Optimising Support For Informal Carers Of The Long Term Disabled To Enhance Resilience And Sustainability

Executive Summary:

People with severe and chronic disabilities represent a significant proportion of the population who require assistance to live in their own home and be a part of the community. In addition to assistance from the paid carer workforce, this assistance is provided by family, relatives or friends who are not paid or formally trained in the provision of care and support. These informal carers assist with a variety of tasks including activities of daily living, emotional care and support and accessing medical care and ongoing therapy to optimise independence. There are 2.7 million people in Australia who provide informal (unpaid) care to a person with a disability or long-term health condition, of which 770,000 provide the majority of care and support to people with a severe disability. Given their substantial contribution to care provision and the physical, emotional and other impacts of providing care, it is important to understand the experience of informal carers and address their support needs. In recent years, studies have elucidated the substantial effects of providing care on the psychological, physical, social and other impacts of providing care to a person with a long-term disability. There are a range of interventions to mitigate these impacts, which are provided in Australia through a variety of national and local government and non-government entities with varying efficacy. Optimising carer resilience has direct benefits to carers, and additional benefits to the overall care support system by reducing dependence on paid care.

This NTRI Forum aimed to investigate effective strategies for providing support (excluding skills-related education and training, i.e. manual handling and transfers) to informal carers that can help to optimise their resilience, and the sustainability of the long-term disabled.

Date: October 2014


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