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  2. The impact of caregiving on the health status of regional carers in Australia: Findings from a mixed‐method study

The impact of caregiving on the health status of regional carers in Australia: Findings from a mixed‐method study

While it is known that informal carers provide the majority of caregiving in Australia, there remains limited understanding of the challenges that regional carers face in their caring role and the impact of the caregiving role on carer well‐being. Objective: The aim of this study was to better understand the health status of caregivers as the person they care for was entering the National Disability Support Scheme. Design: This is a mixed‐methods study. Setting: The study was undertaken in regional New South Wales, Australia. Participants: Seventy‐five carers were enrolled into the study. All lived in regional New South Wales. Main outcome measure: The World Health Organization Well‐being Index was used for quantitative data collection, and semi‐structured interviews were undertaken for the collection of qualitative data. Result: Quantitative data indicated that carers from Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds and those from low socio‐economic status had significantly lower scores on the well‐being index. Two key qualitative categories were evident describing carer's journey to resilience by (a) adjusting to reality predominantly through cognitive reframing strategies and (b) carers accessing external supports. Conclusion: The health status of regional carers who are predominantly women is experiencing low levels of well‐being. While many of these carers have initiated successful coping responses to the challenges of caring, there is an urgent need to increase the supports available to this population. As the recent National Disability Support Scheme is embedded, it is of importance to monitor if there are improvements in the health status of carers over time. 

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John Wiley & Sons
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Australian Journal of Rural Health
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