A Brief Manifesto for Carers

The rights and support for caregivers, despite their important responsibilities, are frequently neglected. These proposals are intended to form the basis of a proclamation to ensure that their work is recognised and their rights properly met. They are not intended to interfere in any way with legislation or existing good practices. Their aim is to provide brief pointers for evaluating the overall quality of support being made available to caregivers.

Carers, despite the important responsibilities and tasks which they are expected to undertake, are among the most hidden and neglected groups of citizens in modern societies. The following proposals are intended to form the basis of a general proclamation to ensure that their work is better recognised and their rights properly met. They are not intended to replace or interfere with national laws or regulations. Their aim is to provide brief pointers for evaluating and improving the overall quality of support being made available to carers.

  • The various roles undertaken by carers deserve full acknowledgement and suitable support packages from local authorities, social work services, national and local health sectors, and government departments.
  • Carers should always be supplied with appropriate information and documentation concerning official, local and legislative matters which relate to their rights and entitlements including those pertaining to personal assistance, social and health support, and financial benefits.
  • The ‘voice’ of carers should be listened to and receive close attention and consideration. It is essential that there are efficient methods of ascertaining, and responding to, carers’ views and evaluations across the full range of aid and assistance.
  • Good practice necessitates that unpaid carers of all ages have individualised ‘adult carer support plans’[1] or ‘young person statements’ which address their personal, psychological, economic and social needs. The quality of planning should be of a high standard and clearly record the help which will be made available. The contents of plans and statements will be agreed and fully implemented through positive and efficient collaboration involving, as appropriate, professionals, voluntary agencies and other key persons.
  • All carers should have open admittance to good medical provision, including relevant resources relating to mental health. Codes of practice should ensure that they are not overburdened or unduly distressed. If required, unpaid carers ought to have access to respite provision and suitable recreational breaks.
  • Services should operate within an integrated and empathetic network which has a well-defined focus on the welfare and wellbeing of both cared-for persons and their carers. If appropriate, and with due regard to confidentiality and the right to information, carers will be provided with up-to-date copies of the support and planning arrangements of those for whom they have responsibilities.
  • At both local and national levels, carers ought to be able to obtain access to relevant advice, guidance and training applicable to the duties and tasks which they are expected to carry out.
  • Well-judged procedures should be in place, and consistently monitored, to assist young carers and young adult carers at all stages of education and training. These should include arrangements relating to counselling and advocacy, health and wellbeing, funding and progress during their time at school, vocational training, and further and higher education.
  • Professional/paid carers should have payments, expenses, conditions of employment and holiday arrangements on a par with those undertaking equivalent work in national health services.

[1] The terms ‘adult carer support plan’ and ‘young carer statement’ are used in Scotland. Other nomenclature may apply across nations.

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