An informal carer is somebody who provides unpaid support for a significant proportion of time to a person who may be ill, disabled, have mental health or substance misuse problems.1 The ageing population and demand for care is growing; this can effect employees, employers and the economy.Aim
To assess the prevalence of informal carers referred to the Occupational Health service of an NHS organisation and to evaluate the impact of being an informal carer on employee well-being using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS).Method
Cross-sectional study on employees referred to Occupational Health (between February and July 2015). A web based questionnaire was completed. A validated well-being score (WEMWBS) was used to assess mental well-being.Results
547 questionnaires were completed; a response rate of 36.6%. The prevalence of informal carers was 23.77%. Most informal carers were aged over 36 years, were more likely to be female and to work part-time. Informal carers had more self-reported long-term sickness absence than non-carers.Results
Informal carers scored lower on the WEMWBS well-being score than non-carers (45.4 compared to 48.0). Both non-carers and informal carers scored lower than the Scottish population WEMWBS mean score (50.7).Results
Most informal carer respondents carried out their caring role once a day or more often (51.4%); the majority of this group worked full time. Informal carers subjectively felt their caring role impacted on well-being.Conclusion
The prevalence of informal carers in this study is higher than published figures. Informal carers were found to have a lower mean mental well-being score than non-carers, which is in keeping with published literature. The results of the study should be shared with key stakeholders in the organisation to raise the profile of informal carers and improve available support.