Unpaid caregivers in Northern Ireland must "beg for help" from the health service, according to a group representing unpaid caregivers.
In its report, the Coalition of Carers Organisations urged Stormont departments, health trusts, and public services to negotiate a new agreement. The group desires more respite and support options for caregivers. Approximately 20 charities reported that individuals are not offered assistance until they are in crisis.
In a statement to sources, the Department of Health stated that despite the fact that the current budgetary situation remains extremely difficult, the department will continue to find methods to support caregivers. According to Carers NI, more than 220,000 individuals in Northern Ireland provide unpaid care for a sick or disabled family member or friend. This represents one in eight people.
More than 240 unpaid caregivers were interviewed for the report, which stated that many of those caring for ill loved ones were reaching "breaking point due to a postcode lottery of support." It was stated that services for caregivers were either "failing" or "not meeting" their requirements.
Barbara Morrow told sources in Northern Ireland that those who are supposed to provide support are making caring for her two autistic children unnecessarily difficult. She stated that there is a distinct dearth of medical care, financial assistance, and any form of government or public recognition for the situation in which she finds herself.
Ms. Morrow, a resident of County Down, stated that every aspect of her children's care has been a "battle" and is "exhausting" She added that being a caregiver could be "lonely."
Craig Harrison, the chair of the coalition group, stated that Stormont and public services "badly let down" caregivers of all ages and origins all too frequently. Caregivers, who save the government billions of pounds annually, are expected to "quietly prop up the health and social care system with little support," he said.
The report's author, Mr. Harrison, stated that caregivers "give so much and should not be expected to sacrifice their own well-being, live in poverty, and forego any quality of life in return."
He added that Their unpaid carers require a new deal from Stormont to meet the challenges they confront and provide the support they so desperately require, not only in the realm of health and social care, but also in the realms of welfare, housing, and employment.
According to the report, it is crucial to design effective community care packages and to consider caregivers as expert partners. It emphasizes that a caregiver's health and wellbeing, as well as any financial hardship, must be protected.
The report makes a number of recommendations, including one to improve the pay and terms and conditions of social care workers, to establish a regional carers' register and training for all health, social care, and relevant public sector staff on identifying carers and adding them to the register, to require health and social care bodies to treat unpaid carers as expert partners in the care of the individual they look after and to require employers to create more carer-friendly workplace cultures.