As the U.S. population ages and health care costs soar, family and friends are called upon increasingly to provide care. While the typical caregiver is a 46-year-old woman with at least some college education, anyone in the infirm person's circle may be called upon to provide care. The kind of care provided varies greatly—from managing treatment and medication regimens to driving in from out of town to help with shopping—as does each caregiver's reaction to providing such care. While some find caregiving terribly stressful, others find it rewarding. Nurses need to know how to identify the primary caregiver, discern the level of strain caused by caregiving, and create a partnership with the caregiver to help ease the burden. Accompanying text explores one caregiver's experience.
Thirteenth in a series: A New Look at the Old Creating a partnership with family caregivers can ease their burden; nurses need to know how to identify a patient's primary caregivers, determine the kinds of care they're providing, and discern the level of stress they're under.
Karen Schumacher is an associate professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing, Omaha; she was previously the Beatrice Renfield Visiting Nurse Scholar at the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. Claudia A. Beck is a geriatric clinical services manager and Joan M. Marren is the chief operating officer at the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, New York City. This article is 13th in a series that's supported in part by a grant from the Atlantic Philanthropies to the Gerontological Society of America. Nancy A. Stotts, EdD, RN, FAAN (firstname.lastname@example.org), a John A. Hartford scholar, and Carole E. Deitrich, MS, GNP, RN (email@example.com), are the series editors. Preparation of this article was supported by the Beatrice Renfield Visiting Nurse Scholar Program, Visiting Nurse Service of New York. The authors of this article have no significant ties, financial or otherwise, to any company that might have an interest in the publication of this educational activity.