Carers – people who look after friends and family who need support because they are frail, ill or have a disability – will be key to the success of Transforming Your Care. For that reason, Carers Northern Ireland gave the TYC proposals a cautious welcome, but issued a strong warning about the negative impacts on carers if the right supports and investment are not put in place.
The philosophy of delivering care in communities rather than hospitals and residential settings is a good one. Carers have long understood that the people they look after are better served by being cared for within their own homes. However, for this to work, carers will need regular breaks from caring and reliable services for the people they look after. This will require ring-fenced budgets and new models of carer support.
As TYC rolls out, it is vital that carers are not taken for granted, but are fully respected and supported as equal and active partners in the delivery of health and social care. However, it should not be assumed that families are always willing or able to take on a caring role, nor be seen as a replacement for properly resourced statutory care.
One carer we spoke to during the consultation summed up her fears by saying: “Care in the community will end up as care by the carer.” We believe that carers have the right to a life of their own outside of caring. TYC must not result in a greater burden on people who already suffer poorer health and have lower incomes than non-carers.
Carers Northern Ireland is a charity that supports people who are looking after friends and family members who are frail, ill or have a disability.
Call us on 028 9043 9843, email firstname.lastname@example.org or find us at www.carersni.org, CarersNorthernIreland on facebook or @CarersNI on twitter.