Why does Carers Week matter?
National Carers Week is held every October and aims to raise community awareness among all Australians about the diversity of carers and their caring roles. It is supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. National Carers Week provides us all with a chance to acknowledge and appreciate the contribution of Australia’s 2.65 million carers. Some of these carers are providing care for some one who is in the last days or months of life.
How can we support carers caring for someone at the end of life?
The starting point is to recognise the caring they do. A person living with a terminal illness not only needs the support of a health care team, but they also need the support of their family and friends. Without a carer or a carer network many people will not be able to stay at home and have the comfort of being with the people who matter to them and living in the place in which they feel most comfortable and secure.
To be able to continue caring, carers need helpful advice and resources including information about death and dying and about grief, loss, and bereavement as well. They also need support from family and friends, and time out to help them cope with the demands of caring. CarerHelp provides information for carers who are caring for someone coming to the end of their life.
How did CarerHelp develop its resources?
To develop CarerHelp, the project team scanned the internet for trustworthy and relevant resources and services. They completed a literature review on what mattered to carers who are looking after someone with palliative care needs. And they spoke with carers who have experienced the reality of caring at the end of life. Discussions were also held with carer advocates and organisations from across Australia on what information and support is needed by carers. Based on this research, the team developed online resources, which were tested with carers as well as by palliative care experts.
How do carers know if they can trust the resources?
Carers learn quickly that they need to be able to judge the quality of the advice being provided in magazines, online and in newspapers. Making sure that the information comes from a reputable source, is current, and based on evidence are critical. HonCode and Health Direct are two important groups who help assess the quality of online information. CarerHelp is registered with both HONCode and HealthDirect.
The Department of Health has funded CarerHelp to provide current and trustworthy advice and resources. Carer Gateway includes CarerHelp as a resource in its information on Planning for the end of life and Carers Australia has been involved in developing CarerHelp and the information kit for developed for specialist palliative care services.
CarerHelp is a trustworthy resource for carers and part of the caring network for carers and families caring for someone at the end of life.