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COVID-19

Quality of Life of Informal Caregivers behind the Scene of the COVID-19 Epidemic in Serbia

Background and objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented reliance on informal caregivers as one of the pillars of healthcare systems. The aim of this study was to assess the quality of life of informal caregivers during the COVID-19 epidemic in Serbia. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among informal caregivers during the COVID-19 epidemic in Serbia. Physical and mental quality of life was measured by the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey. Additional data included sociodemographic characteristics, caregiver and care recipient characteristics, and COVID-19 related concerns. The qualitative component was performed using focus groups and individual in-depth interviews. Results: Out of 112 informal caregivers enrolled, most were female (80%), and the average age was 51.1 +/- 12.3 years. The majority was delivering care to one person, who was a family member, on a daily basis (86.4%, 92%, and 91.1%, respectively). In multiple regression models, significant predictors of caregivers' physical health were delivering care to a family member and a higher level of care complexity, while significant predictors of caregivers' mental health were a higher level of care complexity and increased concerns about self-health and the health of the person being cared for due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Conclusions: Informal caregivers are experiencing negative physical and mental health outcomes during the COVID-19 epidemic in Serbia.

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Care, Dignity and Respect - The Aged Care Royal Commission Final Report

The Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was tabled in Parliament on 1 March 2021. In their Report, titled Care, Dignity and Respect, Royal Commissioners Tony Pagone QC and Lynelle Briggs AO call for fundamental reform of the aged care system.  The report is issued in 5 volumes.

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Carer well-being index

Embracing CarersTM created the Carer Well-Being Index to determine the current and residual impacts of COVID-19 on unpaid carers, including its impact on their economic, physical and psychological well-being. While carers weren’t alone in experiencing 2020 as a highly emotional and unstable period, they faced unique pressures, demands and time commitments often overlooked by society. They must now navigate fast-changing care delivery models, learn new telehealth and technology, provide emotional support despite their own emotional needs, and handle increased responsibilities at home—all at once. Amid these rising responsibilities, many carers sacrifice their own health and well-being for the sake of people they love. They deal with emotional isolation. Financial strife hits hard as unemployment spikes and salaries are imperiled. Many lack the time to care for their own physical and emotional health. There are even more nuanced challenges when looking at women carers, younger, middle-aged and older carers, who encounter inequities. In taking a hard look at how the pandemic has affected the globe, carers have faced unprecedented challenges – they are undercounted, unheard and struggling. Now more than ever, governments, public entities, the private sector and all citizens have roles to play in addressing that problem. Carers should not have to face these hardships and inequities alone. They’re sacrificing for us, one by one. As a society, we can help them, together.

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Living with dementia: increased level of caregiver stress in times of COVID-19

COVID-19 pandemic in Argentina has affected the care of older adults with dementia deeply. Our objective was to study how the obligatory social isolation affected stress caregiver and burden of care of family members of subjects living with dementia in the community after the initial 4 weeks of quarantine in our setting. We did a questionnaire survey among 80 family caregivers of persons with Alzheimer's disease (AD) or related dementia collected on April 2020. We designed a visual analog scale to test the level of the burden of care. Characteristics of people with dementia and their caregivers were analyzed with descriptive (mean, standard deviation, frequency and percent) and inferential statistics (chi-square test). The sample included older adults (mean age: 80.51 +/- 7.65) with different stages of dementia. Family was the primary provider of care in 65%. Overall, COVID-19 confinement increased stress caregiver independently of the dementia stage, but those caring for severe cases had more stress compared to milder forms of the disease. Other findings were that half of the subjects with dementia experienced increased anxiety and that most family members discontinued all sort of cognitive and physical therapies. Family members' main concerns were for severe dementia cases, fear of absence of the paid caregiver during the epidemic, and for mild cases fear of spreading the disease while assisting patients with instrumental activities. A partnership between departments of public health, care workers and families must be planned to guarantee continuity of care during these unique COVID-19 times.

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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on help-seeking behaviors in individuals suffering from eating disorders and their caregivers

To describe the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on help-seeking behaviors among individuals with eating disorders and caregivers. We analyzed service utilization data from the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC). We compared the number of contacts and symptom frequency between the pandemic period and previous years. NEDIC was contacted 609 times during March 1–April 30, 2020 (72.1% individuals affected by disordered eating, 20.4% caregivers). The number of total contacts significantly increased from 2018 to 2019 and 2018 to 2020 (X2(3) = 50.34, p <.001). Among affected individuals (80.4% women), the number of contacts during the pandemic period was significantly higher (n = 439; X2(2) = 92.74, p <.001) compared to 2018 (n = 197) and 2019 (n = 312). There were higher rates of eating disorder symptoms, anxiety, and depression in 2020 compared to previous years. Thematic analysis of instant chats from the pandemic year revealed four emerging themes: 1) lack of access to treatment, 2) worsening of symptoms, 3) feeling out of control, and 4) need for support. These findings point toward the impact of COVID-19 in individuals affected by disordered eating and hold implications for service delivery during times of crises.

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Caregivers’ Mental Health and Somatic Symptoms During COVID-19

This study examines differences in the mental and physical health of the U.S. population during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic among 3 groups: noncaregivers, short-term caregivers (1 year or less), and long-term caregivers (greater than 1 year). Data from the Understanding America Study are used to describe group differences in reports of psychological distress and somatic symptoms. Logistic and negative binomial regression models are used to examine whether these differences persist after adjusting for demographic, socioeconomic, and prepandemic health conditions. To understand within-group differences in caregiving demands, the intensity of care provided by short-term and long-term caregivers, as well as selected patients’ health conditions are summarized. Adults’ mental and physical health varied substantially by caregiver status. Caregivers continued to fare worse than noncaregivers in terms of mental health and fatigue, and long-term caregivers were more likely to report headache, body aches, and abdominal discomfort than both short-term caregivers and noncaregivers, net of controls. The nature of caregiving differed between short-term and long-term caregivers, with the latter more likely to provide greater hours of care, and to be looking after patients with permanent medical conditions.Efforts to understand and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on population health should include caregivers, whose mental and physical health were already vulnerable before COVID-19.

