November 3, 2021
What is the ASCOT-Carer?
The Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit (ASCOT) is a set of instruments designed to measure aspects of quality of life affected by social care services.
Many outcome measures used to show the effectiveness of interventions focus mainly on aspects of physical or psychological health. ASCOT includes broader aspects of quality of life (like feeling safe, social relationships, control over daily life) that are relevant and important to people who use social care and their carers.
One of the ASCOT measures (ASCOT-Carer) is for carers. By ‘carer’, we mean family or friends who support someone with long-term health conditions, disability or other social care-related needs.
Initial work explored what aspects of quality of life were most important to carers in focus groups and interviews. Further interviews were conducted to make sure the questions were understood easily and could be completed by carers. Preference weights have also been developed, so the measure can be used in economic evaluations.
The measure has been used in a survey of English carers, supporting people with diverse needs, to make sure it measures what it was intended to measure (i.e. aspect of quality of life that can be affected by social care). There has been further recent research to establish whether it can be appropriately used in studies of carers of people living with dementia.
Why use the ASCOT-Carer?
The ASCOT-Carer allows the impact of social care on carers to be measured, either alongside the impact on people with support needs and/or separately.
Often the focus is on the ways in which social care support people with disabilities or long-term health conditions. However, it is recognized that carers may also benefit, both directly and indirectly, from formal social care services (e.g. home care). Good quality and effective social care services can have positive effects on quality of life for people with support needs and their carers.
The ASCOT-Carer allows us to understand these effects and to evaluate the wider impact of social care – not only for people with support needs, but also carers.
How has the ASCOT-Carer be used?
The ASCOT-Carer has been used, so far, to evaluate interventions designed to support carers and/or people with support needs (e.g. specialist dementia nursing). There has been studies to compare the ASCOT-Carer against other outcome measures often used in evaluation studies, in England, UK and Australia.
These studies indicate that the ASCOT-Carer is a suitable instrument to evaluate interventions that come under the umbrella of ‘social care’, e.g. home care, specialist support for carers.
How do I find out more?