Support for Carers During Covid-19 Outbreak
Page updated 21 December 2021
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)
- 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-or through the National Freephone Careline on 1800 24 07 24. phone-counselling-service/
- 5 ways to well being webinar by Family Carers Ireland explores how to look after your well being during Covid-19. Register here for multiple dates: https://familycarers.ie/five-
Webinar "Time Management: Working from Home"
Carers Minding Our Mental Health During Covid-19The 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
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.
Playback the Coffee Club at a time that suits you via Family Carers Ireland website: https://familycarers.
Care Alliance Ireland launched a closed Facebook Support Group for carers in March 2020.
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
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.
Caring Collection in UCD Library
A 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
UCD is endeavouring to offer a range of engagement activities to help colleagues stay engaged with each other. Please visit the Culture & Engagement website 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
- Carers Leave
- Support for Employees Taking Family-Related Leave (Opens Governance Library). See further information below.
- Career Break
- Shorter Working Year
- Job Sharing
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:
- Support for Employees Taking Family-Related Leave (Opens Governance Library)
- Support for Employees Taking Family-Related Leave Guidelines
Useful External links
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
You may find these LinkedIn Learning Videos helpful during this time (available for free):