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.