Community Services, Standard 01/03/2005 Health, Recorded 13/05/2008
An informal carer includes any person, such as a family member, friend or neighbour, who is giving regular, ongoing assistance to another person without payment for the care given.
Care and support networks where the carers are unpaid (other than pension or benefit) play a critical role in community services provision, especially in caring for frail aged and younger people with disability within the community.
Information about informal carers is therefore of fundamental importance in assessing the ongoing needs of clients and their carers, and in service planning. The presence of an informal carer is often a key indicator of a person's ability to remain at home, especially if the person requires assistance. The absence of an informal carer, where a vulnerable client lives alone, is an indicator of client risk. Information on client living arrangement and informal carer availability provides an indicator of the potential in-home support and the extent to which the burden of care is absorbed by the informal caring system.
The stability or otherwise of the informal carer's availability may be significant in the capacity of the client continuing to remain at home.
Existing carer definitions (e.g. for purposes of establishing eligibility for Domiciliary Nursing Care Benefits (DNCB/Carer Allowance; Carer's Pension/Carer Payment) definitions used in ABS population, surveys of disability, ageing and carers) vary in context and purpose.
The definition excludes formal care services such as homecare, care provided by volunteers or foster care that is arranged by formal services. It also excludes unregistered child carers who are receiving payment for their services. Where a potential carer is not prepared to undertake the caring role, the carer is considered to be not available.
Source and reference attributes
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Home and Community Care (HACC) Data Dictionary Version 1.0, 1998