• The Open University

This course is part of the Introduction to Social Care ExpertTrack

Introduction to Social Care: Understanding Informal Care

Learn about the importance of informal carers in the social care sector, including their role, rewards, challenges, and support.

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  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Included in an ExpertTrack

    Course 3 of 3
  • Get full ExpertTrack access

    $39/monthFind out more

Develop your understanding of unpaid informal carers and their responsibilities

What is informal care in social care and what’s the role of informal carers?

On this four-week course from The Open University, you’ll be introduced to the work of those who provide unpaid care to friends and family members in need.

You will learn what informal care is and how it is distinct from other forms of care, as well as what essential day-to-day activities informal carers perform and the issues of dependence, independence, and interdependence.

You’ll then investigate the societal patterns of caring across the UK to understand the diversity of the people who take on caring responsibilities and how these responsibilities shape their lives. You’ll reflect on the impact of caring on the carers’ wellbeing, their motivations, challenges, and rewards.

Discover what support is available for informal carers

You’ll discover what formal support and networks are available for informal carers, how eligibility is determined, how they can be accessed, and why so many people don’t receive this help. You’ll also consider the importance of declaring a caring status and why it is that some carers remain ‘hidden’.

Created by experts in social care at The Open University

You’ll learn from experts at The Open University who have delivered learning for the health and social care sector, working with employers, including the NHS, social services, and the voluntary sector for over 30 years.

What topics will you cover?

  • What informal care is and why do it
  • The essential day-to-day activities supported by informal carers
  • The diversity of the people who take on caring responsibilities and how these responsibilities shape their lives
  • The importance of declaring caring status and why some carers remain ‘hidden’
  • What support is available to informal carers and how is eligibility determined

Prove you're job ready

Highlight the new, job-relevant skills you’ve gained and supplement existing qualifications with a hard-earned, industry-specific digital certificate – plus one for every course within your ExpertTrack.

  • Learn the latest in your chosen industry or subject.
  • Complete each course and pass assessments.
  • Receive certificates validated by the educating organisation.
  • Impress employers with learning outcomes you can add to your CV.
  • Make your career dreams a reality.

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Reflect on the central role of informal carers in providing day-to-day support for those with social care needs
  • Explore the activities of daily living supported by carers and their relationship to dependence, independence and interdependence
  • Reflect on the experiences of providing informal care to understand the impact on the carers’ experience and wellbeing
  • Identify the support available to carers and why so many people do not receive this help

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone interested in learning about social care. You don’t need any prior knowledge of social care to join. It will benefit:

  • Anyone new to social care or those with a basic understanding who want to learn more
  • Those considering working in social care who want to know more
  • Social care service users, informal unpaid carers, or those who want to find out how to support others in our care system

Who will you learn with?

I've worked in health and education settings, and have researched workplace learning. I'm interested in how people maintain their health and wellbeing through life’s challenges.

Senior Lecturer in the School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care with research interests focusing on the intersection of practice-based learning and care.

Who developed the course?

The Open University

As the UK’s largest university, The Open University (OU) supports thousands of students to achieve their goals and ambitions via supported distance learning, helping to fit learning around professional and personal life commitments.

  • Established

  • Location

    Milton Keynes, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

About this ExpertTrack

Gain an introduction to social care and understanding of paid and unpaid care work in today’s social care sector.

Start learning today - free 2-day trial

After your free trial you can:

  • Pay $39 per month to keep learning online
  • Have complete control over your subscription; you can cancel any time
  • Work at your own pace and set your own deadlines at every stage
  • Only pay while you’re learning; the subscription will cancel automatically when you finish
  • Complete online assessments to test your knowledge and prove your skills
  • Earn digital course certificates and a final award that you can share online, with potential employers, and your professional network
  • Keep access to the content of courses you complete even after your subscription ends

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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