No Young Carer Left Behind: A Two-Phased Study to Understand and Address the Needs of Young Carers from Rural and Urban Communities Before and During Covid-19


  • Kristine Newman
  • Heather Chalmers
  • Yana Berardini
  • Arthur Ze Yu Wang
  • Vivian Stamatopoulos
  • Michelle Lewis



Canada has one of the largest cohorts of young carers aged 15 to 24 who provide unpaid care for a family member. Although the body of research on young carers is growing in Canada, knowledge on the experiences and needs of young carers living in remote and rural communities is almost absent. This study aimed to understand and address the needs of young carers in rural/remote communities to support our community partner’s goal of expanding their resources and support of this underserved population. The study was conducted in two phases with the first phase being a needs assessment and the second phase addressed those needs. In Phase 1 (conducted pre-COVID-19), three focus groups were conducted with young carers from rural and urban communities with 20 young carers participating in total. Six themes were identified: Internet Usage in Daily Life; Finding and Filtering Information; Concerns Related to Internet Use; Social and Mental Support; What Makes Caregiving More Challenging; and Designing Something to Make Caring Easier. During Phase 2 (conducted mid-COVID-19), 2 focus groups were held via Zoom for Healthcare with a mix of rural and urban young carers in each group. One of the focus groups was held with those under 18 years old and the other included those between 18 to 25 years old. Four themes were identified: Responses to Emergencies; Awareness of Emergency Planning; Potential Impact on Planned Behaviour; and Considerations and Suggestions for Improvement.