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Feature Article

Caring for carers. How GPs can help lighten the load

MARY BURBIDGE

Figures

© peopleimages/istockphoto.com Models useD for illustrative purposes only
© peopleimages/istockphoto.com Models useD for illustrative purposes only

Abstract

Many of the 2.7 million unpaid carers in Australia neglect their own mental and physical health to focus their energies on the person they care for. This article explores carers’ health issues and how they may present in general practice, including practical tips on how GPs can identify the stressors in carers’ lives and find ways to reduce that stress.

Key Points

  • The carer may not present as having a problem.
  • Stress is ubiquitous in caring; supportive listening is vital.
  • Mental health problems are common.
  • Physical health issues are those of the general population, as well as those caused and exacerbated by the caring role.
  • The carer may put their health issues on the back burner.
  • Support is available, but accessing it can be daunting.

Figures

© peopleimages/istockphoto.com Models useD for illustrative purposes only
© peopleimages/istockphoto.com Models useD for illustrative purposes only