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The Effects of COVID-19 Home Confinement in Dementia Care: Physical and Cognitive Decline, Severe Neuropsychiatric Symptoms and Increased Caregiving Burden

Purpose: This study aims to analyze home confinement impact on individuals with neurocognitive disorders (NCD) through informal caregiver's perspective and examine how it has affected caregiving burden. Methods: Thirty-six caregivers (64.94 +/- 13.54 years, 41.7% female) of individuals with NCD (74.28 +/- 6.76 years, 66.7% female) selected from the Body & Brain exercise program were interviewed over the phone. The following instruments were used: Barthel Index (BI) to assess care recipients' ability to function independently on activities of daily living (ADL), the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) to evaluate neuropsychiatric symptoms, and the CarerQol-7D/ CarerQol-VAS to determine caregiver subjective burden/well-being. Results: Pre and post-confinement comparisons showed that care recipients significantly declined their independence in ADL (p = 0.003) and increased NPI total score (MD = 5.72; 95% CI: 1.19 to 10.25, p = 0.015). As for caregivers, results also showed an increased caregiving burden (MD = -0.17; 95% CI: -0.27 to -0.08; p = 0.001) and a decline in their well-being (p = 0.015). Discussion: COVID-19 crisis sheds light on how imperative it is to find solutions and design contingency plans for future crisis, in order to ensure properly sustained support to dementia caregiving dyads and mitigate caregivers' burden.

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Digital Technology, Health and Well-Being and the Covid-19 Pandemic: It's Time to Call Forward Informal Carers from the Back of the Queue

Objective: To describe the current challenges of family caregivers during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for future digital innovations including involvement from professional nursing roles.; Data Sources: Review of recent literature from PubMed and relevant health and care reports.; Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused monumental disruption to health care delivery and care. Caregivers face unprecedented levels of uncertainty: both for the people they care for and for their own health and well-being. Given that many carers face poor health and well-being, there is a significant risk that health inequalities will be increased by this pandemic, particularly for high-risk groups. Innovations including those supported and delivered by digital health could make a significant difference but careful planning and implementation is a necessity for widespread implementation.; Implications for Nursing Practice: Carers need to be championed in the years ahead to ensure they do not become left at the "back of the queue" for health and well-being equity. This situation has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Disruptive change to health and social care is now required where digital health solutions hold considerable promise, yet to be fully realized. 

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COVID-19 IDD: A global survey exploring family members' and paid staff's perceptions of the impact of COVID-19 on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers

Background : This protocol outlines research to explore family members' and paid staff's perceptions of the impact of COVID-19 on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers. Evidence suggests that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities experience disparities in healthcare access and utilisation. This disparity was evident early in the pandemic when discussions arose regarding the potential exclusion of this population to critical care. Methods : An anonymous online survey will be conducted with caregivers, both family members and paid staff, to explore their perceptions of the impact of COVID-19 in terms of demographics, living arrangements, access to services, social distancing, and carer wellbeing. The survey will be developed by the research team, many of whom are experts in intellectual disability within their own jurisdictions. Using back-translation our team will translate the survey for distribution in 18 countries worldwide for international comparison. The survey team have extensive personal and professional networks and will promote the survey widely on social media with the support of local disability and advocacy agencies. Statistical descriptive and comparative analyses will be conducted. Ethical approval has been obtained for this study from University College Dublin's Human Research Ethics Committee (HS-20-28-Linehan). Dissemination : Study findings will be prepared in a number of formats in order to meet the needs of different audiences. Outputs will include academic papers, lessons learned paper, practice guidelines, reports, infographics and video content. These outputs will be directed to families, frontline and management delivering disability services, national-level policy makers, healthcare quality and delivery authorities, national pandemic organisations and international bodies.

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Comfort Always: The Importance of Providing Psychological Support to Neurology Staff, Patients, and Families During COVID-19

Background Although the impact of COVID-19 disruption on healthcare staff is increasingly understood, there has been no discussion of how it affects neurological patients and their families. This study sought to understand the impact of COVID-19 on staff, patients and families. Methods The Department of Neuropsychology at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery established three new support services for staff, patients and families. Semi-structured interviews elicited concerns and if these were affected by COVID-19. Staff members were asked to complete the General Health Questionnaire-12. Results Few staff members presented for support, but nearly all indicated significant distress, reflecting increased anxiety and reduced social support. Patients described exacerbated emotional, cognitive and physical concerns, and greater vulnerability to isolation and economic hardship. Families and carers reported increased distress arising from hospital lockdown. Conclusion COVID-19 disruption affects staff, patients and families. Patients and families described additional challenges, which emphasize the importance of providing psychological support during these extraordinary times.

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Who Cares for Carers? Perspectives on Covid-19 Pressures and Lack of Support

Embracing CarersTM created the Carer Well-Being Index to determine the current and residual impacts of COVID-19 on unpaid carers, including its impact on their economic, physical and psychological well-being.

While carers weren’t alone in experiencing 2020 as a highly emotional and unstable period, they faced unique pressures, demands and time commitments often overlooked by society. They must now navigate fast-changing care delivery models, learn new telehealth and technology, provide emotional support despite their own emotional needs, and handle increased responsibilities at home—all at once.

Amid these rising responsibilities, many carers sacrifice their own health and well-being for the sake of people they love. They deal with emotional isolation. Financial strife hits hard as unemployment spikes and salaries are imperiled. Many lack the time to care for their own physical and emotional health. There are even more nuanced challenges when looking at women carers, younger, middle-aged and older carers, who encounter inequities.

In taking a hard look at how the pandemic has affected the globe, carers have faced unprecedented challenges – they are undercounted, unheard and struggling.

Now more than ever, governments, public entities, the private sector and all citizens have roles to play in addressing that problem. Carers should not have to face these hardships and inequities alone. They’re sacrificing for us, one by one. As a society, we can help them, together.

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The importance of family members caregiving for older adults during COVID-19

Presents an argument that one of the ways that we can more properly value family caregivers is by understanding that employment policies have implications for families’ and older adults’ well-being, and that policies targeted at families of all forms can affect the health, employment, and general well-being of the nation.

