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An exploration of the experiences of support for informal adult carers of individuals with substance use issues in North East Scotland.

Munro, Mary

Authors

Mary Munro



Contributors

Catherine Paterson
Supervisor

Abstract

Informal carers provide unpaid support to an individual, usually a family member. The care and support which they provide has been shown to provide positive effects to the individual they support. However, this role may impact on the informal carer, often on their psychosocial wellbeing. Although there have been efforts to address the needs and experiences of informal carers as a population group in general, little research has been conducted to explore the experiences of informal carers of individuals with substance use issues. Substance use issues have increasingly become a focus for public health and government policy in the United Kingdom (UK). Informal carers provide support to over one million individuals with substance use issues every day. Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to illuminate the experiences of informal carers with a focus on their experiences of support services, and their preferences for support. Eight qualitative semi-structured interviews with informal carers were conducted between May 2018 and July 2018, in order to explore and understand their role and experiences of the support they receive. Thematic analysis was conducted to illuminate the experiences of support for the participants. Informal carers described both positive and negative experiences from their caring role. They described that often there was little to no choice in becoming an informal carer, and often no support. No informal carers were offered any form of carers assessment, nor were they offered any practical support such as financial aid or respite. The informal carers role often left participants feeling lonely and isolated. Specific carer groups for individuals with substance use were deemed to be helpful, as this allowed individuals to discuss their situations, feelings and experiences with others who understood and had similar experiences. Informal carers move from informal to formal support often over a long period of time as they come to terms with the substance use issues of their loved one and usually at a point of crisis. Informal carers in this study reported a need for understanding from others, wanting to be valued in their caring role, included in discussions and decisions and, importantly, wanting to not feel judged by others.

Thesis Type Thesis
Institution Citation MUNRO, M. 2019. An exploration of the experiences of support for informal adult carers of individuals with substance use issues in North East Scotland. Robert Gordon University [online], MRes thesis. Available from: https://openair.rgu.ac.uk
Keywords Caregivers; Carers; Carers of patients with substance abuse issues; Informal carers; Informal caregivers; Family carers Family caregivers

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Copyright Statement
Copyright: the author and Robert Gordon University





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