The impact on Unpaid Carers living with COVID-19

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Stockton-on-Tees engaged with local unpaid carers to find out their views and experiences of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, and how this impacted on their lives and their health and wellbeing. They spoke to 31 carers in total.

The Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the mental health and wellbeing of unpaid carers due to changes to the support and contact from health and social care services and the demands of the caring role. Attempts to navigate the social care system and concerns about the welfare of the person that they are caring for has also had a negative impact on the mental health of carers.

Carers have had positive experiences of health and social care services and have valued the communication, regular contact and the quality of care that those services have provided.

Visiting restrictions at some of the care homes in the Stockton-on-Tees area have been confusing and conflicting. Facilitation of contact and communication at some care homes has been lacking, leaving carers feeling worried and helpless, and not knowing if their loved one is well.

 It is important that carers have regular contact with health and social care services to help support those that they are caring for. Carers need to feel valued, and it is important that they have someone to talk to.

Receiving support and information from local services has helped carers cope day-to-day. Carers need support and guidance, with information that is easy and clear to understand, and to know that there are a range of support services (especially mental health services) available to them and the person that they are caring for.

The report contains 6 recommendations to tackle the concerns identified.  

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General details

Report title 
The impact on Unpaid Carers living with COVID-19
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Stockton-on-tees
Date of publication 
Monday, 5 July, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Tuesday, 1 December, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Wednesday, 31 March, 2021
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Health inequalities
Holistic support
Information providing
Service closure
Service delivery organisation and staffing

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Engagement event
Structured interview
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
Mental health services 
Community mental health team (CMHT)
Social care services 
Adult social care
Nursing care home
Residential care home
Community 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? 
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.