Journal scan

Carers are not always seeking support

A study found barriers preventing people from identifying as carers
carers

Hidden carers refers to informal carers who may not recognise themselves as carers and so do not, or struggle to, access support. This may apply to carers of people with long-term conditions, such as heart disease, whose role involves more emotional work than practical tasks.

Photo: Science Photo Library

This qualitative study of 19 informal carers of people with long-term conditions in north west England identified several barriers preventing them from identifying as carers.

They reported fears about adopting the label of carer because they were concerned that this would threaten the identity of the cared-for person and their focus on self-management.

Accessing support

Such barriers prevented carers from feeling qualified to access support, despite the responsibilities undertaken. These might include subtle changes in relationships such as taking on household management tasks previously done by the other person.

Benefits of space

Those carers who

...

‘Hidden carers’ refers to informal carers who may not recognise themselves as carers and so do not, or struggle to, access support. This may apply to carers of people with long-term conditions, such as heart disease, whose role involves more emotional work than practical tasks. 


Photo: Science Photo Library

This qualitative study of 19 informal carers of people with long-term conditions in north west England identified several barriers preventing them from identifying as carers. 

They reported fears about adopting the label of carer because they were concerned that this would threaten the identity of the cared-for person and their focus on ‘self-management’. 

Accessing support

Such barriers prevented carers from feeling ‘qualified’ to access support, despite the responsibilities undertaken. These might include subtle changes in relationships such as taking on household management tasks previously done by the other person.

Benefits of space

Those carers who accessed support emphasised the benefits of space to think about their own needs and feeling connected with other carers. 

Participants felt that health professionals were in a position to validate the role of carer and encourage support seeking. 

  • Knowles S, Combs R, Kirk S et al (2015) Hidden caring, hidden carers? Exploring the experience of carers for people with long-term conditions. Health and Social Care in the Community. 24, 2, 203-213. doi:10.1111/hsc.12207.

 

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursingolderpeople.com
  • Bi-monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs