‌Post-Caregiving: Family Carers’ Experiences of Role and Identity Transition on Cessation of the Caring Role – Implications for Policy and Practice


Funder: Irish Research Council New Foundations Programme

PI: Dr. Carol Kelleher , ISS21 and Department of Management and Marketing, UCC

Charitable Voluntary Organizations (CVO) Project Partners: Family Carers Ireland, Care Alliance and West Cork Carers Support Group

Project Duration – 1 December 2016 – 30 September 2017


Currently we know little about what happens to carers when the caring role ends and how they might be best supported to transition to life after care. POSTCARE will provide a nuanced knowledge of family carers’ post caregiving experiences of loss, role and identity transition on cessation of the caring role. Using a participatory action research approach, POSTCARE will respond to the issues, challenges and concerns facing former carers via a series of participant led workshop and supports. Primary outputs will include policy, theoretical and media-oriented papers and peer supports disseminated to as wide an audience as possible.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of this project, a collaboration between ISS21, West Cork Carers Support Group (WCCSG), Family Carers Ireland (FCI) and Care Alliance Ireland (CAI), is to develop evidence-based supports and policy to support former carers post-caregiving. It specifically responds to aim 1.3.5 of the National Carers’ Strategy i.e ‘to review existing transition arrangements for carers at the end of their caring role’ (p.13). Through dialogue with former carers, the project will incorporate guidelines, an action plan and the co-development of peer-supports to change and influence policy and practice.

The project objectives are to:

Explore former caregivers’ experiences and lived context of role and identity transition post-caregiving i.e. on cessation of the caring role when the person they care for dies or moves into a home.

Co-develop appropriate supports and policy responses for former carers.

Build participant capacity for future national and international research collaborations.

Implementation Plan:

The project follows a participatory action research (PAR) approach that prioritises responsive information exchange with those most impacted by the research, namely former carers. It builds on previous collaborations with ISS21 and Family Carers Ireland (2014-2015) and a preparatory ISS21 workshop on carer research/securing H2020 funding (June 2016).

Potential impact and benefits

The project outputs will inform national policy and the delivery of carer supports in Ireland and internationally, thus empirically and practically addressing carer needs as prioritised by the National Carer Strategy (2012). It also develops research capacity and routes for continued engagement with partner CVOs on a longer-term basis.


For further information on the project, please contact Dr. Carol Kelleher, Email carol.kelleher@ucc.ie

Irish Research Council Logo






Close X