Family carers provide vital support for patients with cancer towards the end of their life, particularly to help them to remain at home. Currently only 22% of people die at home, yet up to 74% of people say they would prefer to die at home. Family care is vital in making this happen.
Our work with Dimbleby Cancer Care aims to uncover the contribution, costs and economic value of family caregiving. The next step in this work is a national postal survey, which will be sent at the end of September 2015 to 5,000 bereaved family cancer carers from across England.
Our work aims to understand the full costs of family care because at present, little is known and it remains almost ‘invisible’ in current policy. We hope that through raising awareness, our work will help policymakers to better understand the contribution of family carers and raise their profile with service providers and commissioners.
The survey has been developed in collaboration with carers across Manchester who gave up their time to test and pilot the survey at different stages. Local carers have made an invaluable contribution to the content and format of the survey. We would like to say a huge thank you to St Ann’s Hospice, Salford Carers Centre, Bury Carers Centre, MacMillan Cancer Information Centre and the Research Partners Forum at Lancaster University for helping us connect with carers: this work would not have been possible without their vital input.