patient community, and working to improve the lives of patients and their families. But the work we do often extends to carers as well, who have a vital role in the care of patients.

This week is national Carers Week in the UK – an annual campaign dedicated to supporting the millions of unpaid carers across the country who look after a parent, child, partner or friend with a disability or illness, or who need age-related support.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the challenges carers face, recognise the contribution they make and share ways to connect and support carers, so they can stay healthy and connected.

Healthy and Connected is the theme for this year’s campaign to highlight the importance of the health and welfare of carers.

Carers Week aims to shine a spotlight on the needs of carers both within the community, in the workplace, in schools and across health services. The goal of this week is to advocate for carers to get the practical help they need such as flexible working hours and remote working. Sadly, 72% of carers have to give up work to care for their loved one, so flexibility in the workplace is crucial to help reduce this trend.

What does this mean for our industry?

Pharmaceutical companies work closely with patient organisations to support and better understand the needs of the patients they work to treat, and some are now launching new initiatives to gain more knowledge about the growing carer community. Last year Merck carried out an international survey of 3,500 carers to uncover the everyday challenges that carers face in looking after their loved one. The research found that 47% of carers had feelings of depression, while 54% did not have time to attend their own doctors’ appointments. It also found that a concerning 55% of responding carers felt that their own physical health had suffered. Merck said the results speak for themselves, and have since launched an initiative called Embracing Carers, which strives for increased awareness and support for the carer network worldwide.

A Government report from last year found that 25% of carers had not had a day off in over five years. Ministers state they are now looking at a new action plan to improve carer provisions as part of the UK’s social care strategy.

More needs to be done to recognise and support this invisible army.

Carers across the UK – Fast Facts (from Carers Trust)

  • There are around 7 million carers in the UK – that is one in ten people.
  • Three in five people will be carers at some point in their lives in the UK.
  • Out of the UK’s carers, 42% of carers are men and 58% are women.
  • The economic value of the contribution made by carers in the UK is £132bn a year.
  • By 2030, the number of carers will increase by 3.4 million (around 60%).

Follow @carersweek on social media to learn more, and use #carersweek to join in!

Your Wish, Our Resolution

By: Liz Kane, Senior Account Executive

Whatever you prefer to call it – a fresh start, a clean slate, a new beginning – the new year provides another 365 days to achieve goals. As 2015 came to a close, we asked our clients and industry contacts what their one PR wish would be for Tonic Life Communications to achieve in 2016. As a thank you for their efforts, Tonic made a charitable donation on their behalf to their choice of Philabundance or Heifer, doing our part to ensure families in Philadelphia and around the world had a happy holiday season.

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While we certainly expected to gather a variety of results and interesting ideas, what we heard from our clients and partners was much more valuable: an array of actionable “to-dos” that will strengthen our proven expertise, expand upon our capabilities, help grow new business, and challenge Tonic in a way that can only excite a team of PR professionals. Responses received from @JanssenUS, @TevaUSA, @Sanofi, and @Pfizer included:

  • Create social media and digital communities
  • Grow brand support
  • Expand best practices across networks
  • Drive disease awareness
  • Develop award-winning programs to support client business goals

You may be asking yourself, how can one agency achieve all of this in one year? Well, with a network of highly accredited clients, a team of hardworking PR professionals, and creative strategy, Tonic’s successes in 2015 set the bar pretty high to accomplish all of the above and more in 2016.

Let’s take a look back at a few highlights from 2015!

Won Several Awards for a Public Service Campaign

Know Your Count:

  • Clio Healthcare Bronze Award – Public Relations, Disease Awareness Campaign
  • Hermes Award
  • Marcom Platinum Award – Public Relations
  • Marcom Honorable Mention – Public Service Announcement
  • Philadelphia Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Pepperpot Award – Public Service Announcement
  • PR News Agency Elite Award

Expanded Educational Campaigns with Celebrity Spokespeople

Get Your Full Course: In partnership with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), Get Your Full Course is an educational campaign developed by Janssen (client) to help people living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) manage their disease through diet, nutrition, and appropriate therapy. Throughout 2015, Get Your Full Course and spokesperson Sunny Anderson embarked on a campaign tour hosting events in seven cities across the country.

Joint Decisions: An educational initiative developed by Janssen (client) in partnership with CreakyJoints to support and empower people living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Joint Decisions offers resources for people with RA to learn to take a more active role in the management of their disease, and to seek more open, honest conversations with their healthcare team to improve physical and emotional well-being. In 2015, Joint Decisions teamed up with spokespeople Megan Park and Matt Iseman to raise awareness of RA, connect with patients across the country, and provide them with valuable tools. The team launched a Joint Decisions Facebook page and, with the help of several RA patient advocates participating in Joint Decisions events, got the #JointDecisions hashtag trending on Twitter.

Formed a Community of Online Influencers

IBD Social Circle: IBD Social Circle is a community of advocates – healthcare professionals, patients, and caregivers – who are dedicated to supporting and educating the IBD online community through sharing resources, personal stories, and thoughtful insights through a website and hashtags, #IBDSocialCircle and #IBDSC. In 2015, the IBD Social Circle hosted one web chat and three Twitter chats for the online IBD community, discussing topics such as dating and intimacy, choosing the right healthcare team, and preparing for surgery.

Armed with the capabilities and a can-do attitude, Tonic resolves to make 2016 even better than the last! How will you take on the New Year?

Contact us to kick things off! We’ll create a PR plan customized to fit your objectives @TonicLC Email or Phone: 215-928-2368

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