Validating model chronic illness family caregiving
In 2009, nearly 66 million Americans (three in 10 U. households) reported at least one person providing unpaid care as a family caregiver.
More adults with chronic conditions and disabilities are living at home than ever before, and family caregivers have an even higher level of responsibility.
In fact, family caregivers form the foundation of the health care system in the United States, supporting advances in treatment such as multimodality treatment protocols given in outpatient and home settings. Definition: Who Is the Caregiver?
Also referred to as informal caregivers, family caregivers provide a complex array of support tasks that extend across physical, psychological, spiritual, and emotional domains. Generally speaking, more women than men become caregivers, most caregivers are related to the person who has cancer, and most caregivers are aged 55 years or older.[4,5] Family caregivers play an important role in the management of cancer; enlisting their cooperation and including them as the unit of care from the outset are considered critical ingredients to effective cancer management.
This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
The information in this topic may have changed since it was written.
It also dispels common myths about immigrants and emphasizes the need to value the unique attributes and contributions of immigrant populations, particularly with regard to culture and language.
Additional support and anticipatory guidance for the care recipient and caregiver are particularly helpful during care transitions and at the care recipient's end of life. By 2030, one in five adults will be 65 years or older.2In addition to the growing demand for caregivers, family caregiving has been affected in several important ways over the past five years: caregivers and care recipients are older and have higher levels of disability than in years past; the duration, intensity, and burden of care has increased; the financial cost associated with informal caregiving has risen; and the use of paid formal care has declined significantly.5Encouraging caregivers to take a break, take care of their own health, maintain a healthy diet, exercise, seek preventive health care, join a support group, and seek respite care when needed are key ways to provide direct caregiver support.Most oncology teams recognize this and try to include family caregivers in treatment planning, decision making, and implementation. However, for interventions to be feasible, they must be appropriate within the constraints of busy oncology practices and service delivery environments. Short-term hospital admissions may also restrict the time available to implement supportive strategies for caregivers.Information about the following is included in this summary: In this summary, unless otherwise stated, evidence and practice issues as they relate to adults are discussed.Caregivers have their own emotional responses to patients’ diagnoses and prognoses, and they may require coaching and emotional support separate from that offered to patients.[1,2] Caregiver roles and caregiver burden are profoundly affected by a patient’s prognosis, stage of illness, and goals of care.The existing body of work on family caregivers of patients with cancer focuses primarily on a caregiver’s adjustment during the acute survivorship phase, from the time of diagnosis to 2 years postdiagnosis. As open communication and diagnostic disclosure for patients have gained in popularity, studies have focused on the impact of truth-telling on patients, and guidelines for such communication have been developed.[4,5] Although caregivers are sometimes included in these studies, little attention has been paid to caregivers’ specific informational needs and preferences for diagnostic information or to caregivers’ readiness or willingness to integrate this new medical information.