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Inclusion of Caregivers in Veterans’ Care: A Critical Literature Review

Background: More direct inclusion of informal caregivers (i.e., family, friends) in patients’ care will make care more patient- and family-centered and has the potential to improve overall quality of care for patients. We need to understand what potentially comprises “inclusive care” so that we can define what “inclusive care” is and develop targets for care quality metrics. Methods: We conducted a critical literature review to identify key components of “caregiver inclusion.” Focusing on extant literature from 2005 to 2017, 35 papers met inclusion criteria. Directed content analysis with constant comparison was used to identify major themes related to a concept of “inclusive care.” Findings: Our analysis indicates that “inclusive care” entails five components: clear definition of caregiver role, system level policies for inclusion, explicit involvement of caregiver, provider assessment of caregiver capability, and mutuality in caregiver–provider communication. Conclusions: We discuss the evidence behind these five components using the Donabedian health care quality conceptual model. 

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Medical care research and review
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