Principle 1 – Think carer, think family; make every contact count

Evidence shows that carers have poorer health outcomes than the non-carer population but that early identification of carers can improve their health and wellbeing. However, carers are not easy to identify and may not consider themselves to be carers. 70 percent of carers come into contact with health professionals and yet, of those, only 10 percent are identified, with GPs more specifically only identifying 7 percent (Macmillan Briefing on Carers Issues).  Encouraging services to think carer, think family, can help to improve the identification of carers and support better health and wellbeing outcomes. Over 80 percent of carers surveyed for the 2014 State of Caring Survey said that caring has had a negative impact on their health (State of Caring, 2014).

Image of a scale bar with red, amber and green

Using the above image as a scale where red is lowest and green is highest.  How would you rate the below questions.

  • How assured are you that that carer views have helped to shape the development of service specifications?
  • How assured are you that your providers have appropriate mechanisms for identifying carers in primary and secondary care?
  • How assured are that carers are identified by primary and secondary care services you commission?

Ask yourself

  • Is identification of carers part of the assurance process in your contracts with all the services you commission?
  • Ask or use illustrative questions to identify carers for example, ‘Do you look after or give support to someone?’ or ‘when your mum is getting ready in the morning, do you help her with getting washed and dressed?’ (as the response to ‘are you a carer’ can often elicit a negative response)
  • Do services you commission have set procedures for identifying carers?

Download this principle to track and measure your progressAlso available to download as a MS Word document.