A carer provides ongoing, unpaid care and support to a family member, neighbour, or friend who lives with disability, terminal illness, chronic illness, mental illness or ageing. Anyone can become a carer, at any time.
Caring may involve a few hours assistance per week through to sustained 24 hour care. It may also involve balancing full or part time work with caring responsibilities.
Carers provide assistance with activities such as showering or dressing, mobility, transport, social and emotional support, communication, meal preparation, house work, medication management, financial management, and other aspects of the person’s daily life.
Health services are used by carers and the people they care for. NSW Health recognises the unique knowledge and experience that carers have. Involving a carer as a partner in care both benefits health staff and improves outcomes for patients. NSW Health also supports employees who combine caring responsibilities and work.
Carers have the same rights, choices and opportunities as all Australians; this is upheld through policy and legislation.
In this context, a person is not a carer if they care for a person as a paid employee, as a volunteer or as part of education or training.