Adult social care in the UK denotes a diverse range of provisions for people over 18 with chronic illness, mental illness, physical disabilities or frailties in older age. Social care is largely coordinated by local government and since the 1990s there has been a marked growth in community-based social care services that are delivered to people in their homes. Unlike the National Health Service (NHS), social care provision is highly residual, and has always relied heavily on the cooperation of carers (family members and friends of people using social care services) in order to run smoothly.
This presentation will examine the experiences of carers during the Covid-19 pandemic 2020-21. It will draw on qualitative data from a study of waged and unwaged caring labour provided to people at home during lockdowns and social distancing in BCP and Dorset, which incorporated 14 in depth interviews with carers. It will be shown that the closure of health and welfare services left carers with significant additional caring work and obligations, yet also unable to access support networks. Carers’ experiences of confinement, abandonment and isolation will be examined alongside the challenges they confronted in navigating health and welfare systems and finding out about entitlement to help. It will be argued that these experiences are a particularly acute iteration of a more general pattern whereby the work performed by carers is taken for granted and made invisible. The presentation will conclude by reflecting on why it is that carers are so poorly supported in the contemporary UK social care system, despite being crucial to it.
We look forward to seeing you at the seminar
Centre for Seldom Heard Voices