On-line information and registration with services: patterns of support for carers in England

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Purpose

The paper aims to ascertain how local authorities and other services are responding to central government strategies to make support for family carers a priority.

Design/methodology/approach

A web-based audit of local authority public information for carers was undertaken (n=50). The sample covered different parts of England and different local authority types.

Findings

A small minority of local authority web sites mention that they operated Carers’ Registers. Overall local authorities offer different resources to carers, ranging from discounts in the local area to access to emergency card registration. Some use online information as a communication channel. Overall local authority online information for carers seems to be variable in quality, accessibility and purpose. We conclude that growth in the collection of information by primary care services in England risks duplicating some of the functions of, and problems with, local authority activities. Local commissioning should minimise confusion and make optimal use of carers’ information. Carers should not have to navigate confusing, variable, parallel systems and outreach is needed for those who do not use electronic media, such as some older carers.

Research limitations/implications

This was a small-scale study nested within a larger project. It is possible that the web sites we interrogated were atypical, although we did take steps to prevent this.

Originality/value

The study’s strength lies in its originality of approach undertaking a specific audit of material that is publicly available and reflecting on a subject that has not previously been explored in the context of information for carers.

Manthorpe, J., Moriarty, J., Cornes, M., Hussein, S. and Lombard, D. (2013) On-line information and registration with services: patterns of support for carers in England. Working with Older People, 17 (3): 117-124.

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Professor of Health and Social Care Policy, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK

Professor Shereen Hussein is a Professor of Health and Social Care Policy at the Department of Health Services Research and Policy (HSRP) at the LSHTM. She is a Co-Director of the PRUComm policy research unit. She is also an Honorary Professor at the University of Kent and King’s College London in the UK and the University of Southern Queensland in Australia.

Shereen is a demographer with expertise in labour-migration, sociology and economics. Her primary research revolves around ageing, family dynamics, migration and long-term care. Shereen has previously worked with the United Nations, the Population Council, the World Bank, and the League of Arab States. Her current research focuses on ageing demographics, long term care demand and migration within the UK and Europe and the implications on policy and practice.

Shereen has conducted extensive research on population ageing and impact on long term care and health policy and practices in the UK, internationally and in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She has contributed to recent United Nations’ policy response to ageing in the region through collaboration with UN-ESCWA and directly providing expert consultations to several countries in the region including Turkey, Oman and Egypt. Shereen leads many large research projects on ageing and long-term care in the UK and contributes to a large project addressing responses to dementia in developing countries STRiDE. Shereen is the founder and lead of the MENARAH network.