Definitions and Scope
A carer is a person of any age - adult or child - who provides unpaid support to a partner, child, relative or friend who could not manage to live independently or whose health or wellbeing would deteriorate without this help. Those receiving this care may need help due to frailty, disability or a serious health condition, mental ill-health or substance misuse.
Carers are a valuable asset within our communities, providing not just voluntary, unpaid care to assist the person they care for to remain independent, but also love, friendship, reassurance and connection. Carers have good knowledge of the person they care for and their health issues, often co-ordinating and managing their care. Nationally the 1.25 million carers who provide care for more than 50 hours per week are a full-time workforce greater than the entire NHS!
Young carers are children and young people who assume inappropriate responsibilities to look after someone who has an illness, a disability, or is affected by mental ill-health or substance misuse. Young carers often take on practical and/or emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult.
The main question for the JSNA was ‘What can we do to support carers to stay healthy and well?’ In addition, to support the work around the Better Care Fund, the JSNA has also looked at the evidence for whether supporting carers reduces health and social care service use. The scope of the JSNA is carers across the whole lifecourse.