Informal carers are central to the achievement of end of life care and death at home and to policy aims of enabling patient choice towards end of life. They provide a substantial, yet hidden contribution to our economy. This entails considerable personal cost to carers, and it is recognised that their needs should be assessed and addressed. However, we lack good research evidence on how best to do this. The present position paper gives an overview of the current state of carer research, its gaps and weaknesses, and outlines future priorities.