What matters most to unpaid carers

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Portsmouth undertook further research into the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic posed to unpaid carers after finding this group had been particularly adversely affected by the pandemic.  They undertook a survey to which 108 people responded.

Nine in ten respondents said that they were not able to access Adult Day/Respite Services and seven in ten stated that their caring duties have increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly three in five unpaid Carers identified that they were not able to have a break from their caring responsibilities during the pandemic.

Carers’ mental health has deteriorated during the pandemic. Survey responses state people feeling isolated, frustrated, sad, alone, worried, bored, trapped, and afraid for the future. They spoke about struggling to fit work around the demands of caring and their family life.  Carers found it harder to get out of the house to exercise due to the risk of leaving the person they are caring for alone.

Over half said that their GPs were helpful, and they were able to get some mental health support via primary care. They appreciated online services, food boxes, church, library services, local groups, school. Being able to access medical appointments by video link or phone has been helpful.

Carers overall wanted better recognition and support during the pandemic. Getting a chance to speak to a doctor. Financial and emotional support to help us recover from this pandemic. I would like the Government to see respite as an essential service whether provided by family/friends or the local authority. More help for unpaid Carers, more understanding that it is not humanly possible for the carer to be a superhero all the time and they need a break too. Easier access to social services and a more joined up approach.

The report contains 10 recommendations to address the issues raised in the research.

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General details

Report title 
What matters most to unpaid carers
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Portsmouth
Date of publication 
Friday, 30 April, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 16 November, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Sunday, 31 January, 2021
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Health inequalities
Holistic support
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
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 
Respite care

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
All people 18 and over
Other ethnic group
Sexual orientation 
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.