View this email in your browser
Welcome to the third Care Alliance Research & Policy E-zine. You can read previous editions of the e-zine here. If you have any comments or would like to learn more, do get in touch (

Research Focus
Family Carer Research Group

Members of the Family Carer Research Group, including right, Daragh Rodger, HSE and Professor Sue Yeandle, University of Leeds.

On Wednesday 3 June, 24 researchers and others with an interest in Family Carer issues gathered in the Carmichael Centre, hosted by Care Alliance Ireland as part of the renewal of the Family Carer Research Group. The group was delighted to have a chance to hear from Professor Sue Yeandle, Director of the Centre for International Research on Care Labour and Equalities (CIRCLE) at the University of Leeds; Dr Paula Devine, Deputy Director of the ARK (Access, Research, Knowledge) Ageing Programme; and Professor Gillian Robinson, Ulster Coordinator of ARK. Professor Yeandle shared her knowledge in relation to using research outputs to change policy in the area of caring, something which the group agreed can be challenging!

In addition, the group received a wonderful outline of the work of the ARK programme, and an overview of some of their research. A spirited discussion followed the presentations, and allowed the attendees to discuss their own experiences in varied fields such as intellectual disability, dementia care, psychology, nursing and general carer support.

We look forward to the next group meeting, which will take place on 14 September, and will include presentations from group members, and updates on their work. If you are interested in joining the group, please contact our Policy & Research Officer, Zoe Hughes (

Benefit Finding for Family Carers

Care Alliance Ireland have been working with Dr Stephen Gallagher and his team in the University of Limerick, who are currently undertaking a study with more than 80 Family Carers. The study aims to understand the possible positive impact of ‘benefit finding’ for Family Carers. The study is funded by the Carolan Research Institute in the United States, and is entering the data collection stage. The study is registered with and full trial details can be found here.
Family Carer Factsheet

As part of National Carers Week 2015, Care Alliance Ireland launched a four-page factsheet on Family Carers in Ireland. The factsheet provides important information pulled from the 2011 Census and other sources. This information is provided in short bullet points for use by researchers and policy makers. The factsheet includes the following information:
  1. The Census figures report that 4.1% of the total population over 15 was providing unpaid assistance to others in April 2011. (Census 2002 – 148,754, Census 2006 – 160,917, Census 2011 – 182,884 (excludes 4,228 carers aged under 15)).
  2. Children aged nine and under provided a total of 13,738 hours of care, whilst the 10–14 age group provided 24,758 hours.
  3. The number of male carers aged 15 years and older increased by 16.8% between Census 2006 and Census 2011.
  4. Carers aged 65 years and over represent 22% of those providing at least 43 hours of care per week.
You can download a copy of the factsheet here.

Policy Update
Care Alliance Pre-budget Submission

Each year, Care Alliance Ireland takes part in pre-budget submissions and events, in order to ensure that the issues and needs of Family Carers are addressed in government fiscal policy. We recently submitted our Pre-Budget Statement to the Department of Social Protection, a copy of which can be read on our website (click here).

This year, our key requests of government are that it:

•    protect, and, where possible, increase levels of income support to Family           Carers,
•    increase the Respite Care Grant to previous levels, and
•    lengthen the period of eligibility for receipt of Carers Allowance after the cessation of caring responsibilities.

We will be attending the Department’s Pre-Budget forum in July, and look forward to working with the Department on these issues.
Care Alliance Ireland submission to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality.

This year sees the ten-year anniversary of the Disability Act 2005, and in May, submissions were requested by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality on the working of the Act and on the National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan (2013–2015).

As caring and disability are ‘two sides of the same coin’, Care Alliance Ireland made a submission to the Joint Committee, focussing on the impact the Act and Implementation Plan have had on the lives of Family Carers. A key concern of Care Alliance Ireland is the relative lack of cohesion between the National Carers Strategy and the National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan. Many of the key actions in the plans directly contradict each other, and therefore undermine each other.

The lack of full implementation of the Assessment of Need of a person with a disability has had a huge impact on Family Carers, in particular parents of children with a disability born before June 2002. We urge the government to ensure that the Assessment of Need service is rolled out to all those eligible as per the Disability Act 2005 as soon as possible.

You can read our submission here.
Carers Association of Ireland and the National Carers Strategy Monitoring Group publish the "Family Carers Scorecard."


On 19 May the Carers Association published the ‘Family Carers' Scorecard’. The report looks at each action contained in the 2012 National Carers Strategy and tracks its progress to date. Care Alliance Ireland Executive Director, Liam O'Sullivan, was a member of the Monitoring Group for this project.

