Information for carers
We provide a high-quality work environment and recognise and respond to the needs of our staff and students, including those with carer responsibilities.
At least one in 10 New Zealanders is a carer, which means many of our staff and students are carers.
Carers are people who care for friends, family, whānau and aiga members with a disability, health condition or illness who need help with everyday living.
The care role is often hidden in families and communities, in part because many consider it to be just “what families do”.
Studies overseas have shown that one in eight workers are carers and about 25% of them give up work to care full time.
Young people make up 8% of carers. Many of these young people struggle with or drop out of study for reasons associated with their caring role.
Managers of staff who are carers
Nationally, the majority of carers are of prime working age, 35-64 years of age. Managers can support our staff who are carers with the following practices:
- Approve carers to have flexible working arrangements including flexible hours and working from home when needed.
- Support carers to attend medical and other appointments with the person they support, using their sick leave or time in lieu.
- Discuss the carers role and plan together what will happen if there is an emergency or their caring responsibilities increase.
- Encourage carers to get support and advice from professional services and organisations, eg Carers NZ
Toolkit for staff Carers
This is designed to provide practical information and resources for staff with Carer responsibilities and their colleagues and managers.
Supporting staff who have elderly relatives
Staff carers video
Director of Staff Equity, Prue Toft, discusses what a Carer is and how staff and their managers have used equity policies such as the Flexible Work Policy to combine both work and Carer responsibilities.
Toolkit for student Carers
This is designed to provide practical information and resources for students with Carer responsibilities. It also provides advice based on the direct experience of Carers at the University of Auckland.
Young carers video
Lauren Hitchin (Donnan) describes herself as a “young Carer” and says “I didn’t even discover that I was one until last year.” This is a significant issue with young Carers because their responsibilities can be “invisible” and even hidden from the young Carers themselves. Lauren says that if the role is hidden it can be a barrier to accessing the services and resources that they need for support. Caring for her brother was something that she had done “naturally” since she was 14 years of age.
Caring responsibilities can not only affect a young Carer’s education, social activities and working life, but it can also be challenging having to explain these personal circumstances. At times this can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. However, Lauren sees huge benefits in taking on a caring role. “You can achieve something to be proud of.” It gives a greater maturity, can enhance family relationships, and can be a very rewarding experience, providing there is the right support and services.
Podcast on palliative care to be released
Dr Jackie Robinson, Service Lead Clinician at Auckland City Hospital Palliative Care Service will be releasing a podcast about her latest research, which was outlined in a recent University event.
Entitled People’s experiences of the acute hospital as a place to receive palliative care, it will be made available on the Te Arai Research Group blog.
Dr Robinson’s podcast will explore the benefits and burdens of hospitalisation for people with palliative care needs and how their experiences influence their preference to return to hospital.
Her research has found that for patients, the benefits of being in hospital extend beyond treatment to include:
- getting/feeling better
- relief for the family
- getting help to manage at home
- feeling safe.
Other findings will centre on the experience of people living in high deprivation as well as cultural perceptions of burden and benefit. The podcast will also reflect on the risks of developing models of care not in line with the preferences/ experiences of people with palliative care needs as well as share her perspective on what further research is needed.
Listen to the podcast on the Te Arai Research Group blog.
Equity policies relevant to carers
Resources for carers
Carers NZ, IHC, and others have partnered to assist Carers and people living alone through COVID-19.
A national not-for-profit supporting a network of approximately 50,000 individual Carers and supporting organisations. Its website is a one-stop information resource for New Zealand carers featuring carer services, community information and a free carer infopack. Subscribe to the Carers NZ Newsletter by emailing them.
New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing
Carers NZ has secured a Consumer Leadership Development Grant to support carers who wish to gain recognition for their skills, and study to improve the support they provide. It is working in partnership with Careerforce to help carers achieve NZ-industry-recognised qualifications at no financial cost. There are 10 places available. For more information, phone Carers NZ, 0800 777 797.
Young Carers Facebook page – Help for Kiwi kids and young people who support ill, elderly, or disabled loved ones.