What are the effects of unmet need for social care on unpaid carers? Risk factors, consequences and mediators

Nicola Brimblecombe In progress  


Many people in England with a disability, long-term physical or mental ill health, or problems related to older age are not getting enough or any of their support needs met. Age UK estimates that this affects as many as 1.4 million older people in England alone. Part of the reason for this is that they are not receiving sufficient social care services. In this study we call this ‘unmet need for services’.

In many cases, a family member or friend (often called carers or unpaid carers) provides some support, and those people may also be affected by lack of services for the person they care for. But we do not know how many carers this might affect, who is most at risk, and how it affects them. Nor do we know if some people are affected more than others and if so why. Finding out more about these experiences would make it easier to make better support available to carers.


This study is investigating how unmet need for social care services for people with support needs affects their co-resident carers, how these effects are increased by other factors, and what causes unmet need for services. ‘Carers’ in this study refers to unpaid carers.


This study involves:

  • use of national data collected from a sample of adult people over a number of years
  • interviews with 25 to 30 carers.