Health services are ideally positioned to identify if a young person is caring for the patient under their care

Boy hand on head

Young carers face multiple vulnerabilities as a result of their caring including detrimental impacts upon their own health and well-being. Health professionals are ideally positioned to identify if a child or young person is providing care for the patient under their care and can prevent them from suffering long term and persistent issues.

Risks facing young carers

  • Becoming ill themselves or suffering an injury when lifting or dressing someone - young carers providing over 50 hours of care a week are up to five times more likely to report their general health as ‘not good’ - National Bureau of Statistics 2011 census
  • Developing emotional problems of their own - 38% of young adult carers reported having mental health problems - Carers Trust survey
  • Boys under the age of 24 who are young carers are twice as likely as their peers to report ‘not good health’ and girls are over 2.5 times as likely to report ‘not good health’ - National Bureau of Statistics 2011 census
  • In one local authority they found that 11% of young carers had sustained an injury due to their caring role with less than half having told their GP they were caring for anyone. 35% said they thought their health had worsened due to their caring role, while 35% also experienced the symptoms of an eating disorder - Young Carers health survey report 2013.

 

Tools for health professionals

NHS England and its partners have developed a toolkit to help health and social care organisations work together in identifying, assessing and supporting the wellbeing of carers and their families.

This toolkit covers duties for  NHS organisations brought about by the Care Act 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014, and includes numerous examples of positive practice to make a difference for carers and their families, including young carers.

Professionals factsheet 'Young Carers: Information for healthcare professionals' to go alongside 'Supporting young carers and their families' booklet.

A toolkit for GP’s and health professionals

Our GP and Health Professionals Pack contains a letter to general practice staff with advice about using the pack in the surgery, a guide for supporting, identifying and signposting young carers, posters for the waiting room and staffroom, and a booklet for young carers.

School nurses

  • School Nurse Pathway - Our school nurse pathway has been designed in partnership with the Department of Health, Carers Trust and Department for Education to help guide school nurses to the right support for young carers.
  • School Nurse Website - A website to raise awareness of young carers and provide advice and guidance to school nurses developed by the Royal College of Nursing. It explains who young carers are and what school nurses can do, not only as part of Universal Support, but also as part of Universal Plus and Universal Partnership Plus. There are also further resources and websites that school nurses may find useful.
  • Carers Toolkit - This NHS toolkit covers duties on NHS organisations brought about by the Care Act 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014. It includes numerous examples of positive practice that are already making a difference to carers, including young carers, and their families.
  • Queens Nursing Institute Carers Resource Project - The QNI has developed three free online resources to support nurses who work with carers. One specifically developed for Nurses working in General Practice, to enable them to work effectively with carers who are supporting friends or family, including young carers. One specifically for School Nurses, exploring their role in identification, support and wellbeing of young carers and one for Community Nurses to enable effective identification, assessment and support of carers, including young carers.
  • Supporting Carers in General Practice - Royal College of General Practitioners have also created a useful e-learning module. This module provides information and guidance for GPs and other community healthcare professionals to enable them to build carer involvement and support into their everyday practice.

Other resources

The Department of Health produced a fact sheet for Head Teachers and Governors and for health and social care professionals which outline facts and guidance that will be useful for those working with school nurses.

Well-being tools:

As part of the Young Carers in Focus programme, we worked alongside Rethink Mental Illness to create a range of tools to be used with young carers to support their emotional wellbeing and mental health:

Mental Health:

Information regarding mental health can be found below:

  • Time to change The attitudes of others can often prevent people with mental health problems getting the help and support they need. Too many people with mental health problems are made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless. Together, we want everyone to open up to mental health, to talk and to listen.
  • Triangle of care for mental health - This guide can be used across all mental health services, not only in-patient, and includes a universal self-assessment tool as well as guidance notes.