Little is known about those employed to support family carers of disabled people or those with long-term care needs. The term ‘carer’ is used in England to refer to family members and others who provide unpaid regular and substantial support to adults with disabilities, including older people and others unable to live independently.
Among the wider social care workforce, some staff are employed to provide support for these carers, but little is known about the composition and characteristics of this group of staff. The findings reported in this article are derived from a quantitative secondary analysis of the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC; n = 499 034), which collects data from social care employers and reports to Skills for Care. This data set includes information about the characteristics of the workforce employed to support carers and the organisations that employ them to do so.
Our analysis showed that this support workforce is mostly female, with a large number of part-time employees who are based in organisations with significantly higher turnover and vacancy rates than other organisations which provide social care. Staff who support family carers appear to be better qualified and to have long experience within the care sector than other social care workers. From these findings we conclude that this support workforce may be affected by staff shortages themselves and that high staff turnover rates may undermine the continuity of support given to family carers, leading to problems for existing staff. We argue that developing the potential of social care staff to support family carers requires specific attention from social care employers and policymakers.
Hussein, S. and Manthorpe, J. (2012) The diversity of staff supporting family carers in England: findings from an analysis of a national data set. Diversity & Equality in Health and Care, 9 (2): 101-111.
Founder and Director
Shereen Hussein is a Health and Social Care Policy professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), United Kingdom.
Shereen Founded the MENARAH Network in 2019, through an initial grant from the Global Challenge Research Fund, UKRI. She is a medical demographer with expertise in ageing, family dynamics, migration and long-term care systems. Shereen regularly collaborates with the United Nations, the World Health Organisation and the World Bank in policy and research focused on ageing in the Middle East and North Africa Region.
Shereen received her undergraduate degree in statistics and a postgraduate degree in computer science at Cairo University. She completed an MSc in medical demography at the London School of Hygiene and a PhD in quantitative demography and population studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom.