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Fact sheet

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Most of the care provided in the UK is not delivered by the NHS or social services; it is delivered by friends and family - carers. However, an overreliance on this care comes at considerable costs to the carer and also society as a whole.

Approximately 70% of carers reported that feeling physically or mentally drained is common and advised that the following conditions were specifically caused by caring:

  • Stress/nervous tension: 38%
  • Back injury: 20%
  • High blood pressure: 10%

Carers are also twice as likely to suffer mental health problems if they do not get a break . One in five carers have to give up work to care .

The benefits of supporting carers
There are obvious moral arguments to supporting those who give up so much to care for others. But supporting carers can also help improve the efficiency and delivery of public services.

  • Reducing residential care admissions
    A ten year randomised controlled trial of 400 spouse carers for people with Alzheimer’s disease found that counselling and low level support for the carers, delayed entry of people receiving care into residential care by more than 500 days, compared to situations where no support was given to carers .
  • Improving discharge in hospitals
    In Scotland, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers is working with 9 Carers’ Centres, 4 NHS health boards and 10 local authorities to improve discharges by identifying carers and ensuring they have the information and support to help them provide care at home.
  • Carers combining work and care
    Sunderland Carers’ Centre created People in Employment (PIE) to help disabled people and their carers into employment. PIE offers basic training, advice and support whilst also directing carers to appropriate agencies for specific skills training, funding advice etc. 49 of 198 carers supported in the programme are now in sustainable employment, with a further 34 doing voluntary work as a step towards employment.