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Relationships and care

The following resources examine the multiple relationships in caring including parents; children; siblings; intergenerational care; mutual support; non-kin care, and other caring dyads.

Click on the title of any resource to find out more about the source of the information such as the type of reference, ISBN/ISSN, publication year, keywords. A number of these fields can be used to find further resources i.e. with the same keywords, or by the same author using the links on the right-hand side and within the Key Information box.

You can also click on an author's name in the list below to find further resources by that author, and use the DOI and other links to access the original source material (note: some source materials require subscription or permission to access).
 

Physical activity, confidence and quality of life among cancer patient-carer dyads

Background: Physical activity (PA) has been positively associated with health-related quality of life (HRQoL) among cancer patients and family caregivers. However, there has been no relevant research for patient-caregiver dyads. Methods: Path analysis, based on the actor–partner interdependence model (APIM), was used to examine the relationship between physical activity and health-related quality of life and explore the mediating role of emotional distress in 233 dyads. Results: In both patients and caregivers, physical activity had a direct positive effect on physical quality of life (QoL) but not on mental. There was a significant indirect effect of physical activity on health-related quality of life via emotional distress for both dyad members. Patients’ and caregivers’ confidence in fighting cancer was negatively associated with their own emotional distress. Caregivers’ confidence in fighting cancer was positively associated with their physical activity and also negatively associated with patients’ emotional distress. Conclusions: Physical activity may be considered as a possible behavioral and rehabilitation strategy for improving health-related quality of life in patient-caregiver dyads and reducing negative symptoms. Future research and intervention may consider cancer patient-family caregiver dyad as a unit of care.

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Family Caregiver and Provider Perspectives on Inclusive Care: Aligning Needs and Expectations

Background: Home-based and community-based health care for individuals with complex medical conditions is often provided by family caregivers. Yet caregivers often are not meaningfully included in interactions with clinical health care teams. Inclusive care means inviting the caregiver to participate in shared decision-making and treatment planning. For aging or medically vulnerable adults, caregiver inclusion is an important facet of patient-centered care. Methods: We apply a mixed-methods approach using a survey (n=50) and semistructured interview data (n=13) from a national sample of caregivers of veterans and semistructured interview data from (n=24) providers from 3 Veterans Affairs regional networks. We elicited data from caregivers about their experiences with inclusive care and how providers communicate with them and assess their capacity. We juxtaposed these data with provider perspectives to see where there was alignment. Findings: We determined that caregivers play important roles in trust-building, communications management, implementation of care plans at home or in the community, and improving the care of care recipients-while maintaining a balance between competing tensions. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that expanding inclusive care could improve care quality and health outcomes of individuals with complex health care needs. Further, our findings bolster recent policy efforts at the federal and state levels to increase recognition of caregivers as key members of the health care team. 

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Modifiable personal and environmental factors associated with anxiety in family caregivers of children with disabilities: A comparison between parents and grandparents

Background: Caregivers of children with disabilities might face high risk of anxiety, but the specific influencing factors may be different between parents and grandparents. Objective: This study is to explore the influencing modifiable factors from personal and environmental dimensions, so as to provide practical reference for effectively preventing and alleviating anxiety of this population. Methods: A total of 504 primary caregivers were investigated in Shanghai, China, of which 496 parents and grandparents were included in the analysis. Risk of anxiety was measured by the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7) Scale. Descriptive statistics, univariate analysis, and multivariable logistic regression were performed to describe the personal and environmental characteristics of parents and grandparents, risk of anxiety, and identify the significant factors. Results: 35.1% of the total caregivers had the risk of anxiety, parents (35.8%) were slightly more anxious than grandparents (33.1%). Among parents, children's stable emotion (AOR=0.263, 95% CI=0.113, 0.611), higher household income (AOR=0.664; 95% CI=0.519, 0.850), owning a house (AOR=0.326; 95% CI=0.174, 0.610), and better barrier-free construction (AOR=0.400; 95% CI=0.170, 0.941) were associated with lower odds of anxiety. As for grandparents, significant association was merely found in caregiving time (AOR=2.936; 95% CI=1.064, 8.107). Limitations: Given the cross-sectional design, we would not infer causal relationships. Conclusions: Anxiety among family caregivers of children with disabilities was not encouraging and need to be urgently concerned. To reach optimal efficiency, intergenerational differences should be considered when health care providers and policy makers taking measures to facilitate the mental health of this population. 

