The Experiences and Quality of Life of Informal Caregivers

  • H. Herrman
  • H. Schofield
  • B. Murphy
  • B. Singh

Summary

With increasing rates of disability and a major shift from custodial to community care, there is an increasing reliance on families and other supporters of people of all ages with severe and chronic mental or physical disabilities. At the same time there is growing evidence about the potentially negative impact of caregiving on the health and well-being of family caregivers. There is little systematic knowledge about the prevalence of caregiving and its impact on the caregiver. In past research on caregivers, study samples have been small, mostly recruited from service providers or support organizations, and hence unrepresentative. Research has tended to focus on a particular disability. The present study is population-based and cross-diagnostic, based on the assumption that other factors besides type of disability are influential in determining the impact of caregiving on the family caregiver.

As the first stage in an integrated research and health promotion programme for informal caregivers, a random survey of Victorian households is being conducted by telephone. The study aims to provide information on the prevalence of caregiving and to establish the broad spectrum of caregiving roles in the community without using predefined exclusion criteria, to assess the impact of the experience of caregiving on the quality of life of caregivers, and to identify services and strategies used by caregivers which help to minimise the negative impact of caregiving. Findings from the first wave of data collection in this survey are presented.

Use of self-identification as the method of recruiting participants resulted in the inclusion of a broad diversity of special needs caregivers. In spite of this diversity, covering a spectrum of caring roles, there are clear differences between this group and a comparison group of general caregivers in relation to health and well-being. The self-report measures employed in this work appear to be useful pointers to quality of life of the caregivers in our community.

Keywords

Arthritis Depression Transportation Migraine Dementia 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Herrman
  • H. Schofield
  • B. Murphy
  • B. Singh

There are no affiliations available

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