The vast majority of help, care and support of older and/or disabled people and people with long-term conditions in Europe is carried out by family members (especially spouses and adult children- mainly daughters) and by neighbours and friends.
However, the vital role played by these ‘informal’ carers (hereafter ‘carers’) is still not widely recognized in all Member States (MS), even though recent EU policy on long term care (LTC) recognized that it is crucial that carers are valued and fully supported in their role if current societal challenges - ageing demographic trends and fiscal constraints – are to be addressed. Further research is urgently needed at pan-European and national level to help build a comprehensive, up to date picture of carers’ situation. This knowledge base will be critical in informing policy in all areas affecting carers, especially in health, social policy, education, employment, social security, transport and housing. It will also help to inform evidence based practice within MS concerning direct support services for carers and in ensuring all aspects of health and social care services are supportive of carers.
This background provided the impetus and rationale for establishing a Eurocarers Research Working Group (ERWG) whose inaugural ‘face to face’ meeting was held on April 22nd 2015 in Dublin. The Group which consists of Eurocarers’ research members and carer organization members actively involved in research, agreed that an important initial task of the group was to reach consensus on its current research priorities in the area of carers, care and caring at the European level. The Eurocarers’ Research Priorities document was presented, discussed and agreed at the Eurocarers AGM on September 3rd 2015 in Gothenburg.
The overall aims of the Eurocarers’ Research Priorities document are to:
- Identify and reach consensus on current research priorities, including gaps in knowledge and scientific challenges within care, carers and caring in Europe;
- Act as a catalyst for more cohesive and strategic collaborative work by Eurocarers’ members within the identified prioritised areas;
- Facilitate the work of Eurocarers as an organization, enabling it to work proactively and influence the wider EU-level research agenda in the areas of care, carers and caring , for example, the Horizon 2020 programme;
- Build knowledge and strengthen research on care, carers and caring in Europe in order to help inform EU policy decision-making;
- Feed into the definition of evidence-based policy recommendations supporting the role and added value of carers;
- Inform evidence-based practice in the areas of care, carers and caring within Member States.
To access Eurocarers' Research Priorities Document, please click here.
A 4-pager outlining our priorities is also available here