Carer Project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the Carer Project website!

This will tell you more about the project, why we are doing it, who we are working with and how people may get involved.

 

 

What is the Carer Project?

 

The Carer Project seeks to improve the mental health of family and friends who support someone who is terminally ill, and is led by a team at the University of Manchester.  

 

You can find out more about who is in the research team via the Our Team page! 

The aims of the project are:

 

  • To collect together the existing knowledge about what might lead to, or prevent, poor mental health (e.g., anxiety, depression, stress) in family and/or friends (‘carers’) who provide care for someone who is at end of life.
  • To create tailored summaries of this information to be used by people who can help carers (for example: carers, GPs, nurses, health and social care staff, politicians, service commissioners – ‘stakeholders’)
At certain points of the project we will ask for new members of the public, or professional people who might work with family carers, to help with our project.

 

Keep an eye on our Twitter feed, @CarerProject or the  Helping Us page on our site.

 

Why are we doing this work?

 

Carers give invaluable care and support to people who are nearing end of life. Carers may spend an average of 70 hours a week on caregiving in the final months. This can take its toll on carers' mental health: many can suffer anxiety, depression and stress at levels that can be concerning.

 

However, there are a number of things, or ‘factors’, that protect carers from suffering worse mental health during end of life caregiving. There are also factors that can make them more vulnerable to poorer mental health. These factors may relate to their background situation (say, work commitments) or individual ability to cope (say, how prepared they are for caregiving). Pulling together and sharing a better understanding of these factors can help us reduce poor mental health among carers.

 

Helping carers probably does not need new, costly interventions. A lot of improvement is likely to be possible by earlier and better targeted use of existing resources if we have better guidance on who is more likely to suffer worse mental health, when and how. There is a lot of information available about this but it’s not always easy to find or get at. This is why our project aims to find and bring together all of the information about what factors are related to mental health for carers during end of life care. We will be able to see which factors are most important and summarise the information so it is easy to understand.

 

 

How will the project findings be used?

 

The findings summaries we create will help each stakeholder group in different ways. For example, they may help: politicians to write legislation or allocate funding that can help carers; commissioners to identify what services may be most useful to different carers; or practitioners to identify warning signs to look out for and what may help; and help carers to look after their own health. Researchers would also be able to use the findings to fill gaps in our understanding and develop better interventions for carers.

 

We will share the findings of the project through publications, presentations, webinars, and a collection of project outputs and blogs posted on this website. We will also work with stakeholders to decide how best to share summaries with the different groups who can use them.

 

You can find more detailed information about how we are doing all this work in the Project Summaries section of this website.

 

OUR WORK