The Victorian Government has today announced it will invest in new research to examine the needs of carers of people diagnosed with cancer in a bid to better support this largely invisible and informal workforce.
Minister for Health, Mary-Anne Thomas this week officially launched Deakin University’s new Carer Hub – part of the university’s newly established Centre of Excellence in Cancer Carer Research, Translation & Impact.
“Carers are the unsung heroes of our community but there’s limited understanding of exactly what it’s like to be a carer of someone diagnosed with cancer – so we’re changing that through the Carer Hub,” the Minister said.
There are more than 2.6 million unpaid carers in Australia, and it is estimated carers bear 60% of the financial cost of cancer.
Backed by a $1.2 million investment by the State Government, the aim of the Carer Hub is to listen to carers and identify ways to improve their health and the way they interact with the Victorian health system.
Carers face many barriers to accessing timely healthcare, often because their caring responsibilities mean they don’t have time to address their own healthcare needs. They also report challenges associated with their caregiving roles, including a lack of training, feeling undervalued in the care team, and economic and personal health concerns.
These are just some of the issues the Carer Hub seeks to examine through its research into the unmet needs of carers who are supporting people living with cancer.
It will also address inequalities in healthcare by supporting carers from priority carer populations, including carers within LGBTIQA+ communities, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, and carers living in regional and rural communities.
“Caring for a loved one living with cancer can be a challenging job both physically and mentally – it is vital we make sure carers are well supported to continue their work without fear of burnout or social isolation,” said Member for Box Hill, Paul Hamer.