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Relationship between expression of gratitude by home-based care receivers and caregiver burden among family caregivers

Backgrounds: We focused on the frequency of “gratitude” expressed by home-based care receivers towards family caregivers before they were in the condition that needed care and investigated the relationship with caregiver burden. Methods: This cross-sectional online survey was completed by 700 family caregivers in Japan. Caregiver burden was assessed using the Zarit Burden Interview. Caregivers with a score of ≤ 19 were defined as having mild caregiver burden, those with a score of 20 to 38 as having moderate, and those with a score of > 38 as having severe. Additionally, caregivers were asked, “How often did you get a ‘thank you’ from your care receiver before they were in a condition that needed care?” Answers were scored using a 11-point Likert scale. Answers with scores 0-2 were defined as low frequency of gratitude, 3-6 as middle, and 7-10 as high. Results: Among all caregivers, 233 (33.3%), 229 (32.7%) and 238 (34.0%) accounted for having mild, moderate and severe caregiver burden, respectively. High frequencies of gratitude of 48.9%, 43.7%, and 39.1%, respectively, were concluded with a significantly higher rate in the mild than in the severe caregiver burden group (p = 0.03). The results of multinominal logistic regression analysis, even after adjusting for several factors, show that high frequency of gratitude was significantly associated with caregiver burden (p < 0.01, OR: 0.48, 95%CI: 0.28-0.81). Conclusions: We found the frequency of gratitude from the care receiver before they were in the condition that needed care was substantially associated with caregiver burden. 

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Shifting sands: Actor role and identity reconfigurations in service systems

Background: Building on previous actor-to-actor perspectives in service systems, this study mapped the dialectic trajectory of actor role and identity transitions in the context of family caregiving. Methods: The study employed the theoretical lens of role and identity transitions and drew on in-depth, qualitative interviews with 22 unpaid family caregivers caring for dependent relatives to demonstrate how family caregiver roles and identities co-evolve throughout the caregiving journey. Results: Our findings elucidate three dynamic reconfigurations of role and identity transitions in family caregiving. We evince how such transitions vary in both degree and type, and range from incremental to disruptive, as actors assume and detach from roles and associated identities. Theoretical contributions shed light on the emergent and nuanced nature of role and identity transitions, as roles and identities synchronously and asynchronously co-evolve in a service system in conjunction with changed relations between actors, society, and the service system. Conclusions: The paper concludes with implications for enhancing actor engagement in dynamic service systems.

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Experiences of Families with Adult Home Invasive Mechanical Ventilation Patients

Background: Adult home mechanical ventilation (HMV) represents a small but growing vulnerable population in the community. Caring for these patients exposes families to many positive and negative experiences. Objectives and methods: This study aimed to synthesize the existing qualitative research that examined family members' experiences of caring for adult patients using HMV. Medline, PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus, and Web of Science were searched for qualitative studies conducted with family caregivers of adult patients receiving HMV. Thematic synthesis was conducted to interpret the findings. The GRADE-CERQual approach was used to assess the level of confidence. Results: After completion of the screening process, 11 studies were included. The main theme from the meta-synthesis was the Experience of changing as a person. Families' experiences were divided into three stages over time: (1) Mixed feelings, (2) Challenging, and (3) Continuity. Conclusions: Family experiences illustrate that teamwork with an interprofessional approach based on patient and family needs is required to deliver care, improve clinical outcomes, reduce adverse experiences, and increase family satisfaction.

