To revise the family caregiver's burden concept and to understand the implications for the patient, family and healthcare system. We analyzed recent literature in three main areas: the role of family caregiver at the end of life, the family caregiver's burden and the involvement of social care networks.
The family caregiver often accepts the caring as a natural action, presumably imposed by the society. A recent review described seven main roles of care which, according to family system and society, consist of different tasks and activities. To assume this role is not stress free. It is likely to develop a ‘burden’ by the assumed task.
Family members who are close to the patient may play the role of caregiver, well-being enhancer, diversity of tasks fulfiller, minimizer and managing suffering, palliative care facilitator and responsible for the continuity of care, apprentice and participant of health teams. The family caregiver often gives priority to the problems of his dependent family member, becoming almost ‘invisible’ to the health system. It should also be consider the relevance of this issue into future bereavement process. Considering all these aspects, the family caregiver is often considered by the healthcare teams as ‘overall tasks’ performers’.
aInstitute of Medical Research A Lanari, University of Buenos Aires
bInstituto Pallium Latinoamérica, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Correspondence to Verónica Inés Veloso, Instituto de Investigaciones, Médicas A Lanari, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Tel: +541145148701191; e-mail: email@example.com