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Supporting carers in paid employment: developing a needs-led approach

This paper presents some of the key findings from a study about supporting carers in employment. It describes the qualitative experiences of family carers for older people who are in paid employment, paying particular attention to their views on assessment and service provision. The perspectives of other key stakeholders, including staff from statutory and independent sector agencies, are also considered. Support for carers in employment is one of the five priority action areas underpinning the National Strategy for Carers (DoH, 1999). However, the findings from this study reveal that carers in employment have a limited profile at strategic level and their specific needs are rarely addressed in mainstream health and social care planning processes. The findings also suggest that assessment and care management practices are failing to support carers in relation to their employment aspirations. The effectiveness of health and social care assessments in identifying and exploring the needs of carers in employment is limited and very few separate carer assessments are completed. Carers' firstā€hand experiences of service provision are described. Deficits in current services are identified and examples of good practice are highlighted. The paper concludes by outlining the implications for policy and practice. It is suggested that flexible support, underpinned by partnerships between employers and staff from statutory and independent sector agencies, is the key to supporting carers in employment.

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Quality in Ageing and Older Adults

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