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Caregiving work: The experiences and needs of caregivers in Australia

A considerable evidence base exists demonstrating the high prevalence of family caregiving in the community; however, there is a paucity of in-depth research examining the impact of family caregiving on the living and employment needs of those providing this unpaid service. This study employed a qualitative interview design with purposive sampling to examine the experiences of family caregivers, in order to examine how family caregiving decisions are made, the nature and challenges of caregiving work, and living and work supports that may enhance the caregiving experience. A sample of 12 adults providing care and assistance to family members with a range of disabilities, chronic conditions and long-term illnesses were interviewed. The results showed that family caregivers ‘fall into’ the caregiving role and often continue to provide care indefinitely without pay and with little or no financial support from others. In describing the best aspects of their experience many caregivers talked about helping their care recipient remain in their home and maintain their independence. In describing the worst aspects of their experience, all referred to the living and financial challenges of the caregiving work, and many highlighted the impact of their caregiving work on their employment and career needs. In conclusion, there is a need for public policies, programs and health services in Australia to better respond to the living, financial and support needs of family caregivers as health service providers, as well as their employment, development and career needs which are seriously impacted upon by caregiving work.

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Type of Work
Journal article
John Wiley & Sons
Publication Year
Issue Number
Journal Titles
Health & Social Care in the Community
Volume Number
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