We are actively involved in making collaborative and joint submissions to the Government and other national/regulatory bodies on various matters. (for example National Carers Strategy, 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 eleven other national partner organisations. During Carers Week 2019 over 130 events took place throughout an estimated 25 counties throughout the country. National Carers Week 2020 takes place between June 8th-12th.
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 Employment Affairs and 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.
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 and policy makers.
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.
In 2009-2011 we engaged in an EU-wide (Grundtvig) project, with four other EU Carer organisations, which documented the un-certified skills acquired by former Family Carers. One output from the project is a Guidebook for Former Carers. For more details about the entire project see www.lifeaftercare.eu.
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.
We produce a quarterly Newsletter, Care Alliance Exchange, which we distribute widely by electronic means to over 650 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, Latest Research, Member Profiles, Opinion Pieces and more.
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 two conferences in 2015 and 2017. We will be hosting our next conference in November 2019.
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). We also work with Boardmatch Ireland.