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Family carers facing ‘exhaustion and burnout’ due to lack of support, charity warns

by Craig Harrison 12 May 2022

People providing unpaid care for sick and disabled loved ones in Northern Ireland are facing ‘exhaustion and burnout’ because support services have not returned to pre-pandemic levels, a charity has warned.

Carers NI is calling for the full re-opening of day services, short breaks and respite support to help unpaid carers cope with the demands of caring and look after their own health.

Craig Harrison, Policy and Public Affairs Manager for Carers NI, said:

More than two years after the pandemic began, unpaid carers have still not seen the services they desperately rely on returning to full pre-Covid levels. They have been shouldering an even greater burden of care as a result, and their health and wellbeing is suffering massively. They are being pushed to exhaustion and burnout.

“Our last survey of unpaid carers showed that nearly half had faced a reduction in day services and over a-third had experienced reduced access to short breaks. Despite the Department of Health approving a strategy to remobilise these services in January of this year, carers are telling us that progress has been slow and all of the support they need is still not there.

“For many people in Northern Ireland, life has largely returned to normal since the worst days of the pandemic, but this isn’t the reality for all of our carer population. Day services and respite support provide a lifeline for many carers, helping them to take a break from caring, recharge their batteries and tend to their own health and wellbeing. Fully re-opening these services needs to be an urgent priority across Northern Ireland.”

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Media contacts

Please contact Craig Harrison, Carers NI Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 07905615762.

 Notes to editors

1. Carers NI’s last State of Caring survey was carried out between August-September 2021 and published in March 2022. In the survey:

  • 48% of carers said they faced reduced day services.
  • 36% of carers said they had experienced reduced short break services.
  • Just 12% of carers said that day care services had fully re-opened to pre-pandemic levels.

The State of Caring 2021 report is available here 

2. On 31 January 2022, the Minister for Health confirmed in the Assembly that a pathway for the remobilisation of adult day care, short breaks and transport had been approved. Read this here

About Carers NI and Carers UK

Carers NI is part of Carers UK is a charity led by carers, for carers – our mission is to make life better for carers.

  • We give expert advice, information and support
  • We connect carers so no-one has to care alone
  • We campaign together for lasting change
  • We innovate to find new ways to reach and support carers

For practical advice and information about caring, go to or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call our helpline 0808 808 7777.

We have developed specific information to support carers during the coronavirus pandemic at:

The Carers UK Forum is our online community of carers and is available to Carers UK members 24 hours a day, 365 days a year:

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