Carer-reported quality of life
According to the 2011 census, there are around 6.5 million carers in the UK providing unpaid care for ill, older or disabled family members and friends (Carers UK, 2013). With an ageing population and people living longer with one or more chronic conditions, this number is expected to increase rapidly. The pressures of caring can have a negative impact on carers' physical and mental health, and can affect their finances and ability to work.
The Government implemented the Care Act 2014 which recognised carers in the law in the same way as those they care for. The Act gave local authorities the responsibility to assess a carer's need for support, and if eligible they are entitled to receive that support. This indicator gives an overarching view of the quality of life of carers based on responses to the Survey of Adult Carers in England.
The carer-reported quality of life score is a composite measure which combines individual responses to six questions, measuring different outcomes related to overall quality of life. The six questions, drawn from the Survey of Adult Carers in England, are:
- Which of the following statements best describes how you spend your time?
- Which of the following statements best describes how much control you have over your daily life?
- Thinking about how much time you have to look after yourself in terms of getting enough sleep or eating well – which statement best describes your present situation?
- Thinking about your personal safety, which of the statements best describes your present situation?
- Thinking about how much social contact you’ve had with people you like, which of the following statements best describes your social situation?
- Thinking about encouragement and support in your caring role, which of the following statements best describes your present situation?
Each of the questions has three possible answers, which are equated with having: no unmet needs, some needs met, and no needs met. A score of zero for a respondent would indicate a high level of need in each of the domains and a low quality of life score. Conversely, a (maximum) score of 12 would indicate no unmet needs and a high quality of life score.
Any respondents who failed to answer any of the six questions were excluded from the analysis. This measure forms section 1D of the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework.