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Fact sheet

How should carers be involved?

Involving carers is not just about consultation, nor is it about one way of doing things. Use a menu approach so that carers can pick which they engage with to maximise the participation of a wide range of individuals.

With commitment at a senior level it should be possible to:

  1. Recognise carer participation as ‘core business’ and allocate a budget and other sufficient resources, like staff time to do it effectively.
  2. Use local carers’ organisations, like Carers Trust network of centres, to help you.
  3. Include carers who may face multiple types of oppression in their wider lives, such as BME, gay and lesbian carers and carers of those who misuse alcohol and substances. Identify hidden carers to counteract this.
  4. Inform and educate people about why they should get involved.
  5. Provide all the information that lay people need to participate on an equal footing with others.
  6. Try to make all information clear and jargon-free.
  7. Develop feedback mechanisms to ensure carer input makes a difference to service delivery.
  8. Develop tools to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of carer participation; what works and what does not, what barriers are there.
  9. Use the internet and email to involve carers who may not be able to get out to events and meetings.

Finally, do not underestimate the time needed to fully engage and support carers and be prepared to repeat events to ensure as many carers as possible can participate. Many carers will sometimes have difficulties in keeping appointments.

Useful links:

Carers UK has a useful guide to involving and consulting carers produced by Carers Northern Ireland1:

Carers UK guide to involving and consulting carers

1. Note: Although this document was created in Northern Ireland, it is generic in content with only the additional links being more context specific