Some recent research projects include:
The Australian Institute of Family Studies conducted telephone surveys with 2,126 primary carers receiving Centrelink carer payments or allowances. The findings were published in the 2008 report The Nature and Impact of Caring for Family Members with a Disability in Australia
The study found that:
- Carers have significantly worse mental health, worse vitality and higher rates of depression than the general population.
- The risk of experiencing a first depressive episode was greatest in the first year of caring so early intensive interventions and supports are important during that time, followed by regular monitoring.
- Twice as many carers were in poor physical health than the general population.
- Higher rates of poor physical health were associated with caring for a person with high care needs or more than one person with a disability.
The Deakin University Australian Unity Wellbeing Index Survey 2007, The Wellbeing of Australians – Carer Health and Wellbeing, involved sending 11,200 questionnaires to carers registered with Carers Associations in each state (Carers SA) with 4,107 returned.
This research found that carers had the lowest collective wellbeing of any group yet surveyed with more than a third found to be experiencing severe or extreme depression and/or stress. Carers were also more than twice as likely as non-carers to experience chronic pain.
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Family, Community, Housing and Youth conducted nation-wide consultations with consumers, service providers and other interested parties. Who Cares …? Report on the inquiry into better support for carers
was tabled in Parliament in 2009.
- a preventative health approach focusing on the carer
- regular medical check ups for carers
- early referral to support programs including psychological, counselling and other support services
- acknowledgement of critical transition points such as the commencement of caring, changes in levels of care required or changes in family relationships.
The 2010 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report Primary carers of people with arthritis and osteoporosis
compiled information from the 2003 ABS survey of disability, ageing and carers and other research.
Seventy percent of primary carers were found to have a long-term health condition, disease or disorder that lasted or was likely to last at least six months. The most commonly reported conditions being musculoskeletal conditions, hypertension, migraine and diabetes. Carers also reported sleep interruptions, fatigue, anxiety, depression and financial hardship.
The Medical Journal of Australia
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners