Caring during Covid -19: the experiences of unpaid carers in Hampshire

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Summary of report content

In May 2020, Healthwatch Hampshire worked in partnership with three local Healthwatch organisations (Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight) to find out if people had been able to access the information, services and support they needed during the Covid-19 pandemic. The survey ran until July 2020 and collected people’s experiences of using health and social care services. They spoke to 179 adult carers and 10 young carers’ groups

The main challenges facing carers included:

  • Not being able to have a break
  • Problems getting essential supplies
  • The closure of day services and schools
  • An increase in the time spent caring
  • Difficulty in explaining the pandemic to vulnerable people
  • A lack of recognition and respect
  • Problems accessing health and social care services
  • Not aware of help and support for carers

The pandemic had an impact on carers in the following ways:

  • On their family life and relationships
  • On their mental health
  • On their ability to work
  • On their finances

Young carers had the following problems:

  • Problems engaging with schoolwork
  • Digital exclusion
  • An increase in their caring responsibilities
  • Financial pressures on their family
  • Breakdown in support networks
  • Changes in family relationships and home live
  • Negative impact on their mental health

They found the following helpful:

  • Getting a break
  • Keeping connected with friends, family and peers
  • Support and advice readily available when needed
  • Regular “check in” calls
  • Help getting essentials like food and medication
  • Local community schemes
  • Being able to use technology

What they needed for the future

  • Access to respite and day services
  • Being recognised as a carer by GP surgeries
  • More mental health support
  • Financial recognition for caring roles
  • Joined up services
  • Easy, quick ways to get advice
  • Being aware of what services there are for carers
  • More support before a crisis

The report contains 5 recommendations about access to information, carers assessments, access to community schemes, raising awareness of carers and financial recognition of carers.

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General details

Report title 
Caring during Covid -19: the experiences of unpaid carers in Hampshire
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Hampshire
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 28 April, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Friday, 1 May, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Saturday, 31 July, 2021
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Holistic support
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff attitudes

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Focus group
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice
Social care services 
Day care (social care services)
Respite care

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.