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Dyadic Research of Patients and Their Family Caregivers in the Context of Chronic Illness: Current Status and Challenges

Objectives: This narrative review aims to provide an introduction and overview of dyadic research within the context of chronic illness. In addition, some methodological considerations and future directions for conducting dyadic research are presented. Methods: The focus of this review is on adult participants in dyads and with chronic illness based on the previous studies and literatures on dyadic science. Results: Theory of Dyadic Illness Management and Dyadic Regulation-Connectivity Model (DR-CM) may be appropriate for performing dyadic research. At present, there is a lack of qualitative and quantitative knowledge on the dyadic approach for research on chronic diseases. Dyadic health interventions for building collaborative relationships within a dyad may be beneficial to improve dyadic health outcomes. This article addressed some of the challenges regarding recruitment, data collection, and analysis when it comes to planning dyadic research pertaining to chronic illnesses. Conclusion: Healthcare professionals should prioritize needs and preferences at the dyadic level when designing effective chronic disease management. Particularly, it is critical to regularly monitor the dyadic relationships or type of dyadic care during illness trajectories. More research should be undertaken on patient-family caregiver dyads in chronic care, considering the various types of chronic diseases and cultural diversities. 

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Dual-duty caregivers: formal and informal care roles and their implications among nursing workers

Background: A nursing worker who is also a caregiver of an elderly family member, plays a dual-duty role, which is challenging and requires knowledge, skills and professional experience. The interaction between family and work entails a spillover between the two, and affects employees and healthcare organizations. Objectives: The current exploration study examined differences between nursing employees who hold a dual role and those who do not, while identifying implications of the dual-duty role and the correlations between them at the individual level that might negatively affect the organization. Methods: A cross-sectional quantitative study was conducted, including 158 staff members from nursing homes in Israel: 41.8% were also informal caregivers for elderly family members, 62.5% were women, and 79.2% were Arabs. A self-administered questionnaire was used to measure workload, family-work conflict, absenteeism, tardiness, and intentions to leave the organization. Participants with a dual role tended to be older, had more children, had worked for longer period, and held part-time positions compared to those who do not. Results: Preliminary results showed no significant differences between the two groups. Pearson correlations revealed that workload and family-work conflict were positively associated with leaving intentions (dual-role caregivers: r=.30, p<.05, r=.45, p<.01; others: r=.61, p<.01, r=.34, p<.05). Among the dual-role group, workload was related to absenteeism (r=.27, p<.05), and family-work conflict was related to absenteeism and tardiness (r=.24, r=.29, p<.05). Among the other group, only family-work conflict was associated with tardiness (r=.33, p< .01). Conclusions: As negative consequences were indicated for workers with a dual-duty role, additional research in the healthcare sector should be conducted, leading to intervention programs for helping employees and organizations deal with the dual role and serving as the basis of policies and procedures. Key messages Nursing workers often suffer from workload and family-work conflict. Workload and family-work conflict among dual-duty caregivers might result in withdrawal behaviors (tardiness and absenteeism).

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Determinants of informal care‐giving in various social relationships in the Netherlands

Objectives: This study investigates determinants for offering help to family members, neighbours and friends, based on the Informal Care Model. Methods: We do so in pooled representative data for the Netherlands collected in 2014 and 2016 (persons >17 years, n = 13,165). Results: One‐third provides informal care to a person with health problems or impairments: partners (4%, n = 671), parents or children (16%, n = 2,381), distant relatives (6%, n = 858), friends or neighbours (6%, n = 839). Marginal effects show differences in the associations of care‐giving relationships with sociodemographic factors, barriers and beliefs. Helping a partner is related to age, gender (older people and men are more likely to help) and household composition (singles help less often). Care for close family is given often by 45–64 year olds, women, multiperson households and those with strong family beliefs. Helping second‐degree relatives correlates with age (young people help more often), barriers (those living with children help less often) and beliefs (people with professional background in care and people who attend church or mosque helping more often). Providing non‐kin care is associated with age and education level (young people less likely to help, people with a high education more likely), barriers (having a fulltime job) and beliefs (work experience in care, church or mosque attendance and norms). The supply of care to partners and close family is mainly associated with sociodemographic factors and barriers while the provision of care to distant family and non‐kin is also correlated with beliefs. Conclusions: If desirable policy is to create more informal care, investment in the combination of work and informal care, childcare and supportive arrangements for older community living couples is recommended. It also might be worthwhile to enhance beliefs about the usefulness of helping each other in times of need.

