Aims: This study compared the work-related experiences and personal health status of double-duty caregivers with those of caregivers who do not provide informal care to a family member or close friend in need.
Background: The interest in providing informal care alongside employment is growing. However, little attention has been paid to the dual role of the healthcare professional who also has caregiving responsibilities for a needy person in his/her private situation. It is important to study the negative and positive consequences of this combination of professional and family care giving.
Design: A cross-sectional study.
Methods: In 2011, we distributed a digital questionnaire to employees with a professional care function working at a healthcare organization in the Netherlands. Descriptive statistics, analyses of covariance and tests of linearity were performed.
Results: Analyses of variance demonstrated that as professional healthcare workers provide more hours of informal care in their private lives, their mental and physical health significantly worsens, while their need for recovery increases. Also, statistical significant increases were seen for emotional exhaustion, presenteeism and negative experiences with Work–Home and Home–Work Interferences. Remarkably, positive Home–Work Interference increased significantly with increasing hours of informal care. Double-duty caregivers appeared to be equally motivated and satisfied with their work as their co-workers. No differences were seen with respect to absenteeism.
Conclusion: Double-duty caregivers prove to be employees who are at risk of developing symptoms of overload. This finding calls for special attention, with long-term solutions at both legislative and organizational level.