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Exploring the experiences of siblings of adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic

Background The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) to lose their daily routines and social support, and as a result, many adults with IDD are increasingly reliant on their family caregivers. Siblings often play a crucial support role for their brothers and sisters with IDD. As such, this study aimed to describe the experiences of adult siblings of people with IDD during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods The Sibling Collaborative worked with researchers to codesign an online survey, completed by 91 people, exploring sibling supports and concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey also aimed to identify helpful resources for siblings during this time. Results The results showed that the majority of siblings are supporting their brother or sister with IDD during the COVID-19 pandemic and are concerned about the health and well-being of their brother/sister. The most common concern related to disruption of their brother's or sister's routine and activities. Although responses of older and younger siblings did not differ from each other, siblings whose brother or sister with IDD lived with family had some unique concerns relative to those whose siblings no longer lived with family. Siblings described how their own self-care and relationships with others, as well as support for their brother/sister, were particularly helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusions Siblings are providing key support to their brother or sister with IDD during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they too must be supported. Siblings should be included in efforts to disseminate resources targeting people with IDD and their feedback and input must be obtained. It is also important to include sibling mental wellness as caregiver supports are created and implemented. More research is needed to further understand how to support sibling caregivers.

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ILFA Stakeholder Survey: Caregivers

Between April 16th and May 5th 2020, the Irish Lung Fibrosis Association commissioned a survey of its stakeholders to gain a deeper understanding of how their daily and healthcare needs were being met during the Covid-19 pandemic. Caregivers were quite concerned about poor levels of awareness and lack of recognition of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) as a serious condition. Several were experiencing stress and they found the support from ILFA very helpful. They also felt it would be useful for newly diagnosed patients and their caregivers to be pointed to ILFA immediately upon diagnosis.

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Unseen and undervalued: The value of unpaid care provided to date during the COVID-19 pandemic

Research released for Carers Rights Day 2020 reveals unpaid carers save UK state £530 million every day of the pandemic. Care provided by families valued at £135 billion over course of the pandemic so far.  Carers UK calls on Government to recognise contribution of millions of carers and protect their health and wellbeing.

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Finding the Right Balance: An Evidence-Informed Guidance Document to Support the Re-Opening of Canadian Nursing Homes to Family Caregivers and Visitors during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

During the first few months of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Canadian nursing homes implemented strict no-visitor policies to reduce the risk of introducing COVID-19 in these settings. There are now growing concerns that the risks associated with restricted access to family caregivers and visitors have started to outweigh the potential benefits associated with preventing COVID-19 infections. Many residents have sustained severe and potentially irreversible physical, functional, cognitive, and mental health declines. As Canada emerges from its first wave of the pandemic, nursing homes across the country have cautiously started to reopen these settings, yet there is broad criticism that emerging visitor policies are overly restrictive, inequitable, and potentially harmful. We reviewed the nursing home visitor policies for Canada's 10 provinces and 3 territories as well as international policies and reports on the topic to develop 10 provi-informed, data-driven, and expert-reviewed guidance for the re-opening of Canadian nursing homes to family caregivers and visitors. 

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Essential Family Caregivers in Long-Term Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Four decades ago, my parents were not permitted to hold their dying infant because they were “visitors” to the intensive care unit. I learned from them that our health care policies sometimes carry huge human costs. As a geriatrician and medical director of a long-term care (LTC) facility, I have learned that family members are not merely visitors; family members are critical partners in our care. The practice of social distancing and physical separation is important to keep our residents in LTC facilities safe in the COVID-19 pandemic, but the time has come to revise our policies allowing family presence at the bedside of loved ones....

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The Family Caregiving Crisis Meets an Actual Pandemic

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic presents unique challenges to those who work with the seriously ill population, including both health care providers and the family caregivers providing unpaid care. We rely on this lay workforce as health care routinely transitions care to the home, and now more than ever, we are depending on them in the current pandemic. As palliative care and other health care providers become overwhelmed with patients critically ill with COVID-19, and routine care becomes delayed, we have a charge to recognize and work with family caregivers. Our commentary provides rationale for the need to focus on family caregivers and key considerations for how to include them in pandemic clinical decision making. 

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COVID-19 Education for Caregivers

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyday life in the United States and around the world. Considering persons with mild symptoms may recover at home, education for caregivers is critical. They need instruction on how to care for a family member with COVID-19 and how to prevent themselves from getting the virus.

The article discusses the need for caregivers to receive instruction on how to care for a family member with COVID-19 and how to prevent themselves from getting the virus. Topics mentioned include the use of over-the-counter medication for relief of fevers, responsibility of caregivers to practice a certain amount of distancing from a person with COVID-19, and disinfection of electronics with appropriate device-approved solutions.

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Meeting the Transitional Care Needs of Older Adults with COVID-19

Older adults with COVID-19 who survive hospitalizations and return to their homes confront substantial health challenges and an unpredictable future. While understanding of the unique needs of COVID-19 survivors is developing, components of the evidence-based Transitional Care Model provide a framework for taking a more immediate, holistic response to caring for these individuals as they moved back into the community. These components include: increasing screening, building trusting relationships, improving patient engagement, promoting collaboration across care teams, undertaking symptom management, increasing family caregiver care/education, coordinating health and social services, and improving care continuity. Evidence generated from rigorous testing of these components reveal the need for federal and state policy solutions to support the following: employment/redeployment of nurses, social workers, and community health workers; training and reimbursement of family caregivers; widespread access to research-based transitional care tools; and coordinated local efforts to address structural barriers to effective transitions. Immediate action on these policy options is necessary to more effectively address the complex issues facing these older adults and their family caregivers who are counting on our care system for essential support.

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Introducing the Video call to facilitate the communication between health care providers and families of patients in the intensive care unit during COVID-19 pandemia

Effective communication improves family satisfaction, trust in ICU physicians, clinical decision-making and psychological well-being being of family members (Lilly et al., 2000; Wood, 2018). Complete isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions disables clinician-family meetings and the limitations of hospital visitation policies do not permit caregivers to be near their loved ones, with the risk of leaving them without any form of trusted representation and advocacy. Always be open minded to new ways of acting your mission.

