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Young carer awareness, identification and referral

Young carers often provide care because they have always done so for the people they care about, and because they believe that the care recipient could not manage without them. For many young carers, looking after their own health, combining caring with schoolwork, getting access to training or having time off from carer duties can be a major challenge (Department of Health [DH], 2008). This paper presents evidence from a literature review that builds a substantial body of knowledge to suggest that community nursing teams must develop supportive approaches towards increasing an awareness of young carers' needs. Identification of young carers by community nurses will encourage referral to appropriate services and agencies. The aim of this study was to appraise, for the Queen's Nursing Institute, the published evidence base to explore young carers' needs and how community nurses could support young carers' needs in England. Databases were systematically searched. Title and abstract reviews found 606 potential studies (see Figure 1), which were identified around topics corresponding to the headings of three distinct categories: mental health and wellbeing; education needs and resilience; and development of coping strategies. Full-text review resulted in 26 publications that met the study's inclusion criteria. The results of this work show that there is a scarcity of publications around the community nursing needs of young carers. However, studies consistently report young carers are hidden from view and have a significant requirement for support and information. Therefore, effective ways of delivering community nursing support and information to young carers needs to be developed by service providers as a matter of priority, and implemented to give the support that young carers need. 

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Mark allen publishing ltd.
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British Journal of Community Nursing
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