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'Guiding support for family carers'

Activities

POLICY-MAKING CONTRIBUTIONS

We are actively involved in making collaborative and joint submissions to the Government and other national/regulatory bodies on various matters. (for example The Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality, Review of Disability Policy, Census 2021 Consultation and numerous Pre-Budget Submissions).

NATIONAL CARERS WEEK

We have acted as lead organisation in the co-ordination of an annual ‘National Carers Week’ since 2007, with ten other national partner organisations. Despite Covid-19, during Carers Week 2020, over 50 events took place online  National Carers Week 2022 takes place between June 13th-19th. We also manage a large Facebook page National Carers Week, that is active throughput the year.

REPRESENTATION

We currently participate on the HSE National Patient Forum, on the Lenus Open Access Working Group and by invitation, we prepare an annual pre-budget submission directly to the Minister for Social Protection. We also participate in the annual Carers Consultation Forum. In the past we were active on the HSE led committee that devised National Quality Guidelines for Home Care services for Older People and worked with others in creating a Carers needs assessment, currently being rolled out in one HSE region. 

INFORMATION PROVISION

We source and review international research and reports on issues affecting family carers, and share such information electronically on a regular basis with those involved in supporting family carers. This includes our member organisations, volunteers and staff working in the NGO sector, HSE staff, academics, researchers and policy makers.

We also have a Wakelet page that collates research and news on carers issues.

We have created an Infographic that provides some useful figures on family caring in Ireland.

ONLINE FAMILY CARER SUPPORT GROUP

As Covid-19 continues to impact on Irelands 500,000 family carers who care for loved ones at home, they are particularly in need of support. In light of the curtailment of many support services, in March 2020, we set up the Online Family Carer Support Group. The moderated support group, currently supports nearly 3,000 family carers and is delivered through the Facebook platform, in a closed/private group format. Open to all family carers living in the Republic of Ireland, this online private group is being facilitated by a number of professionals with social work and counselling qualifications, moderation experience and is being supported by a number of former and current family carers. See https://www.facebook.com/groups/FamilyCarerOnlineSupportGroupIreland

KALEIDOSCOPE - Guiding Family Carers Back to Paid Employment

Supported by Pobal and the Department of Social Protection, this project is running from early 2021 to June 2022. The project is focussed on delivering three 12-week long courses for family carers. In addition a seminar for employers will be delivered in early 2022.The project is managed remotely by two project co-ordinators.

return ready - ICT skills developmenet for Family carers

Supported by Pobal and the Department of Social Protection, this project is running from late 2021 to Dec 2022. The project is supporting 150 family carer, to upskill/refresh their ICT (Information and communications technology) knowledge. The aim of the project is to enable participants to feel more confident and ready to return to paid employment. 

RESEARCH/PUBLICATIONS

In 2008 we published the first piece of quantitative research in an Irish context looking at the health status of family carers. Building on this piece of research in June 2010 we completed and published a qualitative research study in collaboration with the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland entitled 'The Caring reality of Family Carers: An Exploration of the health status of a specific group of Family Carers’. We have also published an overview report on Caring in Ireland, an updated version having been launched in 2015.

In 2009 we secured funding from the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) to undertake research into the post-caring experience. The research was carried out in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin and the findings are available here.

Since 2009, we have been involved in a number of small EU funded projects that seek to exchange good practice and deliver new resources for the family carers sector. One output from a project is a Guidebook for Former Carers  Details of another project we are currently involved in can be found here

Since October 2015, we have published ten papers in our Discussion Paper series, which focuses on lesser known or discussed topics related to family caring, such as The Challenges and Opportunities facing Rural Carers in Ireland. Alongside this, we also have a Briefing & Position Paper series which aims to stimulate debate and critical thinking within the family carer, disability and wider health and social care sectors. 

From November 2015 to 2018, we were a key partner working alongside UCD on delivering the 'Towards Resilience in Family Caregiving for People with Dementia' project. As part of this project, we delivered several knowledge exchange workshops across Ireland for family carers of people with dementia, in a bid to disseminate the findings of the project and seek feedback on a newly developed resource. 

We continue to strengthen our relationships with several academic institutions through collaborative joint research bids.

We lead and organise an interagency and multi-disciplinary Family Carer Research Group that meets regularly to discuss the relevant research issues in relation to Family Carers.

Our current collaborations include CarerEngage with ISS21/UCC.

NEWSLETTER

We produce a quarterly Newsletter, Care Alliance Exchangewhich we distribute widely by electronic means to over 700 individuals/organisations working directly with family carers. The newsletter includes sections on National News, Practice Resources, Caring in the News, Members News, Policy Developments, International News, Upcoming Sectoral Conferences/Seminars, Governance, Latest Research, Member Profiles and more.

CONFERENCES/SEMINARS

We have organised a range of training and information exchange seminars in recent years. Themes have included:

  • Young Carers
  • Family Carer Training
  • Improving Collaboration between The Carer and Disability Sector
  • The Relationship between Family Carers and Paid Care Workers
  • Home Care Packages
  • Carers' Assessments
  • Carers' Health

Since 2015 we have organised and hosted three bi-annual international conferences.  

MEMBERSHIP OF EXTERNAL ORGANISATIONS

We are active members of The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI), The Wheel, Eurocarers and the International Alliances of Carer Organisations (IACO).