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A Hitchhiker's Guide to caring for an older person before and during coronavirus‐19

Coronavirus‐19 (COVID‐19) has reconfigured working lives with astonishing velocity. Older people have suffered the worst effects of the pandemic, with governments marginalizing or overlooking their needs. Women perform the majority of care for older people, often compromising their working lives and health. Yet in academic articles their voices are often filtered or aggregated in quantitative studies. Based on a weave of personal experiences and secondary research, the article traces a path through UK forms of care and shows how the inadequate response to COVID‐19 stemmed from existing policies embedded in health and social care. COVID‐19 has severed important informal care work, rendering the vulnerable yet more exposed and carers anxious and bereft. Longitudinal research capturing the trajectory of care from the perspective of older people and their carers would lead to improved support hence gender equality. 

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A Systematic Review of Home-Setting Psychoeducation Interventions for Behavioral Changes in Dementia: Some Lessons for the COVID-19 Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Assistance

Background Impacts of social isolation measures imposed by COVID-19 Pandemic on mental health and quality of life of older adults living with dementia and their caregivers remain unexplored. Studies have shown that psychoeducational and psychosocial interventions can manage behavioral and psychological symptoms in dementia (BPSD) and reduce the emotional burden on family members when applied in home-setting scenarios. Method a comprehensive systematic review of useful interventions for easing the BPSD burden in patients with dementia (PwD) and their caregivers in the context of COVID-19 quarantine was performed from January 2010 to March 2020. Results From a total of 187 articles retrieved from electronic databases (MEDLINE, LILACS, Cochrane and SCOPUS), 43 studies were eligible for this review. Most of the psychosocial and psychoeducational interventions described were person-centered strategies based on the cognitive-behavioral approach or informational tools to enhance care providers' knowledge of dementia. Most studies achieved successful results in handling BPSD and mood-anxiety symptoms of care providers, contributing to an overall improvement in dyad life quality. Conclusion Evidence from the last few years suggest that low-cost techniques, tailored to the dyad well-being, with increasing use of technology through friendly online platforms and application robots, can be an alternative to conventional assistance during COVID-19 Pandemic. Nevertheless, the world's current experience regarding the duration of the COVID-19 Pandemic and its effects on the cognition, behavior, and life quality of PwD will demand research on preventive and protective factors of dementia and the pursue of efficient interventions in different scenarios.

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Experiences and Needs of Caregivers of Persons With Dementia in India During the COVID-19 Pandemic-A Qualitative Study

Objective: To describe the experiences and needs of caregivers of persons with dementia during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown in a city in India. Design: Qualitative study using a telephonic semistructured interview. Setting: A specialist geriatric outpatient mental health service based in a nongovernmental organization in Chennai, India. Participants: A purposive sampling of family members of persons with dementia registered in the database and seen within the previous 6 months. Results: Thirty-one caregivers participated. Thematic analysis of the data showed two sets of issues that the caregivers of persons with dementia faced in their experiences during the pandemic. The first set was unique to the caregivers that directly related to their caregiving role, while the second set did not relate directly to their caregiving role. These two sets also appeared to have a two-way interaction influencing each other. These issues generated needs, some of which required immediate support while others required longer-term support. The caregivers suggested several methods, such as use of video-consultations, telephone-based support and clinic-based in-person visits to meet their needs. They also wanted more services postpandemic. Conclusion: Caregivers of persons with dementia had multiple needs during the pandemic. Supporting them during these times require a pragmatic multilayered approach. Systemic changes, policies and frameworks, increased awareness, use of technology, and better access to health are necessary.

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Guidance for those who provide unpaid care to friends or family

Guidance for anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who cannot cope without their support. This may be because they have a lifelong condition, illness, disability, serious injury, mental health condition or an addiction. 

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Guidance for those under 25 who provide care for someone

This guidance is for anyone under 25 who cares for a family member who cannot cope without their support. This may be because they have a lifelong condition, illness, disability, serious injury, a mental health condition or an addiction. 

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Coronavirus (COVID-19): providing unpaid care to adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults

This guidance is for anyone who provides unpaid care, such as friends or family, to adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults. The guidance will help people with caring responsibilities to: keep people with learning disabilities and autistic people safe support them to understand the changes they need to make during the COVID-19 outbreak protect their own wellbeing. This guidance aims to help those with caring responsibilities keep people with learning disabilities and autistic people safe, to support them to understand the changes they need to make during the COVID-19 outbreak, and to protect their own wellbeing.

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Caring for loved ones with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic: A double hit risk for social isolation and need for action

Key Points

  • With social distancing and visitors limited in healthcare, caregivers of cancer patients are at increased risk for isolation.
  • Caregivers may have learned particular lessons that can foster resilience from isolation.
  • Telehealth and phone check‐ins offer opportunities to support caregivers.
  • Policy initiatives have the potential to continue support for caregivers post‐COVID.
  • Supporting caregivers is a community effort, and its importance should not be forgotten post‐COVID.
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Care packages halved for most people with learning disabilities during Covid, report carers

Needs have increased leading to negative impact on independence, relationships and health and more pressure on carers, finds Mencap

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Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, Meaningful Communication between Family Caregivers and Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities is Imperative

Older adults residing in long-term care facilities are especially vulnerable for severe illness or death from COVID-19. To contain the transmission of the virus in long-term care facilities, federal health officials have issued strict visitation guidelines, restricting most visits between residents and all visitors, including family members. Yet, many older adults rely on family care for social support and to maintain their health, well-being, and safety in long-term care facilities, and therefore need to stay connected to their families. The federal government, state and local leaders, and long-term care facilities should take further actions to enable the relationship between residents of long-term care facilities and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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The alleviation of suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic

During the current global public health emergency, clinicians may likely struggle to meet the psychological, spiritual, social, and emotional needs of patients and family caregivers. [...]the burnout and existential distress experienced by healthcare professionals worldwide prior to COVID-19 will likely increase significantly amid the current pandemic (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2019; Parks, 2020; Pessin et al., 2015). Responding to suffering during COVID COVID-19 is magnifying a collective fear and anxiety about impending destruction, as mortality rates rise steadily and we learn more about healthcare system capacity constraints, the possibilities of resource rationing and blanket do-not-resuscitate orders, and low survival rates linked to advanced stages of COVID-19. The clinical progression of COVID-19 for many patients has escalated so quickly there has been little time for patients or family caregivers to discuss the reality of the disease, adjust to the caregiving role, clarify goals of care, or create a legacy as life ends. Given the unique, high-risk vulnerabilities of seriously ill patients and those at the end of life who are COVID-19 positive, many palliative care organizations are guiding clinicians to employ presence, use deep listening skills, and promote cultures of professionalism and calm in interactions with patients, families, and colleagues (CAPC, www.capc.org; End-of-Life Nursing Educational Consortium, ELNEC, www.aacnnursing.org/ELNEC; National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, NHPCO, www.nhpc.org; VitalTalk.org, www.vitaltalk.org).

