Improving health and social care support for carers from black and minority ethnic communities

Author(s): Claire Gregory;  

Briefing series: Better Health Briefing Paper 20

Publisher: Race Equality Foundation

Publication date: September 2010

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  Improving health and social care support for carers from black and minority ethnic communities
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This briefing paper draws attention to the experience of black and minority ethnic carers in the context of mainstream service provision and recent policy developments such as the National Carers Strategies, service user and carer involvement and the personalisation agenda. It acknowledges that marginalisation is often a consequence of lack of support for both carers and black and minority ethnic communities in health and social care. The paper highlights the diversity of carers from these ethnic backgrounds and the multifaceted impact of discrimination.

Key messages:

  • Although support for carers generally remains inadequate, the experience of black and minority ethnic carers tends to be compounded by structural disadvantage and the marginalisation of ‘race’ equality within social policy
  • Mainstream organisations can and should be responsive to the specific needs of black and minority ethnic carers, but the low take-up of mainstream services is often attributed to the characteristics of carers rather than to institutional barriers and culturally inappropriate support
  • The black and minority ethnic voluntary sector has a key role in addressing the needs of carers from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, but it experiences marginalisation, inadequate funding and lack of strategic representation
  • Social policy acknowledges that service users and carers should be at the centre of policy development, but opportunities for meaningful participation have remained minimal for black and minority ethnic carers
  • The assumption that black and minority ethnic carers are a homogeneous group overlooks the diversity between and within communities and the ways in which ethnicity and disability intersect with other aspects of carer and service user identity.

Sections:

  • The hidden cost of caring
  • Black and minority ethnic carers: not ‘hard to reach’ but ‘easy to overlook’
  • Mainstream or separate black and minority ethnic services?
  • Service user and carer involvement in health and social care
  • Not a homogeneous group