Support for Carers During Covid-19 Outbreak

Life can be demanding and UCD always strives to support employees who have caring obligations, those who provide unpaid care and support. An increasing number of employees are informally caring for parents and family members. UCD recognises that the ability to support and retain informal carers is increasingly important, which is particularly true during the Covid-19 outbreak. Many existing carers will face new challenges, such as needing to adapt the way they balance work and caring and working remotely for an extended period of time whilst being unable to interact in person with colleagues, friends and family. Employees may also be taking on new caring responsibilities, with some becoming carers for the first time.  

Staying in Touch and Supports 

National Carers Week (8th-14th June)

There is a full programme of virtual talks for carers from carers organisations, yoga sessions and resources, that can be found at this link.
 
Family carers free counselling sessions - Family Carers Ireland 
  • Family carers sometimes have difficulty coping with their emotional well-being and their mental health and are more likely to struggle with stress, anxiety and depression than the general population. As a carer, there are times when you may find yourself struggling with your mental health and emotional well-being due to a combination of the demands of your caring role, and the additional challenges you might be facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Family Carers Ireland offer help to family carers, as they believe no one should have to care alone. They have developed a free, short-term online and phone counselling service for family carers and will connect carers with a qualified counsellor from a panel of approved professionals.
    The service can be accessed through the website https://familycarers.ie/help-and-advice/online-and-phone-counselling-service/   or through the National Freephone Careline on 1800 24 07 24.  

Webinar "Time Management: Working from Home"

Working from home is a wonderful opportunity, but time management can be a challenge. With so many demands on your time and attention, it's a tricky balancing act to stay productive. In this course, bestselling author and productivity expert Dave Crenshaw offers best practices for working from home and for working parents and other caregivers who might be balancing professional and personal responsibilities in the home.
 
Click here to access the LinkedIn course (full duration: 1h, 25m, 24s) 

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Carers Minding Our Mental Health During Covid-19

The Psychology Department at Saint John of God Hospital published a useful resource to help family carers maintain their own wellbeing. This includes useful advice and supports on mental health, managing anxiety, virtual mindfulness retreats & community supports. 
 
 

Stress Control Webinar Series 

Dr Jim White is hosting online stress Control classes to help you learn some great ways to combat anxiety, depression, panic, poor sleep and boost your well-being. Free-of-charge, you can watch the sessions either in the afternoon or evening. Click here to get all the dates. To find out more about Stress Control click here
 

Carers' Coffee Club

Family Carers Ireland Carers’ Coffee Club is a new online resource for family carers to get together Thursdays at 11:00-11:30am via Facebook Live.

The club will have guest healthcare professionals and experts providing online support, advice and guidance to family carers during the Covid-19 pandemic and we are inviting family carers  to submit their questions for each expert over the coming weeks.

Details of upcoming guests will be announced via Family Carers Ireland social media channels.  Go to Family Carers Ireland Facebook page for further details: https://www.facebook.com/familycarers/

Playback the Coffee Club at a time that suits you via Family Carers Ireland website: https://familycarers.ie/carers-coffee-club/

Carers' Coffee Club

 

Care Alliance Ireland launched a closed Facebook Support Group for carers in March 2020.

 

Training Supports

UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems and Family Care Alliance have updated the list of useful online training for family carers due to the Covid-19 pandemic: http://www.familycarertraining.ie/Online-courses 

UCD Initiatives and Supports 

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UCD CAREWELL Project

A team of researchers at University College Dublin, in partnership with Family Carers Ireland, are undertaking a four-year research project to examine how family carers can be best supported to balance work with care. In particular, the CAREWELL project aims to promote health and self-care behaviours among working family carers through the development of an evidence-informed workplace programme for carers working in public and private work settings. 

Find out more about the CAREWELL project here: https://carewellproject.com/ 

Employee Assistance Service and Support Hub

UCD employees have access to the Employee Assistance Service (EAS) which offers professional counselling sessions available remotely via phone/web during this time. You can also access their online Support Hub, which includes guided self-assessments, self-help courses and digital intervention tools, a well-being database and information library, as well as a mood tracker.

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Caring Collection in UCD Library

Parenting and Caring Collection was curated in James Joyce Library for UCD employees and students that covers the personal challenges you may encounter at different points of your working career.

The collection is made up of e-books and books which include: Support if you are caring for a loved one outside of work; Carer care; Dementia, Parkinsons, Alzheimers Care, End of Life Care and more. 

The Way Ahead, a resource to support former family carers by Care Alliance Ireland. 

UCD Mental Health First Aid Peer Support Group 

UCD has launched the new Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Peer Support Group. The members are trained in Mental Health First Aid and offer support and information to colleagues who are feeling overwhelmed and are concerned about their mental wellbeing. While Covid-19 restrictions are in place, UCD MHFA Peer Support Group will be reachable via Zoom as opposed to face-to-face. Find out more and contact a MHFA Peer Support Group member here: Mental Health First Aid Covid19 

Off-Campus Engagement

UCD is endeavouring to offer a range of engagement activities to help colleagues stay engaged with each other. Please visit the new webpage on offline engagement created by Culture & Engagement for suggestions of activities such as online yoga lessons, lunchtime sketching, colouring for children and upcoming initiatives.

UCD Family-Related Policies

UCD has a range of family-friendly policies to support those with caring responsibilities. Employees should make themselves familiar with these policies so that they consider all of the options that may support them in their role as carers. It is also important that managers are aware of these policies so that they can support their employees and inform them of their options.

The following is a list of policies that employees may avail of in UCD that support them to balance their work and caring responsibilities. Managers and employees should familiarise themselves with the conditions and procedures applying to leaves on the HR website.   

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UCD Family-related Policies

Support for Employees taking Family-Related Leave Policy and Guidelines

This policy and guidelines provide support for managers and employees to navigate the period before, during and after family-related leave. Managers can also find guidance so that they can provide a high standard of support to employees during this time.

Employees should familiarise themselves with the policy and guidelines to understand the types of support available.

Academics who are returning from maternity, adoptive or carers leave are entitled to 50% teaching buy-out over two semesters on return from leave to re-establish their research career. As a research-intensive university, UCD is committed to support those returning from maternity, adoptive and carers leave. 

The below policy and guidelines should be read in conjunction with UCD Family-Friendly Policies: 

Useful External links

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Family Carers Ireland

Family Carers Ireland offer advice for family carers during Covid-19.

They also created a downloadable emergency care plan for family carers in the event the person providing primary care is not available.

Family Carers Ireland offer a Freephone Careline – 1800 24 07 24 to carers who wish to discuss concerns or get advice on a range of topics, including supports and services available from Local Authorities, the HSE, or offered by Family Carers Ireland. The CareLine is available Monday to Friday 9am – 8.00pm and Saturday 10.00am – 12 noon.

Health Service Executive

The HSE offer Guidance on "cocooning" to protect people over the age of 70 as well as a list of support organisations

Citizens Information

Employers for Carers (UK)  

You may find these LinkedIn Learning Videos helpful during this time (available for free):