Innovate Pilot Project to Support Families Caring for an Older Person

Family Carers Ireland announced as awardee of Rethink Ireland’s Innovate Together Fund

Family Carers Ireland is delighted to be among the 20 charities, community groups and social enterprises to benefit from €1.3m in funding announced as part of Rethink Ireland’s Innovate Together Fund.

This is the second round of awards in the Innovate Together Fund as a response to COVID-19 by Rethink Ireland and corporate partners which include the Z Zurich Foundation, Oakfield Trust, Medtronic and Twitter; bringing the total fund to a record €5.6 million in 2020. 20 projects from all over Ireland are receiving cash grants from €20,000 to €200,000. The areas of innovation cover Sustainable Ireland, Economic Recovery, Food Security and Community Outreach.

The Family Carer Support project by Family Carers Ireland will address the need to systematically assess and respond to the support needs of families caring for an older person. The project will be delivered in partnership with the HSE and will be delivered in Cork / Kerry as a pilot initially. The learning from the pilot will have impact on how family carers of older people will be supported in the future.

The funding, totalling €141,175, will be used to appoint project staff and develop the interventions for the project.

The needs of the family carer will be assessed and, based on the level of associated risk to family carer wellbeing, three pathways of intervention will be offered:

  • Low Risk – Information about why it’s important to identify as a family carer, information about Family Carers Ireland’s supports and services and access to the emergency card scheme
  • Medium Risk – Caring with Confidence Programme, Virtual Carers Clinic and all the above.
  • High Risk – Carer Wellbeing Review using the Carers Outcome Star.  Carers will meet with a Carer Wellbeing Manager to complete the Carer Outcome StarTM that will support the development of an agreed action plan across 7 key areas of the family carers life.  Depending on actions agreed, family carers will have access to counselling, respite, respite equipment, a hardship scheme, advocacy, education and training.  Family Carers will be supported over a 12 week period to work on the actions agreed.

Reacting to today’s announcement, Kathy McLoughlin, Head of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships with Family Carers Ireland said“We are delighted to have received this award from Rethink Ireland.  This project will, for the first time, introduce a model of assessment and triage of family carers of older people to ensure they get the right supports, at the right time, in the right place to help them to develop a sustainable caring routine.  This is so important, particularly during the pandemic as family carers want to be able to support their loved ones to remain at home for as long as possible.”

Family Carers Ireland will be working closely with the HSE’s community and acute services to deliver the project during 2021.  The learning from the pilot will inform the development of Family Carers Ireland’s future model of support for family carers of older people.

For more information visit or contact Kathy McLoughlin 086 0333163.