Why supporting carers matters
A carer is someone who provides support to a partner, child, relative, friend or neighbour who could not manage without this help. This could be due to age, physical or mental illness, addiction or disability.
On any practice patient list, one in ten people is a carer, with 22% of those carers performing caring duties for more than 50 hours every week. It is estimated that at least 175,000 carers in the UK are children. Carers underpin our social care system within the UK. With an ageing population, the role of the carer is ever more vital to our society. However, although many carers enjoy their caring role and want to continue caring, there is evidence to suggest that they suffer physical, psychological and social consequences as a result of their caring role.
Carers are more likely to have seen their GP recently than any other support professional. It is vital for GPs within primary care teams to know how to identify and support carers in order to maintain the health of the carer, and to preserve the care giving situation.