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    Promoting a ‘Think Carer’ approach in Primary Care/General Practice

    Cronin, Mary (2023) Promoting a ‘Think Carer’ approach in Primary Care/General Practice. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Background: Family carers are known to experience negative consequences to their health and well-being, but despite this, they report having little or no formal health care support. International literature suggests that General Practitioners (GPs) have a critical role to play in the identification and support of family carers, although there are clear gaps in knowledge, awareness, and the provision of appropriate resources and training. Aims: The principal aim of this multi-stage, sequential mixed methods research was to address important policy goals concerning the health and well-being of family carers in Ireland, with a specific focus on how they can be better supported by GPs. Method: The research involved: (1) a national survey of family carers (N=132) and in-depth interviews with family carers and GPs (N=10) (Study 1); (2) a scoping review of the international literature to inform the development of guidelines or ‘Practice Points’ for GPs (Study 2); and (3) the development and pilot testing of educational resources for both GPs and carers (Study 3). Results: Study One findings suggest that although family carers were experiencing high levels of psychological distress, they were rarely asked about their own well-being and were reluctant to seek help or to discuss the impact of caring on their own health. GPs, although sympathetic to family carers, were uncertain regarding their role (if any) in supporting them. The lack of appropriate resources and information were significant barriers to carer identification and support in primary care. Study Two, based on an initial review of approximately 4000 papers from across the world (35 of which met the criteria for inclusion), involved a critical synthesis of key strategies for the identification, assessment, and support of carers in primary care. The findings, which are applicable across diverse caring roles, are useful in informing and guiding current policy and practice in this area. Study Three, completed in collaboration with Family Carers Ireland and a PPI panel of carers, involved the development of guidelines or ‘Practice Points’ for GPs, as well as the co-design, co-delivery, and pilot testing of workshops for GPs and family carers respectively. Conclusion: This timely and important research represents a valuable contribution to the international literature on the identification and support of family carers in general practice/primary care. Crucially, the collective findings increase awareness of the health and well-being needs of family carers, whilst also helping to improve the ways in which they can be better identified and supported, both in Ireland and elsewhere. Additionally, the project outputs provide useful, accessible, and practical evidence-based resources for both GPs and family carers alike. A number of recommendations for policy and practice are highlighted, as well as directions for future research.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Promoting; Think Carer; approach; Primary Care; General Practice;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Psychology
    Item ID: 18626
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2024 13:17
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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