Oct 012012
 

from the United Hospital  Fund

A report based on the first population-based survey of its type shows that 46 percent of family caregivers in the U.S. perform medical and nursing tasks. Three out of four provide medication management – including administering IVs and injections – for a family member with multiple chronic physical and cognitive conditions.  More than a third of these caregivers providing medical and nursing tasks reported doing wound care.  Other tasks include operating specialized medical equipment and monitors.

These and other findings are included in the new report published by the United Hospital Fund and the AARP Public Policy Institute.  The report is based on a national survey of 1,677 family caregivers who were asked about the medical and nursing tasks they perform and what they find difficult about performing them.

The report Home Alone: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care recommends actions to assist the more than 42 million family caregivers in the U.S., including: encouraging health care professionals and providers to reassess the way they interact with caregivers, ensuring that caregivers are well trained and prepared to perform difficult tasks, revising how caregiving tasks are labeled and identified, and addressing family caregivers’ needs in the development of new models of care.

The results of this study challenge the common perception of family caregiving as a set of personal care and household chores that most adults already do or can easily master.  The full report is available at http://www.uhfnyc.org/publications/880853.

 

Key words: family caregivers, medication management, AARP, United Hospital Fund

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