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'Guiding support for family carers'

Discussion Paper Series

Established in 2015, the Care Alliance Discussion Paper Series aims to bring lesser-discussed, or difficult topics forward for consideration by health & social care professionals who support family carers. Whilst there are many very important topics often discussed and researched across the sector, there are those issues whose impact may be smaller in volume, but no less in importance for those family carers effected. 

Examples covered in Volume 1 of the Series (2015-2018) included how being a family carer impacts the intimate, romantic and sexual lives of family carers; what happens when the aging parents of intelectually disabled people are in need of care themselves and the caring role is essentially 'reversed'; and how the relationships between the family carer and cared-for person are not always positive or loving. 

Our Senior Policy & Research Officer Zoe was the recipient of the first "Research Contribution to Practice" Award at the All Ireland Research in Social Work Conference 2019 for her work on the series and her presentation on the series as a whole. You can see the slides from this presentation here

Beginning in 2022, Volume 2 of the series will revisit some of these topics to update them and see what, if any, changes have occured inthe time since publication. New topics will also be introduced, bringing up-to-date information on new topics, policy and research issues to the series. 

You can read all previous Papers in the series below. 

If you have a suggestion for a paper topic, or are interested in collaborative work, please get in touch with Zoe by email ( 

Volume 1

Discussion Paper 1: Defining Carers (October 2015)

Discussion Paper 2: Intellectual Disability, Caring and Role Reversal (December 2015)

Discussion Paper 3: Online Supports for Family Carers- Options & Experiences (June 2016)

Discussion Paper 4: The Wisdom of Family Carers (October 2016)

Discussion Paper 5: "We Need to Talk About It"- Stigma & Family Care (December 2016) 

Discussion Paper 6: Disability and Family Carer Policy - Challenges and Responses (April 2017)

Discussion Paper 7: Romancing the Carer - Intimate Relationships and Family Caring (November 2017)

Discussion Paper 8: Difficult Relationships and Family Caring (March 2018)

Discussion Paper 9: Family Caring and Minority Populations (September 2018)

Discussion Paper 10: Rural Carers in Ireland - Challenges & Opportunities (November 2018)


Volume 2

Discussion Paper 11: Defining Carers - Update June 2022 (June 2022)

Discussion Paper 12: Family carers and being a 'hero' (December 2022)