News & Events
'Rest Assured?' A major new study into carers' experiences of short breaks
- Published on
- July 26, 2012
- 651 times
Without breaks unpaid carers become lost in their world of caring, sacrificing their own mental health, their relationships and becoming defined by their role. This new research, published by IRISS, Shared Care Scotland, COCIS and MECOPP, has shown that over half of the carers surveyed had not had a break from their caring role.
Breaks offer people the chance to recharge, to rest and to have a life outside of caring. “You lose yourself in being a carer – although it is just a label, it actually becomes who you are… and that is what actually defines you”. Key to allowing carers to find a break is supporting them to know what services exist and what they were entitled to. Many people are simply too tired from their caring role to hunt down the services that would help them, and too tired of ‘fighting’ to have their needs acknowledged.
Despite increased funding from the Scottish Government many carers continue to struggle to have the break that allows them to continue to support their loved ones and save the public purse millions in the cost of expensive, and often unnecessary, institutional care.
The research, published jointly by IRISS, Shared Care Scotland, The Coalition of Carers and MECOPP, provides the evidence that central and local government, and Health Boards, must do more to support carers through improved access to suitable short breaks and respite care. With increased numbers of people requiring support to cope with illnesses such as dementia carers will have a much greater role our healthcare system. Without them, the health and social care system would be overrun.
Chief Executive of Shared Care Scotland, Don Williamson said of the research,
“The compelling message from this research, involving over 1,200 unpaid carers from across Scotland, is that regular access to planned, personalised short breaks from caring leads to an improved quality of life for the carer and consequently stronger, more sustainable caring relationships. However, despite national efforts to increase investment in respite provision, far too many carers still don’t receive the breaks they need. Together with our research partners, we believe that by investing in this vital area of support and through better local planning, we will prevent far greater costs down the line as more carers reach breaking point. Carers play a vital role in supporting some of our most vulnerable citizens and carers deserve to rest assured that we are there for them.”
The full research can be seen at http://s.iriss.org.uk/short-breaks