Each action within the Strategy was graded according to a five-point scale of action as follows:

1) Objective Achieved: making a real difference
2) Good Progress: positive results for Family Carers
3) Initial Progress: but slow pace/delayed start
4) No progress
5) Regressive.

Out of 42 actions in the Strategy:

1 action received an ‘Objective Achieved’ score
4 actions received a ‘Good Progress’ score
19 actions received an ‘Initial Progress’ score
10 actions received a ‘No Progress’ score
8 actions received a ‘Regressive’ score.

It is clear that, while progress on the Strategy is gathering pace (the monitoring group expressed its recognition of the strides made by many Departments regarding certain of the actions), progress in many areas is far behind what it should be for this stage of the Strategy, which is now over halfway through its term. Of particular concern are those actions which have received a ‘regressive’ score, indicating that things have become demonstrably worse for Family Carers. These areas are:

     1.2.2) Identify carers and their involvement in discharge planning,                  including their details are provided in discharge letters to GPs.

     1.3.5) Review existing transition arrangements for carers at the end of their      caring role.

     2.1.6) Review the Fair Deal system of financing nursing home care with a          view to developing a secure and equitable system of financing for                    community and long- term care which supports older people to stay in their      own homes.

     3.3.1) Prioritise funding for the operation of the suite of housing grants for        older people and people with a disability and ensure that they can be                accessed by families in a timely way.

     4.1.2) Promote a range of person-centred and flexible respite options.

     4.1.3) Identify gaps in existing services and establish performance                  indicators for the provision of respite services.

     4.2.3) Encourage work–life balance provisions that are needed to ensure          that working arrangements are carer friendly.
     4.2.5) Review access by Family Carers to labour market activation                    measures.

Care Alliance Ireland remains committed to working alongside our colleagues in the Carers Association to influence the full implementation of the National Carers Strategy.

If you have any questions regarding the Scorecard (available to read here), please contact the Carers Association directly.
Oireachtas Reports

On a weekly basis, the Carers Association collates a report on the discussion of topics related to Family Carers in the Oireachtas. These reports are illuminating and useful to researchers and policy makers alike, as they highlight the most recent discussions in the Dáil and Seanad regarding Family Carers. They can be found on the Carers Association website

International Perspectives
Eurocarers Research Group

CAI Poicy & research officer Zoe Hughes with Dr. Elizabeth Hanson, Vice-President (Research) and Francesca Centola, (Adminstrator) of Eurocarers at a recent meeting in DublinCare Alliance Ireland are very pleased to be members of the recently formed Eurocarers Research Group. The group has now met twice, and is preparing a ‘Research Priorities’ document. This document outlines the priorities which the group sees as key to progressing the Family Carer research agenda across all members of the EU. The document will be finalised and presented at the AGM of Eurocarers in Gothenberg, Sweden, in September. More information can be obtained from the EuroCarers website.

(CAI Policy & research officer Zoe Hughes with Dr. Elizabeth Hanson, Vice-President (Research) and Francesca Centola, Adminstrator of Eurocarers at a recent meeting in Dublin)
The 6th International Carers Conference, Sweden. 

The 6th International Carers Conference takes place in Gothenberg, Sweden from 4–6 September. Care Alliance, along with colleagues from the Carers Association, University of Limerick, and the Institute of Technology, Sligo will present papers at the event. The event will also be streamed live. For more information, see the event website here.
The State of Caring in the UK

Carers UK recently released the results of their 2015 survey on the opinions of UK Carers. Over 4,500 carers took part in the survey, and the results, while not directly translatable to the Irish context, are illuminating.

-    The number of carers is growing year on year.

-    42% of respondents said the amount of care and support provided by social services has been reduced, and 13% said that their care or support service had closed and that no replacement was offered. Over half (55%) of carers say that they are worried about the impact of cuts to care and support services over the next year.

-    Over three quarters (76%) of respondents report being concerned about the impact of caring on their health over the next year.

-    Over half (53%) of respondents say that they are concerned about the impact of caring on their relationship with the person they care for over the next year, and three in five (61%) are worried about the impact their caring role will have on relationships with their friends and family over the next year.

The full report can be read on the Carers UK website.
Call for contributions

If you would like to share your work in the field of research and/or policy, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We are always interested in highlighting current and recent research projects of interest to those working in the sector. You can email Zoe for more details (

Copyright © 2015 CARE ALLIANCE IRELAND, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp