Welcome to the second Care Alliance Ireland Research & Policy E-Zine.  You can read the first edition of the e-zine here and the latest edition our general newsletter here. If you have any comments or would like to learn more, do get in touch (


Research Focus

Family Caring in Ireland

First published by Care Alliance Ireland in 2010, the third edition of this report (March 2015) brings together the key research, policy and practice developments on family caring in Ireland and abroad in one succinct publication. This is a great resource for those working with and supporting family carers. It will also support students interested in the topic and will be a reference book for many years to come. Sections contained within the report include:

- Statistics on family carers
- Impacts of caring
- When caring changes or ends
- National and international caring organisations.

You can download a copy of the report here
Family Carer Research Group

Updating the previously announced date for the first Family Carer Research Group meeting, we can confirm that the next meeting of the group will now take place on 3 June, in the Carmichael Centre in Dublin 7. We are particularly pleased to welcome Prof. Sue Yeandle, Director of the Centre for International Research on Care Labour and Equalities (CIRCLE), based in Leeds University in the UK. She will speak on the importance of research in shaping policy and practice debates and in raising awareness of carers’ needs. In addition, Prof. Gillian Robinson (Ulster University) and Dr. Paula Devine (Queen’s University Belfast) will be making a presentation on the work of the ARK Aging Programme in Northern Ireland. This event will be a marvellous opportunity for researchers and policy makers to hear from thought leaders in the field of carer research. Please email Zoe ( if you intend to attend the event and/or would like to join the group. 
Survey of Family Carers

As part of our preparations for Carers Week 2015, we conducted a short survey of family carers in March, with questions including:
  • What are the best things about being a carer?
  • What are the most difficult things about being a carer?
  • What advice would you give others in a similar role to yourself?
We received nearly 800 responses, with family carers sharing some amazing and poignant insights with us. We are planning to undertake a more comprehensive analysis of the data gathered, and will be sharing the results here and elsewhere in the run-up to Carers Week (8-14 June).
Benefit Finding for Caregivers

Care Alliance Ireland is pleased to announce a new research partnership for 2015, with Dr. Stephen Gallagher and the Department of Psychology in the University of Limerick. We are working in collaboration with Dr. Gallagher and his team on a study which 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. For more information, please contact Dr. Gallagher directly (
Transitions into and out of Unpaid Care

This 2014 working paper by Michael Hirst from the Social Policy Research Unit in the University of York uses data from the British Household Panel Survey to gain a view of the transitions into and out of unpaid care in the UK over the period 1999-2008. The study found that approximately the same number of adults take on caring roles each year as transition out of the role of carer. (However it may be the case that some episodes of caring are not recognised as they take place between data collection time points in the study.)
Paper Review:

Lund, D. et al. (2014) Time for Living and Caring: An intervention to make respite more effective for caregivers
Regular respite is one of the main desired and requested forms of assistance for family carers, and yet there is little documented evidence that respite has consistent and positive impacts for those carers. It is proposed that this is due to the way family carers spend their respite time. The authors developed a tailored and supported intervention entitled Time for Living and Caring (TLC) to assist family carers to use the time they have in the most useful way possible for them. This includes a structured programme of assessment, goal setting and goal attainment.
A pilot study with 20 people (14 of whom participated in the intervention and a control group of six) revealed that when assessed prior to and after the intervention, those who did not participate reported no increase in satisfaction with respite time, and their perceived ‘carer burden’ increased. In contrast, those who did take part showed a (slight) improvement in both satisfaction with respite time and perceived carer burden.
Whilst the sample size of the pilot study is too small to be statistically significant, the individual responses of those who took part in the intervention did show marked positive impact of the structured nature of respite time for family carers. They felt their time had been spent well and that they had benefited either physically, mentally or emotionally from their more structured and goal oriented use of respite time.
Care Alliance Comment:

