Who is a Carer?

The term 'Carer' is frequently used to describe people in paid employment or volunteer work. However, people undertaking these roles in a formal capacity, whether paid or unpaid, are protected under organisations duty of care and workplace health and safety.

The definition of a 'Carer' used here is a legislated term that clearly establishes who carers are.

A Carer is a family member, partner or friend or neighbour that provides ongoing unpaid help to someone who needs it because of they have a:

  • Medical condition (including a terminal or chronic illness
  • Disability
  • Age related frailty
  • Mental Illness

The person providing the most care is often called the 'Primary Carer' or 'Main Carer'.

Carers are all different - they come from all cultural backgrounds, can be of any age or gender. Caring may involve a few hours assistance per week through to sustained 24 hour care. It may also involve balancing paid work or studies with caring responsibilities.

An individual is not a Carer in respect of care, support and assistance that they provide:

  • Under contract of service or a contract for the provision of services; or
  • In the course of doing voluntary work for a charitable, welfare or community organisation; or
  • As part of the requirements of a course of education or training.

Carers can work with health staff so that they can provide the best care for the person they care for by:

  • Making themselves known to health staff;
  • Providing their name and contact details and ensuring that it is noted in the patient's medical record;
  • Ensuring that the patient permission for the Carer to obtain information is noted in the medical record by staff;
  • Providing the name and contact details of the legal guardian, person responsible and/or authorised representative for the patient (where they are not the Carer) when the patient cannot provide these details.
  • Letting the staff know that they need more information regarding the medical condition of the person they care for; and/or
  • If they need help at home to support the person they care for e.g. (transport, personal care, domestic care, medication management etc.)

Carers Factsheet

More information and resources about Carers can be found on the following websites:

Carer Gateway

Department of Family & Community Services 

Carers NSW

Young Carers

Male Carers



© 2016 South Western Sydney Local Health District
Last Updated: 23 January, 2019
NSW Ministry of Health |   SWSLHD on YouTube   SWSLHD on Facebook   SWSLHD on Twitter
Disclaimer | Privacy Statement | Accessibility | Sitemap