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2020 Vision: Hear Me, See Me, Support Me and don’t Forget Me.

The results of a Carers Trust Scotland survey into the impact of Coronavirus on young carers aged 12 to 17 and young adult carers aged 18 to 25 was published in July 2020. They point to a steep decline in the mental health and wellbeing of thousands of young people across Scotland who provide unpaid care at home for family members or friends.

Key points: With 214 responses from across Scotland, our survey provides a base of evidence. It shows how worries relating to Coronavirus and increased isolation caused by the lockdown have affected the mental health and wellbeing of Scotland's young people with caring responsibilities. Even before the outbreak of Coronavirus, young carers and young adult carers were all too often spending significant amounts of time caring for a relative in addition to the time they needed to spend on education, work and time for themselves. Coronavirus has significantly increased those pressures.

  • 45% of young carers and 68% of young adult carers in Scotland say their mental health is worse since Coronavirus.
  • 71% of young carers and 85% of young adult carers in Scotland are more worried about the future since Coronavirus.
  • 69% of young carers and 76% of young adult carers in Scotland are feeling more stressed since Coronavirus.
  • 74% of young carers and 73% of young adult carers in Scotland are feeling less connected to others since Coronavirus.
  • 58% of young carers in Scotland are feeling that their education has suffered since Coronavirus.
  • 11% of both young and young adult carers in Scotland report an increase of 30 hours or more in the amount of time they spend caring per week.
  • 6% of young carers and 11% of young adult carers in Scotland are spending over 90 hours a week caring for a family member or friend.
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Caring behind closed doors: six months on. The continued impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on unpaid carers

There were up to 9.1 million unpaid carers across the UK before the COVID-19 pandemic, providing everything from a few hours of support a week to intensive and complex round the clock care.  The pandemic has resulted in millions of new carers – 4.5 million new to caring since the start of the pandemic, 2.8 million of whom are juggling work and care. Caring can have significant costs, and without sufficient support it can take its toll on carers’ emotional and physical health, ability to work and have a knock-on effect on their long-term finances. Carers have been hit particularly hard as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As this research shows many have had to make extremely difficult decisions about work and family.

Carers are providing even more care than six months ago; Needs have increased; Fewer breaks and no breaks; Worse health and wellbeing; Worried about winter; Exhausted and worn out; Struggling financially; Work – a mixed picture; Digital differences; Some positives during caring 

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Decision-making for receiving paid home care for dementia in the time of COVID-19: a qualitative study

Background: The lockdown imposed in the UK on the 23rd of March and associated public health measures of social distancing are likely to have had a great impact on care provision. The aim of this study was to explore the decision-making processes of continued paid home care support for dementia in the time of COVID-19. Methods: Unpaid carers caring for a person living with dementia (PLWD) who were accessing paid home care before COVID-19 and residing in the UK were eligible to take part. Participants were interviewed over the phone and asked about their experiences of using paid home care services before and since COVID-19, and their decision-making processes of accessing paid home care since the outbreak and public health restrictions. Results: Fifteen unpaid carers, who were also accessing paid care support for the PLWD before COVID-19, were included in the analysis. Thematic analysis identified three overarching themes: (1) Risk; (2) Making difficult choices and risk management; and (3) Implications for unpaid carers. Many unpaid carers decided to discontinue paid carers entering the home due to the risk of infection, resulting in unpaid carers having to pick up the care hours to support the person living with dementia. Conclusions: This is the first study to report on the impact of COVID-19 on paid home care changes in dementia. Findings raise implications for providing better Personal Protective Equipment for paid carers, and to support unpaid carers better in their roles, with the pandemic likely to stay in place for the foreseeable future.

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Worst hit: dementia during coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic is having a devastating impact around the world. In the UK, people affected by dementia have been hardest hit and our fragmented social care system has been exposed for all to see.

Alzheimer’s Society is the UK’s leading dementia charity, and in this report we bring together evidence from a wide range of sources to shine a light on the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on people who have dementia and those who care for them

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Risk of Depression in Family Caregivers: Unintended Consequence of COVID-19

Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is likely to exacerbate the symptoms of poor mental health in family caregivers; Aims: To investigate whether rates of depressive symptomatology increased in caregivers during COVID-19 and whether the unintended consequences of health protective measures, i.e., social isolation, exacerbated this risk. Another aim was to see if caregivers accessed any online/phone psychological support during COVID. Method: Data (1349 caregivers; 6178 non-caregivers) was extracted from Understanding Society, a UK population-level data-set. The General Health Questionnaire cut-off scores identified those who are likely to have depression.; Results: After adjustment for confounding caregivers had a higher risk of having depressive symptoms compared with non-caregivers, odds ratio (OR) = 1.22 (95% CI 1.05–1.40, P = 0.008) evidenced by higher levels of depression pre-COVID-19 (16.7% caregivers v. 12.1% non-caregivers) and during the COVID-19 pandemic (21.6% caregivers v. 17.9% non-caregivers), respectively. Further, higher levels of loneliness increased the risk of depression symptoms almost four-fold in caregivers, OR = 3.85 (95% 95% CI 3.08–4.85, P < 0.001), whereas accessing therapy attenuated the risk of depression (43%). A total of 60% of caregivers with depression symptoms reported not accessing any therapeutic support (for example online or face to face) during the COVID-19 pandemic.; Conclusions: COVID-19 has had a negative impact on family caregivers’ mental health with loneliness a significant contributor to depressive symptomatology. However, despite these detriments in mental health, the majority of caregivers do not access any online or phone psychiatric support. Finally, psychiatric services and healthcare professionals should aim to focus on reducing feelings of loneliness to support at-risk caregivers.

