Carers' Resource has published a research study which shows how unpaid carers were severely affected during the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the pandemic and its continuing effects, Carers’ Resource staff witnessed powerful evidence of the struggle and suffering of carers across Bradford, Harrogate and Craven.
This new study draws together the experiences of hundreds of unpaid carers from these areas, and dozens of staff and volunteers who support carers, to reveal how the closing of services, limiting of primary and secondary care, and restrictions on everyday routines, really affected carers during these unprecedented times.
The research was commissioned by NHS England & NHS Improvement’s Commitment to Carers Programme as one of 30 rapid-learning projects across the country.
Key findings include:
- The pandemic intensified and compounded many of the issues already faced by carers.
- Those who were new to caring during the pandemic found it even more difficult to access services than those who were already on a care pathway.
- The pandemic had an effect on the physical and mental health of many carers.
- The specific needs of unpaid carers were not considered in the development of lockdown restrictions.
- The effects of the pandemic are still being felt by carers.
The study makes a number of recommendations, which can be summarised as follows:
- Recognition that there needs to be a sustained campaign to encourage unpaid carers to recognise their role, and that asking for support as a carer is an acceptable thing to do.
- An increased focus on the need for a break from caring, and funding to support it.
- Greater recognition of the role and needs of, unpaid carers in any future public health campaigns.
- At a local level there needs to be a greater recognition of the carer’s role in health and care settings.
- Work needs to be undertaken in primary care settings to embed the Quality Markers for carers to ensure that all carers are registered as such with their GP.
- Agencies and organisations need to be creative in enabling carers to be consulted, and to engage in the co-design of services.
To read the full study, please download the documents below.