evidence and practice
Assessing the needs of young carers and young adult carers in a south west London borough
Julia Waters Public health principal, Healthy and Safe Kingston, Communities Directorate, The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, London, England
A knowledge gap was identified in the Kingston Carers’ 2016 Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) regarding the health, finance, employment, housing, relationships and social isolation needs of young carers and young adult carers.
A formal prioritisation process considered the scale of the potential number of hidden carers aged 5-24, impact of caring on educational and employment opportunities and on physical and emotional health, correlation between deprivation and families with young carers and young adult carers, evidence of positive outcomes produced by implementation of a JSNA’s recommendations (namely improved identification, whole family assessments, and interventions), hearing young carers’ and young adult carers’ voices, returns from investing in this population group, and ethical and community interest produced by intelligence on the extent to which care provided is inappropriate or excessive.
Following the review of the literature, the network proposed that the area’s JSNA should include an assessment to improve the identification of and support for this population. The local JSNA working group approved this proposal. Focus groups and semi-structured surveys were undertaken with young carers and young adult carers. Semi-structured surveys were also sent to local primary, secondary, special and independent schools. Semi-structured interviews took place with parents of young carers and with professionals across healthcare, schools, children’s social care and adults’ social care and voluntary organisations.
The assessment found that adequate and reasonable steps were not being taken to meet the statutory duties of identifying and assessing young carers and young adult carers. NHS services, education and social care providers should use this opportunity to better identify, assess and support local young carers and young adult carers.
Primary Health Care. 29, 3, 18-27. doi: 10.7748/phc.2019.e1518Correspondence
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