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Healthwatch Essex research report: ‘Exploring the lived experience of carers in South Essex’

“You really do give up your own life once you become a full time carer.”

Healthwatch Essex has launched the findings of its research study to uncover the lived experience of carers in Essex.

Carers taking part in the study were asked to keep an audio diary – completing a 10-minute update every day for two weeks. This was followed by a one-on-one interview, some of which were filmed. They also held a focus group to gather the experiences of young people who care for a sibling.

All the carers they spoke to expressed a wish that they be listened to so that their needs can be understood and provided for. The study shows that support for carers needs to be personalised and targeted – what helps some carers, like a carer support group for example, may not be helpful others.

What came across strongly was the carer’s knowledge and expertise about the condition and needs of the person being cared for. Carers expressed the need for health and care professionals to recognise this and to view the carer and the person being cared for as ‘partners in care’. 

Find the full report, and a summary of the key findings and recommendations, at healthwatchessex.org.uk/carers