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about the study

SUPPORTING YOUNG CAREGIVERS AND THEIR FAMILIES DURING RECOVERY FROM COVID-19

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We are inviting young caregivers and families with young caregivers to participate in this study. Volunteering in the study will involve the following, but you can withdraw at any point in time: Young caregivers that are a part of the family will be asked to participate in an individual interview with a Research Assistant via Ryerson’s Zoom lasting 30-45 minutes and then contacted again to participate in a follow-up interview at 6 months lasting 20-30 minutes. If family members are participating, family members in the same household (i.e., parent(s), grandparent(s), person(s) being cared for) other than the young caregiver(s), will participate in a group interview lasting 1 hour with a Research Assistant via Ryerson’s Zoom. For individual interviews with young caregivers: a $20 e-gift card for Amazon will be sent by email after completing the first interview a $10 e-gift card for Amazon will be sent after the 6-month follow-up interview. For group interviews with family members: a $20 e-gift card for Amazon will be sent by email to each family member after completing the first interview

As part of our larger study to understand how we can best support young caregivers and their families through pandemic recovery and beyond, we want to learn about what allies and/or community leaders have done to support young caregivers and their families during COVID-19. Volunteering in the study will involve the following: You will be asked to participate in a focus group with your peers who are community leaders and/or allies and a researcher via Zoom for Healthcare (a secure video calling software) lasting 1 hour to 1.5 hours You will be asked questions about how your efforts have been helping young caregivers and/or their families during COVID-19 and what you see as the major challenges are to what you do To thank you for your participation, a $15 e-gift card for Amazon will be sent by email after completing the focus group.

As part of our larger study to understand how we can best support young caregivers and their families through pandemic recovery and beyond, we want to learn about what service providers have done to support young caregivers and their families during COVID-19 as well as what prevented and/or made it difficult for service providers to support young caregivers and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteering in the study will involve the following: You will be asked to participate in a focus group with your peers who are service providers and a researcher via Zoom for Healthcare (a secure video calling software) lasting 1 hour to 1.5 hours You will be asked questions about how your work has been helping young caregivers and/or their families during COVID-19 and what you see as the major challenges are to supporting young caregivers in your community

As part of our larger study to understand how we can best support young caregivers and their families through pandemic recovery and beyond, we want to learn about the experiences and challenges of decision/policy making during the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteering in the study will involve the following: You will be asked to participate in an individual interview with a researcher via Zoom for Healthcare (a secure video calling software) lasting between 30-45 minutes. For the Zoom call, please attend the call in a location that ensures both aural and visual privacy to try to create a safe space and so we can do our best to try and protect the information you and others share. You will be asked questions about your roles, responsibilities, what you have done (or are planning to do) that influenced young caregivers’ and/or their families’ lives during COVID-19 as well as the challenges you faced and/or are expecting to face when it comes to your efforts to support young caregivers and/or their families

Background

More than 8 million Canadians provide informal unpaid care to a family member or friend with injury, disability, or illness.

An estimated 1.25 million of these caregivers are young caregivers (15-25 years of age) who provide physical, medical, and emotional support to a parent, grandparent, or sibling while juggling school and sometimes even paid work.

 

Most Canadians are unaware of the responsibilities and challenges faced by these ‘invisible’ caregivers and they are a severely understudied group in Canada. Lacking adequate support, they can experience short- and long-term harms to academic, personal, social, and professional development— the "young carer penalty". Lack of support can also contribute to stress and depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, loneliness and isolation, difficulty relating to peers, and possibly suicidal ideation among young caregivers.

Why does this matter?

Our previous project revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these issues for young carers and their families, with this population being particularly vulnerable to disruptions in schooling and employment. In this study, we wish to understand young caregivers' and their families’ responses to restrictions, isolation, closures, and reopenings. We will also identify strategies to address young caregivers’ needs in order to support families in both the short-term and long-term. The study builds on previous scholarship and our own work in this area and addresses key knowledge, policy, and practice gaps identified by stakeholders across Canada.

methodology

For this study, we will be recruiting families with young caregivers from both rural and urban communities in from across Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Ontario). We will be conducting semi-structured interviews with these families at the following times:

  • At baseline (when the family is recruited)

  • In 6 months (young caregivers only)

Additional group interviews and focus groups with informal community members, change-makers, and service providers will also be held in order to identify the current work and supports given to young caregivers at this time. Key policy- and decision-makers will also be interviewed to understand the experiences and challenges that individuals involved in policy development encounter as they work towards creating policies that are inclusive of young caregivers and their families, especially during a time when policy-making is crucial in maintaining family needs.

Data will be analyzed at the level of individual interviews, family units, groups, and subgroups. Rural and urban settings will be compared to identify common and unique characteristics and experiences related to COVID-19’s impact on young caregivers and their families, including how challenges were navigated and different changes were adapted to. 

interested in participating?

accessibility statement

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) defines requirements for designers and developers to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. It defines three levels of conformance: Level A, Level AA, and Level AAA. Supporting Young Caregivers and Their Families During Recovery from COVID-19 is fully conformant with WCAG 2.1 level A and partially compliant with level AA. Further investigation into accessibility measures is being done to improve the experience of navigating this website.

 

We welcome your feedback on the accessibility of Supporting Young Caregivers and Their Families During Recovery from COVID-19. Please let us know if you encounter accessibility barriers on Supporting Young Caregivers and Their Families During Recovery from COVID-19:

  • E-mail: kristine.newman[at]ryerson.ca 

 

We will try to respond to feedback within 2-5 business days.

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