Findings from a focus group of young carers into the health and social care services they use

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Summary of report content

Heathwatch Reading aimed to find out which local health and social care services, young carers use, and their experience of these, in order to indicate to health and social commissioners what may or may not be working for young carers and to identify issues that might need exploring in larger studies in the future. The main findings in the report inform young carers’ main responsibilities were helping with food shopping, and providing emotional support to parents or siblings. The services/support used by young carers (ranked from most to least) were: young carers’ after-school groups, social workers, teachers, friends, the Internet, school nurse, neighbour, playworker, and a youth club. None of the young carers said they had used or had contact with a GP in relation to their young carer’s role. The most popular support was young carers’ groups; young carers gave mixed reviews of the support from social workers and teachers. Top of the young carers’ ‘wish-list’ for improvements, is a desire for their relatives to be better, for home improvements to aid mobility of relatives, care worker assistance to go on family trips away, and more school-based support, especially to help tackle bullying from peers. The recommendations informed Reading Borough Council (RBC) should continue to fund young carer’s groups, and if possible, expand capacity, to cut waiting lists and reach more children. Education, health and social care leaders should hold talks about the possibility of increasing school-based support to young carers, such as increased school nurse availability, support workers and/or young carers’ clubs based at school, information talks at assemblies and/or in PHSE lessons, and policies on teacher identification/referral/management of young carers among their pupils. Berkshire West Clinicial Commissioning Groups (CCGs), which oversees carers’ health issues on behalf of Reading’s two CCGs, should commission a study into the health needs of young carers, to identify any unmet needs and service gaps. Older young carers should be given support as they transition into becoming adult carers.

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General details

Report title 
Findings from a focus group of young carers into the health and social care services they use
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Reading
Date of publication 
Sunday, 1 December, 2013
Date evidence capture began 
Sunday, 1 December, 2013
Date evidence capture finished 
Sunday, 1 December, 2013
Type of report 
Key themes 
Health inequalities
Health promotion
Health protection
Information providing
Other information of note about this report 
Young Carers
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
Focus group
User stories
How was the information collected? 
Engagement Event
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Social care services 
Children services

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? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
Does the information include other people'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? 
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

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.