Seeing the wood for the trees. Carer related research and knowledge: A scoping review

Henwood, Melanie; Larkin, Mary and Milne, Alisoun (2017). Seeing the wood for the trees. Carer related research and knowledge: A scoping review. Melanie Henwood Associates.



This NIHR-SSCR funded scoping review provides a comprehensive mapping of what is known about carers and caring, and aims to help inform policy, practice and research in relation to carers. The review was undertaken by searching 10 electronic bibliographic databases, supplemented by additional web searches to identify academic research, grey literature and wider knowledge. The analysis adopts a selective thematic approach covering: carer variables - the characteristics of different types of carer and different caring situations; types of care - the nature of needs of the cared for person and the features of the care situation; the impact of caring – resilience and coping, employment and health; and carer support and needs assessment. The final section highlights key messages identified from the review. It found that caring involves all sections and age groups of the population, with people are likely to experience one or more periods of caregiving over their lifetime. The uniqueness of each caring relationship is also highlighted. In relation to types of carers, knowledge about ‘hard to reach’ groups, such as BAME and LGBT carers, remains sparse. Older carers are also relatively invisible in policy and research terms. It found that much of the knowledge about carers identified in the review relates to their characteristics, their lived experience and the nature of their caregiving, with relatively less being known about the effectiveness of interventions to support them. The report concludes by offering suggestions for policy and practice. An appendix provides a bibliography of the 3,434 items identified in review, classified into 17 types of reference.

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