Support woefully inadequate for the ‘Forgotten Community’ of carers, says RedArc
RedArc has identified a key group that is at risk of being forgotten under traditional healthcare and protection policies. Typically, those that will make use of policies such as Group Risk and private medical insurance (PMI) will be the person diagnosed with a primary health condition. While such support may be crucial to this group, those around them often also need help, and this need can easily go unnoticed.
6.5 million people in the UK are carers with the figure expected to rise significantly. RedArc calls them the ‘Forgotten Community’ and is calling on providers, intermediaries and employers to recognise that this group also needs access to support.
Traditional routes for healthcare rarely incorporate support processes for carers: the NHS is increasingly squeezed and private cover tends to prioritise the primary patient. Carers often need ongoing help from someone specially trained who understands their particular needs.
Christine Husbands, managing director for RedArc says, ‘The business case is clear, every employer is likely to have employees who are also carers, many of them will try to juggle their day job with caring commitments. There is very specific support that this group needs which takes into account their mental health as well as their physical wellbeing. When they get the right help they are better able to cope with other aspects of their own life including their work.’
Typical feelings this group will have include isolation, inability to cope, loss of confidence, frustration and guilt; these can affect their personal life as well as their working life. RedArc regularly sees carers affected, from those looking after everyday situations through to those dealing with catastrophic changes, such as a dependant suffering a stroke.
Support can include talking therapies such as counselling, through to practical support such as arranging respite care, although often the most important thing is having someone who has plenty of time to listen to their thoughts and feelings.
RedArc is urging employers to investigate the support that is available, either directly or increasingly within protection products such as Group Risk and Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs). The company would also like to see more insurers look at how they can enhance their services in this way, some have been quicker than others to incorporate such additional services to support their offering and have found their propositions greatly enhanced, utilised and valued.
Christine Husbands, continues, ‘The “Forgotten Community” of carers does not need to suffer in silence. With the sandwich generation, many more people are now carers in some capacity, support is available from specialist organisations who understand their situation and it’s important that it’s made available from insurers and accessible to employees.
‘The results we have seen from the provision of our support have been fantastic: enabling people to get on with their lives and work commitments knowing they have us on hand to help.’