Apparently, caregivers in Northern Ireland are pleading for assistance

senior caretaker and woman at home

According to a representative umbrella organization for caregivers, unpaid caregivers in Northern Ireland are reportedly forced to "beg for help" from the health system.

The Coalition of Carers Organizations demanded a new agreement from Stormont departments, health trusts, and public services in their report.

The group wants to give caregivers more opportunities for respite and support.

About 20 charities claimed that people were not given assistance until they were in serious need.

The Department of Health said in a statement to BBC News Northern Ireland that "the department is continuing to find ways to provide support to carers, where we can, even though the current budgetary position remains extremely challenging.". ".

According to Carers NI, more than 220,000 people—or one in every eight people—provide unpaid care for a sick or disabled family member or friend in Northern Ireland.

More than 240 unpaid carers testified for the report, and it stated that many of them were nearing "breaking point due to a postcode lottery of support.".

According to the report, services "fail" or "aren't meeting" the needs of caregivers.

According to Barbara Morrow, who has two autistic children, the people who are supposed to support her are making it "unnecessarily difficult" to care for her children.

She claimed that the situation she was in was one in which there was a "clear lack of medical care, financial support, or any form of government or public recognition.".

The County Down resident Ms. Morrow added that raising her children has been "a fight" in every way and is "a tiring way to live.".

She continued by mentioning how "lonely" caring for others could be.

The coalition group's chair, Craig Harrison, said it is all too common for caregivers of all ages and backgrounds to feel "badly let down" by Stormont and public services.

Woman carer and senior at home
In Northern Ireland, more than 220,000 people give unpaid care to a sick or disabled family member or friend.

Caregivers, he claimed, are expected to "quietly prop up the health and social care system with little to no support" despite saving the government billions of pounds annually.

Caregivers "give so much and shouldn't be asked to sacrifice their own wellbeing, live in poverty, and forgo any sort of quality of life in return," according to Mr. Harrison, the report's author.

He continued, "Our unpaid carers need a new deal from Stormont to address the issues they face and provide the assistance they sorely need, not just in the areas of welfare, housing, and employment, but also in the areas of health and social care. ".

According to the report, it is crucial to create effective community care packages and to treat caregivers as knowledgeable partners.

It emphasizes the need to protect a caregiver's health and wellbeing and to alleviate any financial hardship.

A number of recommendations are made in the report:.

  • to raise the pay, benefits, and working conditions for social workers.
  • establishing a regional carers' register and providing relevant public sector employees with training on how to recognize carers and add them to the register.
  • for unpaid caregivers to be treated as knowledgeable partners in the care of the person they are caring for by health and social care organizations.
  • more accommodating work environments from employers for caregivers.
  • legislation to grant working carers the right to request flexible work schedules.
  • to restructure and finance the provision of suitable social housing and facilities for those who are ill or disabled as well as their caregivers.

According to a statement from the Department of Health, the agency "acknowledges the vital role played by carers in our society and is committed to raising awareness of the position and ensuring carers continue to be supported and valued.".

But it went on to say that it "has not yet been able to allocate the necessary resources to review and update the Carers Strategy" because of "significant budgetary challenges.".

It was noted that in March 2021, Robin Swann, a former minister of health, established the Support for Carers Fund in "recognition of the challenges facing carers.".

According to the department, more than 100 projects to aid and support unpaid carers in our community have received about £4 million over the course of the fund's existence.

The department referred to the most recent funding round, which closed on March 13, as the "fourth and final round" from the £4 million fund.

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