Carers Strategy Launched

Carers’ wellbeing, confidence and health are at the heart of the new National Carers Strategy. For carers in Ireland, this means recognition and acknowledgement of their role as key care partners.

The first of its kind, the Strategy is welcomed by MS Ireland and carer organisations, for its commitment in supporting carers. The Strategy’s Roadmap will introduce a series of measures with an implementation timeline for 2012 and beyond.

Carers have identified their priorities in terms of support; these are known as National Goals. The four National Goals aim to recognise the value and contribution of carers, support carers to care with confidence, support carers in managing their health and wellbeing, and empower carers to participate fully in life.

Care Alliance Ireland, who have been advocating on the issue for many years, paid tribute to those involved in putting together the Strategy. During National Carers Week 2012 Care Alliance highlighted the role of carers and called for the strategy to be published. They also organised a Dáil briefing where two carers for people with MS spoke about their experience.

Many people with MS rely on their family for care and support. Research conducted last year showed the status of MS carers:

  • 52% provide 65 hours or more of care per week
  • 37% had to leave employment because of their care duties
  • 55% need more care hours from the HSE
  • 67% provide personal care including bathing and eating
  • 58% felt their emotional well-being had suffered because of their role
  • 72% felt stressed or overwhelmed because of their role

Welcoming the publication of the National Carers’ Strategy, Minister Lynch stated that “The publication of this Strategy sends a strong message to carers that Government recognises and values their selfless hard work and compassion, which enhances the health and quality of life of thousands on a daily basis”.

Regular progress reports will be made available to chart the Strategy’s outcomes against its objectives.

The Strategy can be downloaded from the Department of Health's website.

Image: Brigid and Martin Jones. Brigid is a carer for her husband Martin who lives with MS. Brigid recently spoke to a group of TDs about her experiences of being a carer.