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Impact of COVID-19 related social support service closures on people with dementia and unpaid carers: a qualitative study

Objectives Accessing social care and social support services is key to support the well-being of people living with dementia (PLWD) and unpaid carers. COVID-19 has caused sudden closures or radical modifications of these services, and is resulting in prolonged self-isolation. The aim of this study was to explore the effects of COVID-19 related social care and support service changes and closures on the lives of PLWD and unpaid carers. Method PLWD and unpaid carers were interviewed via telephone in April 2020. Transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis. Demographic characteristics including household Index of Multiple Deprivation score and weekly hours of social support service usage before and since the COVID-19 outbreak were also collected. Paired samples t-tests was used to compare the mean of weekly hours of social support service usage before and since the outbreak. Results 50 semi-structured interviews were conducted with unpaid carers (n?=?42) and PLWD (n?=?8). There was a significant reduction in social support service usage since the outbreak. Thematic analysis identified three overarching themes: (1) Loss of control; (2) Uncertainty; (3) Adapting and having to adapt to the new normal. Carers and PLWD were greatly affected by the sudden removal of social support services, and concerned about when services would re-open. Carers were worried about whether the person they cared for would still be able to re-join social support services. Conclusions PLWD and carers need to receive specific practical and psychological support during the pandemic to support their well-being, which is severely affected by public health restrictions.

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Covid-19 and the Impact on Family Carers

This paper will examine key rapid surveys and research studies which have been conducted by various researchers and organisations both in a specifically Irish context and internationally.

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The invisible workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic: Family carers at the frontline [version 1; peer review: 2 approved]

This is an open letter to acknowledge the essential and increasingly challenging role unpaid family carers are playing in the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter is written by members of the CAREWELL team, a HRB-funded project that aims to promote health and self-care behaviours among working family carers. Family carers provide care to family and friends in the community who need support due to old-age, disability and chronic illness. In many cases, family carers are supporting those who are considered most at risk in this pandemic meaning carers must reduce their own risk of infection in order to protect their dependent family members. The temporary reduction of some home care services, as well as school and creche closures, means that family carers are providing increased levels of care with little or no support. At a time when both worlds of work and care have been dramatically transformed, we wish to shed light on those who are currently balancing paid employment with a family caregiving role. We argue that there is much to be learned from the recent work restrictions that could benefit employees, including working family carers, beyond this pandemic. We also wish to build on the potential positives of a transformed society and encourage policy makers and employers to focus on what is currently being implemented, and to identify which measures could be used to create a bedrock of policies and practices that would offer robust and effective support to family carers. It is hoped that family carers will receive greater recognition for the significant role they play in society, providing essential care and alleviating the strain on health and social care systems, both during and post the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Caring and Coping with Dementia during COVID-19

Research Aim: This aim of this research is to explore how the experiences and needs of people with dementia and carers have changed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and to understand how these needs can be appropriately addressed. Summary: This report presents the findings of national research undertaken by The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI) between 8th and 26th June 2020, which explored how people with dementia and their carers are coping during COVID-19 and to understand their challenges and needs. This report follows on from a national survey carried out at the start of April 2020, when dementia services ceased operating and COVID-19 restrictions were imposed.

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COVID-19 and the impact of the Closure of day services on People with intellectual disabilities

In mid-March Disability day services closed to people with intellectual disabilities with a small number of exceptions. In May and early June, Inclusion Ireland surveyed the people who use these services and their families on the impact the closure of service has had on them and the supports they have received in this time. In total, 291 family members answered our survey and 55 people with intellectual disabilities responded to an easy-to-read version of our survey giving a total response of 346. Peoples engagement with their service over the Covid period has been variable with some people reporting regular contact, daily online activities, and some face to face support while more than half of respondents have had very little meaningful  contact at all. The closure of day services impacting on the mental health of people cannot be underestimated. A significant number of respondents reported increased loneliness, increased anxiety, and increased challenging behaviour or anger. At the same time more that 20% of people reported being happier during the lock down. As services reopen and start to support people with intellectual disabilities in a ‘different or remote’ manner the needs of people with high support needs and complex disabilities must be considered carefully. This group of people tell us they cannot access virtual technology even with one on one family support to do so.

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COVID-19 and Intellectual Disability: Supporting people with intellectual disabilities and their families

In March 2020 the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak of the new Coronavirus, or COVID19, as a pandemic, due to its rapid spread around the globe. Ireland, along with other countries around the world, is taking action and putting in place plans to curtail the COVID-19 virus. However, people with intellectual disabilities are a group at a significantly higher risk than others. As a result, it is important that additional considerations and supports are put in place for people with disabilities during this COVID-19 outbreak, and that actions specific to this group in society are taken by Government, disability services, communities and people with disabilities themselves and their families. These actions must be in line with the UNCRPD, and must support people with intellectual disabilities and their families through this emergency period, in line with Article 11 of the Convention which states that all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk are taken.

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Covid-19: Impact & Need for People with Dementia and Family Carers

This report produced by The ASI summarises the results of three surveys that were distributed to people living with dementia, family carers, and Community Champions (Understand Together). The aims of this report are threefold:

1. To identify the current challenges experienced by people with dementia and family carers in the current Covid-19 Pandemic through simple surveys.

2. To bring together suggestions from people with dementia and family carers of how ASI can continue to support them in lieu of suspended services.

3. To communicate the above work in an accessible way to the committee in such a way that will enable the committee to review and shortlist the evidence in a timeline manner.

Results are presented for each individual cohort: People living with dementia, Family Carers, and Community Champions. 

