Family Carers Ireland with CarePlus Pharmacy has today launched their CarePlus Carer of the Year and Young Carers of the Year Awards. The event took place in Dublin’s Westin Hotel and a number of past nominees including young family carers were in attendance.
The awards, sponsored by CarePlus Pharmacy, recognise the dedication of Ireland’s invisible workforce. While it was previously thought that family carers save the state €4billion per year, new figures indicate the saving to be far greater.
It is now estimated they are propping up the Irish healthcare system by an extra €6 billion per year in avoided health and social care costs. This means family carers provide an annual saving of €10 billion.*
Speaking at the launch, Catherine Cox, Head of Communications with Family Carers Ireland says, “With an ever increasing number of people providing unpaid care in the home to loved ones with demanding medical care needs, our awards are more significant than ever.”
The majority of family carers individually provide 45 hours and over of unpaid care to a loved one each week. The impact financially, socially or in terms of their own physical and mental health can be immense.
“Family carers help towards alleviating the ongoing problems within our health care system such as bed shortages, over-crowding and long waiting lists. The dedication and sacrifices made to achieve this are often overlooked and not fully understood. The awards offer an opportunity for family carers to be acknowledged in their own right.” continues Ms Cox.
Once again, the role of young carers, those under the age of 18, will be acknowledged in its own right with a separate awards category. The 2016 awards saw an unprecedented number of nominations for young carers.
At present, it is difficult to calculate the prevalence of young carers but it is anticipated that there are 56,118 young people in the 10-17 year age group providing regular unpaid care.** The different caring situations and levels of responsibility taken on by young carers also mean they are not readily identified within the role.
Commenting on their sponsorship of the awards, CEO of CarePlus, John Carroll says “As a community pharmacist, I have met so many family carers during my career and have always admired their determination and dedication to those they care for. CarePlus is delighted to partner with Family Carers Ireland, a vital life line for the family carer community.”
This year, the awards form part of Family Carers Ireland national year long ‘Share the Care’ Campaign. It is hoped the awards will also provide an opportunity for people to self-identify as carers and seek support.
The CarePlus Carer of the Year Awards will be presented in Dublin in November.
Family Carers Ireland is a merged organisation of ‘The Carers Association’ and ‘Caring for Carers’, who provide a range of supports and services for family carers and advocate fairness for carers.
For more information, images or to speak with a family carer about their caring experiences, please contact:
Catherine Cox, Head of Communications, Family Carers Ireland, 086 852 1611 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Bridget O’Dea, Purcell Masterson, 0831717950 / email@example.com
(Photography by Mark Stedman, 086 367 9394)
NOTES TO EDITOR:
* CSO’s Irish Health Survey 2015 suggests 10 percent of the population aged over 16 years are carers providing an average of 45 hours of care each week. If extrapolated out to the national population this would mean Ireland has close to 355,000 carers who conservatively save the State some €10 billion each year, based on a replacement cost of €12 p/h. If an hourly rate of €18 p/h was applied (which is the rate charged by FCI) this would equate to a replacement cost of €15 billion. Family carers who provide an average of 16 million hours of unpaid care each week save the State some €10 billion each year in avoided health and social care costs.
** The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children’ (HBSC) study 2014, published 2016 www.nuigalway.ie/hbsc. Commissioned by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, 2016.
About CarePlus Pharmacy:
The CarePlus brand is owned by Dublin-based entrepreneur John Carroll, who is also a pharmacist, and operates the Axium buying group supplying ethical and over-the-counter medicines to over 275 pharmacies in Ireland. CarePlus Pharmacy is a network of 35 franchised pharmacies, owned and managed by community pharmacists, with the aim of providing a superior pharmacy experience in a friendly local environment. The first CarePlus Pharmacy opened in February 2015 and the group continues to grow and is opening in key towns around Ireland. For further information on CarePlus Pharmacy, visit www.careplus.ie.