Supporting carers

Across the UK, almost 1.5 million people look after someone with cancer, yet half of them don’t receive any support. Many people who look after someone with cancer don’t see themselves as a carer, so don’t know that there is help available.

Caring for someone with cancer can affect people’s own health, mental well-being, working life and relationships. Lack of support to care can lead to an increased need for health and social care services, for the carer and the person they’re caring for. Carers most commonly present in health settings.

This means you, your teams and colleagues are ideally placed to identify carers and signpost them to support.

Under the new Care Act, health bodies are required to work together with local authorities to identify carers with unmet needs.

We know that it isn’t always easy to identify carers and with the demands of work, it can be difficult for professionals to find time to support them. However, you can make sure your services are carer-friendly by ensuring staff are aware of the need to identify and support carers and by having simple identification and signposting steps in place.

Information for professionals to order for carers can be found on be.Macmillan.

We have also designed the following downloadable information sheets to help you take practical steps to implement our guidance and ensure that carers are identified and supported:

Our latest report

There are nearly 1.5 million cancer carers in the UK. 1 in 10 are caring for a parent with cancer – and have children living at home. Under pressure – the growing strain on cancer carers [PDF] reveals who these carers are, what they do and highlights the challenges they face.

Under pressure: The growing strain on cancer carers [PDF]

Primary care

There are almost 1.5 million carers in the UK supporting someone living with cancer and the consequences of its treatment. More than half of these carers don’t get any support at all to care. As carers most commonly present in health settings, we know that health professionals have a vital role to play in identifying cancer carers and signposting them to support – but only 1 in 5 say they currently do this.

To support health professionals working in primary care we have a 10 top tips for supporting the carers of people with cancer [PDF]. And with the support of Macmillan’s community of GPs we’ve developed a Macmillan Minute [PDF] to support you in identifying and signposting cancer carers quickly and easily. It gives hints and tips on how to identify hidden carers, maximising your carers register and where to signpost carers for support.