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Participant and Caregiver Perspectives on Clinical Research During Covid‐19 Pandemic

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES The COVID‐19 pandemic has massively disrupted essential clinical research. Many regulatory organizations have rightfully advocated to temporarily halt enrollment and curtail all face‐to‐face interactions. Views and opinions of patients and their caregivers are seldom considered while making such decisions. The objective was to study older participantsʼ and their caregiversʼ perspectives to participate in ongoing clinical research during the COVID‐19 pandemic. DESIGN Cross‐sectional. SETTING VISN‐16/Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC), Department of Veterans Affairs. PARTICIPANTS Older participants and their caregivers (N = 51) enrolled in ongoing clinical research studies. MEASUREMENTS Questions about perceptions of safety to attend research visit, the level of panic among the general public, and medical centerʼs preparedness in handling the pandemic. Other questions identified the source of pandemic information and the preference of a phone or in‐person visit. RESULTS Mean age was 69.3 (±9.4) years, 53% were male, 39% were caregivers, and 65% were Caucasian. Majority (78%) of the participants felt safe/very safe attending the scheduled research appointment; 63% felt that the extra screening made them feel safe/very safe; 82% felt that the medical center was prepared/very prepared for the pandemic. Participants split evenly on their preference for phone versus in‐person visits. Family members and television news media were the commonly used sources of pandemic information irrespective of their education. Perceptions were influenced by gender and source of information, not by age or education. Females perceived higher level of panic compared to males (P = .02). Those relying on news media felt safer compared to those that relied on family members (P = .008). CONCLUSION Even though informants felt that the medical center was prepared to handle the pandemic, only half the participants preferred the in‐person visit. Pandemic information was obtained from family members or the television news media. Knowing patientsʼ perspectives may help researchers be better prepared for future pandemics.

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Elder abuse in the COVID‐19 era

Reports of elder abuse range from financial scams to incidents of family violence, with public warnings issued accordingly from the Federal Trade Commission and the American Bar Association. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines elder abuse as an intentional act or failure to act by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult. Abuse of older adults can be physical, emotional, financial, neglect, or any combination of these. The World Health Organization defines ageism as “the stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination against people on the basis of their age,” and a recent systematic review found ageism to be associated with numerous negative health consequences worldwide. Ageism is pervasive, harmful, and arguably the primary vice underlying elder abuse. See PDF.] ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Financial Disclosure This work was supported by the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health grants (R01AG055430 to S.D.H., R01AG060096 to L.M.) and the Administration for Community Living grant (90ABRC0001‐02‐00 to L.M.), as well as the Department of Family Medicine of the University of Southern California.

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Protecting the elderly through and beyond the Covid-19 lockdown

Extract: ...Add to this the knowledge that assaults and domestic murders surge by as much as 25% during a festive season - a time of increased financial strain and closer proximity of family members - and the present Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, the current environment for older people looks deeply concerning. Caregiver support interventions Stemming from the theoretical risk model of 'caregiver stress theory', caregiver support interventions seek to alleviate the stress and burden of caring for an older person by providing key services (including meal preparation, housekeeping help or day care, or broader caregiving help through educational, teaching coping strategies or support groups). There is help and support available for informal carers from Citizens Advice, and from local councils on a range of issues from making daily life easier to benefit claims * Have a conversation about practical arrangements for the future, e.g. 'Have you thought about future decision-making for health and financial matters?'; 'Do you feel confident managing your money?' Empowering older people to seek out knowledge to help plan their future can safeguard from abuse.

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Young carers research project: Summary of findings

A number of recent studies have highlighted the challenges facing young people as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like their peers, young people aged 16 to 25 who are caring for a family member or friend have experienced significant change and instability during this unprecedented period.

During the peak of the COVID-19 lockdown, Carers NSW conducted online interviews and focus groups with 28 young carers to better understand their experiences and support needs and to learn how to engage with them more effectively. This summary report includes powerful stories of young people caring for loved ones while juggling study, work, family and social responsibilities.

This report shares insights from young carers across a range of themes, including education, employment, service provision and relationships, embedding the young carer voice throughout. These insights will help to inform ongoing and future service provision, research and systemic advocacy conducted by Carers NSW and our partners and stakeholders.

A review of existing research literature (see Appendix I) and internal consultation with Carers NSW staff working with young carers, conducted in the scoping phase of this project, identified that young carers are often isolated and experience socio-economic disadvantage as a result of their caring responsibilities. However, they are often reluctant to disclose their caring responsibilities to others and commonly perceive their own needs and experiences as less important than those of the person they care for. These factors can make it more difficult for researchers and others to successfully engage with young carers.

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Allowing Visitors Back in the Nursing Home During the COVID-19 Crisis: A Dutch National Study Into First Experiences and Impact on Well-Being

Objectives: To prevent and control COVID-19 infections, nursing homes across the world have taken very restrictive measures, including a ban for visitors. These restrictive measures have an enormous impact on residents' well-being and pose dilemmas for staff, although primary data are lacking. A Dutch guideline was developed to cautiously open nursing homes for visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study reports the first findings on how the guideline was applied in the local context; the compliance to local protocols; and the impact on well-being of residents, their family caregivers, and staff. Design: A mixed-methods cross-sectional study was conducted. Setting and Participants: In total, 26 nursing homes were permitted to enlarge their possibilities for allowing visitors in their facility. These nursing homes were proportionally representative of the Netherlands as they were selected by their local Area Health Authority for participation. At each nursing home, a contact person was selected for participation in the current study. Methods: A mixed-methods cross-sectional study was conducted, consisting of questionnaire, telephone interviews, analyses of documentation (ie, local visiting protocols), and a WhatsApp group. Results: Variation in local protocols was observed, for example, related to the use of personal protective equipment, location, and supervision of visits. In general, experiences were very positive. All nursing homes recognized the added value of real and personal contact between residents and their loved ones and indicated a positive impact on well-being. Compliance with local guidelines was sufficient to good. No new COVID-19 infections were reported during this time. Conclusions and Implications: These results indicate the value of family visitation in nursing homes and positive impact of visits. Based on these results, the Dutch government has decided to allow all nursing homes in the Netherlands to cautiously open their homes using the guidelines. More research is needed on impact and long-term compliance.

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Care in the Time of Coronavirus: Why care work needs to be at the centre of a post-COVID-19 feminist future

New research by Oxfam and partners reveals that while COVID-19 and the related containment efforts have caused increases in women’s – and men’s – unpaid care workloads, women are still doing the bulk of this work. Women living in poverty, single mothers and essential workers as well as those belonging to minority racial and ethnic groups are being pushed furthest to the margins. It shows the real consequences this has for the health, economic security and wellbeing of these women and their families. Women report feeling more anxious, depressed, overworked or ill because of their increased unpaid care work.  Care work is essential to the healthy functioning of our societies and economies and must be better supported through policy and social norms change.  Care work must be at the heart of a feminist COVID-19 recovery.

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Care, poverty and coronavirus across Britain

Carers, paid and unpaid, are at the forefront of our response to the Coronavirus, putting themselves at risk to protect us all. Yet, if you are a carer, for adults or children, you are more likely to be living in poverty. This is not right.

This briefing note updates our Make Care Count report which focuses on the link between care and poverty before the crisis. It describes carers’ experiences of the pandemic, prioritising the voices of carers throughout, before detailing how we can take the first steps towards ending poverty for carers in Britain.

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Supporting informal carers during the covid-19 pandemic

A working list of things to be aware of/ consider in supporting informal carers (family and friends who support patients in an unpaid role) impacted by COVID-19. This is partly evidence-based and partly grounded in our combined experience of working in applied research on informal carer support needs

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Impact of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on community-dwelling caregivers and persons with dementia

Restrictions related to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pose unique and significant challenges for community-dwelling caregivers and people with dementia, including disrupted routines, a lack of structure, decreased access to respite care, and new or worsening safety issues related to interpersonal violence and hygiene. In addition to identifying issues confronting caregivers, the authors also describe possible ways to address some of these pressing concerns.

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Caring safely at home

This video-based resource is designed to help people look after someone safely at home.

This resource will help you care for people in any situation, although this resource may be particularly useful if you are supporting someone during the COVID-19 crisis.

Each section has a set of videos designed to give you and the person you care for practical and relevant information to support you day to day.

What will the videos cover?

  • how to help manage certain conditions
  • providing everyday support for any person you’re caring for.

There is no set order you need to go through these topics, and some may not apply to your specific situation. Learn at your own pace and choose whichever is relevant to you.

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The COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges and opportunities for carers in NSW

Carers NSW has been closely monitoring COVID-19 developments in NSW, the ongoing government response and the wide ranging impacts the virus and associated social distancing requirements have had on carers. Carers have experienced a variety of impacts, both in relation to the people they care for and in relation to their own health and overall wellbeing. Many carers provide care and support to people who are in higher risk categories, and many are in higher risk categories themselves due to age or an existing health condition. These factors have resulted in complexities surrounding provision of care, particularly in maintaining social distancing.  [...]

Carers NSW determined that it was crucial to hear directly from carers and other key stakeholders in order to gain a clear and accurate picture of the key issues, challenges and opportunities for carers during the pandemic. This report identifies the key findings of consultation conducted to inform Carers NSW service adjustments and systemic advocacy. 

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) and carers: Carers NSW Position statement, 7 May 2020

As the peak non-government organisation for carers in NSW, Carers NSW has been closely monitoring related policy developments that may directly impact carers and the people they care for, and has been in continual contact with carers across the state to understand and respond to their changing support needs. This position statement draws on ongoing policy and media analysis, more than 50 carer case studies, and 5 consultations held with 30 carers and other stakeholders.

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Caring behind closed doors: Forgotten families in the coronavirus outbreak

Carers UK carried out an online survey between 3rd April and 14th April 2020. A total of 5,047 carers and former carers responded to the survey. This included 4,830 current carers and 217 former carers. Compared to the carer population as a whole, respondents to this survey were more likely to be female and caring for a high number of hours every week. As not all respondents completed every question in the survey, a number of the figures given in this report, including those presented here, are based upon responses from fewer than 5,047 carers.

Of current carers responding to the survey:

  • 67% live in England, 19% live in Scotland, 9% live in Northern Ireland, and 6% live in Wales.
  • 81% identify as female and 18% identify as male.
  • 23% consider themselves to have a disability.
  • 1% are aged 0–24, 4% are aged 25–34, 13% are aged 35–44, 27% are aged 45–54, 32% are aged 55– 64, 17% are aged 65–74, and 5% are aged 75 and over.
  • 4% identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual.
  • 4% described their ethnicity as black or minority ethnic.
  • 18% also have childcare responsibilities for a nondisabled child under 18.
  • 36% have been caring for 15 years or more, 17% for between 10–14 years, 24% for 5–9 years, 20% for 1–4 years, 2% for less than one year and just 1% have been caring since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. 
  • Most (71%) care for one person, 20% care for two people, 6% for three people, and 2% care for four or more people. 
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Caring Through COVID: Life in Lockdown

This report sets out the findings of a national survey undertaken by Family Carers Ireland between April 14th and May 5th 2020 which examined family carers’ experience of caring during the COVID-19 pandemic. The online survey was completed by 1,307 current family carers representing a range of caring situations – parents caring for children with a disability, those caring for an adult, carers of older people and those caring for multiple people. The survey was open to respondents 18 years and older. As not all respondents completed every question in the survey, a number of the figures given in this report, including those presented here, are based upon responses from fewer than 1,307 carers. A family carer is someone who is providing an ongoing significant level of care to a person who is in need of that care in the home due to illness, disability or frailty.

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Carers need respite from care. COVID-19’s limiting the options & pushing many to breaking point

One in ten Australians provide care for a loved one, sustaining families and saving governments huge sums on care services. But what do they do now?

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Covid-19 pandemic: 4.5 million become unpaid carers in a matter of weeks

New figures released for Carers Week (8th – 14th June 2020) show an estimated 4.5 million people in the UK have become unpaid carers as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is on top of the 9.1 million unpaid carers who were already caring before the outbreak, bringing the total to 13.6 million.

2.7 million women (59%) and 1.8 million men (41%) have started caring for relatives who are older, disabled or living with a physical or mental illness. Typically, they will have been supporting loved ones from afar, helping with food shopping, collecting medicine, managing finances and providing reassurance and emotional support during the pandemic. Some will have taken on intense caring roles, helping with tasks such as personal care, moving around the home, administering medication and preparing meals.

2.8 million people (62%) who have started caring since the outbreak are also juggling paid work alongside their caring responsibilities, highlighting the need for working carers to be supported as they return to offices and work sites.

The six charities supporting Carers Week - Carers UK, Age UK, Carers Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Oxfam GB and Rethink Mental Illness – are calling on the UK Government to recognise and raise awareness of the role unpaid carers are playing during the pandemic and ensure they are supported through it, and beyond.

Both unpaid carers (71%) and adults without caring responsibilities (70%) said managing the stress and responsibility of being an unpaid carer was/ would be the top challenge when caring. Families are under a huge amount of pressure managing their caring roles and are worried about how they will cope in the weeks and months ahead.

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