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Quality of life of Australian family carers: implications for research, policy and practice

As part of an international, multicentered project, the burden of care, health, and subjective well-being experienced by select Australian family carers supporting a relative with disability at home were investigated. Some 448 family carers residing in New South Wales and Tasmania completed a battery of instruments, including a self-report demographic survey, the Family Caregiver Burden Inventory, the General Health Questionnaire, and the Personal Wellbeing Index. Respondents were predominantly females (mean age = 48 years), married, and supporting a son or daughter with an intellectual disability (mean age = 18 years). Although caring for their family member was not perceived to be a burden, respondents reported notable limitations on their social networks and social activities. They reported higher levels of unemployment than would be expected for the general population and were over represented in lower income groups. They reported seriously low levels of mental health and personal well-being when compared with the general population. The findings revealed that this group of family carers were at high risk of social and economic disadvantage and at high risk of mental health challenges. Social policy makers and service providers should take these factors into account, both in the interests of promoting the health and well-being of the carers and considering the long-term needs of family members with disability who rely on family carers for daily support when designing services.

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Additional Titles
Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities

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Social care online
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