In an Irish context, it is worth noting that this study recommends two days of respite per week for family carers, in blocks of time throughout the week, which for most family carers is far more than what they have available to them. However, the key point to be taken from the study is that if respite time is spent in a productive and personalised manner, the gains can have a higher positive impact than if that same time is spent in an unstructured or non-personalised way. For those working to support family carers it is useful to think about ways in which to support those carers to use their respite time more effectively

Policy Update

8th Annual Carers Representative Forum

On 24 February, the 8th Government Department Consultation Meeting of Carer Representative Groups took place in Dublin. This is an annual event hosted by the Department of Social Protection as part of its commitments under the National Carers Strategy (National Goal 1, Objective 1.1.4.). In addition, Care Alliance Ireland hosted its annual pre-forum breakfast, which gave member organisations and other forum participants an opportunity to meet and discuss critical issues for the family carers they work with. This year’s event included multiple departmental officials, representatives from carer organisations and family carers themselves, who all provided input on topics such as supports for young carers, carer well-being, housing supports for people with disabilities, and transitioning to life after caring. We hope that the various government departments will take on board the excellent feedback provided on the day, particularly as we come to the third anniversary of the publication of the National Carers’ Strategy later this year. 
Health (Professional Home Care) Bill 2014

Care Alliance Ireland recently had the opportunity to make comments on a Private Members Bill sponsored by Senators Colm Burke, Hildegarde Naughton and Imelda Henry. Whilst we welcome the Health (Professional Home Care) Bill 2014, key amongst our comments was the need to include family carers in its wording. Ensuring that family carers have access to needs assessments, for example, will only strengthen and improve the lives of those accessing professional and family care within the home. It is also important to address the employment standards that home care workers are subject to, in order to create working environments that foster positive relationships. For more information on employment standards for home care workers, please contact the Migrant Rights Centre of Ireland, with whom we are currently working on this issue.
Directory of Support Services for Family Carers

As part of our information dissemination role, we launched an updated Directory of Support Services for Family Carers on 8 April. This second edition details the various supports available for family carers living in Dublin and surrounding areas (it does not claim to be an exhaustive list, however). It is targeted primarily at health and social care professionals and others who have contact with family carers. The directory also provides links to training opportunities, financial supports, social media fora, tips for carers, an online carer companion booklet and a summary of state supports for family carers.

International Perspectives

6th International Carers Conference

We are pleased to announce that two of our team members have had papers accepted to the 6th International Carers Conference taking place in Gothenberg, Sweden, in September 2015. Zoe Hughes (Policy & Research Officer) will present her paper entitled “Whose Life is it Anyway? The challenges of advocating for both people with intellectual disability and their family carers” and Liam O’Sullivan (Executive Director) will present his paper entitled “10 years of National Carers Week in Ireland - A reflection”. We look forward to sharing our work with our colleagues from around Europe at the event. 
Eurocarers Update
On 22 April, Care Alliance Ireland will take part in the first Eurocarers Research Working Group meeting, taking place in Dublin. We are looking forward to meeting with colleagues from all over Europe, and finding ways to work together to create useful and robust research in the field of family caring. 
Caring and Isolation in the Workplace

Many family carers juggle their work and caring roles every day, and a recently released study from Carers UK highlights the challenges that working carers face, including isolation, feeling unsupported and increased stress and strain. Key findings from the research reveal that seven in 10 working carers have felt lonely or isolated in the workplace, more than four in 10 felt that managers and colleagues did not understand the impact of caring and nearly one quarter of working carers received no support from their employer.

Member News

Alzheimer Society of Ireland's Short Guide to the National Dementia Strategy
Following the Department of Health’s publication of Ireland’s first National Dementia Strategy in December 2014, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland has issued a short guide to the strategy.

This four page guide outlines the six priority areas and 14 priority actions which the government has committed to implementing over the lifetime of the strategy. The guide also charts the development of the strategy and provides a brief ASI analysis of the strategy’s approach and contents.

This short, accessible, guide to the strategy is available here.
Copyright © 2015 CARE ALLIANCE IRELAND, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp