Summary of report content
Healthwatch Sandwell undertook research into support available for adult carers in Sandwell to inform the local joint Carers Strategy 2020-2024. They engaged with 227 carers via a survey, focus groups and interviews.
Because many people didn’t see themselves as a carer, or had only realised that they were one when they were defined as such by an external agency, there could be many people who do not ask for support, seek support or are not identified as needing support by professionals in health and social care because they do not define themselves as a Carer.
A loss of employment and its impact on their finances was a theme throughout both the focus groups and interviews. Those that were employed also felt that there was a lack of flexibility on the part of employers where their caring duties were concerned. A lack of employment and income was seen by some as a factor in how they had become socially isolated since becoming carers. Being lonely and unable to access social activities was a theme for some participants and having support to be able to access peer support groups would be welcomed.
Very few people had accessed sitting services or respite care that might have enabled them to have a break from caring and access social activities. A number of participants found their role stressful and that in that context they would welcome some emotional support to assist them in their role. Only a few had had a Carer’s Assessment, and those that had felt that it had not led to them getting any more support.
Some participants had accessed services related to the conditions of the people that they cared for. Being able to access information on services that they can make use of was important to participants. For some participants being able to access appropriate care and support for the person that they cared such as respite services or day centres would help to alleviate the stress of their caring roles and allow them opportunities to have a break from caring.
There were four recommendations about awareness raising of carers support services, improving access to information and providing emotional support.