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Money transfers within caring dyads: some open research questions

By its definition, care is not (financially) reimbursed. However, care recipients often provide material and/or financial support to their carers, which may be related to a range of psychological and social outcomes, such as the financial fragility of care recipients, changes in the quality of relationships and care, or psychological burden. In this article, I provide a brief overview of the extant knowledge on the topic and discuss some of the research questions that should be addressed in the future, both through analyses of longitudinal data and through focused research projects, linking them to the aforementioned outcomes and overall well-being of the carers.

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Challenges to Family Caregivers in Caring for Gastric Cancer Patients from Perspectives of Family Caregivers, Patients, and Healthcare Providers: A Qualitative Study

Objectives: Cancer affects both patients and their families. Sometimes, the effects of cancer on families are greater than its effects on patients. Family caregivers play significant roles in care for patients with cancer. Nonetheless, the data on the challenges they face in caregiving are limited. The present study explored the perspectives of patients with gastric cancer (GC), their family caregivers, and healthcare providers regarding family caregivers' challenges in caregiving to patients with GC. Methods: This descriptive exploratory qualitative study was conducted in 2019-2020. Six GC patients, six family caregivers, three physicians, and five nurses took part for a total of twenty participants. Purposive sampling was performed, and data were collected through semi-structured interviews and continued up to data saturation. Conventional content analysis was used for data analysis. Results: Caregivers' challenges in caregiving to patients with GC were grouped into five main categories, namely, lengthy process of GC diagnosis, delivery of bad news, management of physical symptoms, altered relationships, and psychological consequences, and 14 subcategories. Conclusion: Educating the public about the primary symptoms of GC and the importance of timely seeking medical care as well as using culturally appropriate protocols for delivering bad news is recommended. Empowering family caregivers for the effective management of GC symptoms and caregiving-related challenges are also recommended to reduce their caregiver burden. 

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Caring for each other: a rapid review of how mutual dependency is challenged by advanced illness

Background: This review explores factors sustaining and threatening couples' relationships when both have advanced illness. Methods: Qualitative studies exploring relationships between two people in a marriage/partnership with advanced illness are included. Findings: A total of 12 articles are included. Internal enabling factors, external enabling factors and threatening factors are identified. However, there is limited evidence internationally on factors sustaining these relationships and crisis factors. Little is known about the impact of crises on couples and the process of change from mutual dependency to carer and cared for. Conclusions: The article concludes that shifts by services towards holistic care focused on the couple's needs are indicated.

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Can a Dyadic Resiliency Program Improve Quality of Life in Cognitively Intact Dyads of Neuro-ICU Survivors and Informal Caregivers? Results from a Pilot RCT

Background: Neuro-ICU hospitalization for an acute neurological illness is often traumatic and associated with heightened emotional distress and reduced quality of life (QoL) for both survivors and their informal caregivers (i.e., family and friends providing unpaid care). In a pilot study, we previously showed that a dyadic (survivor and caregiver together) resiliency intervention (Recovering Together [RT]) was feasible and associated with sustained improvement in emotional distress when compared with an attention placebo educational control. Here we report on changes in secondary outcomes assessing QoL. Methods: Survivors (n = 58) and informal caregivers (n = 58) completed assessments at bedside and were randomly assigned to participate together as a dyad in the RT or control intervention (both 6 weeks, two in-person sessions at bedside and four sessions via live video post discharge). We measured QoL domain scores (physical health, psychological, social relations, and environmental), general QoL, and QoL satisfaction using the World Health Organization Quality of Life Abbreviated Instrument at baseline, post treatment, and 3 months’ follow-up. We conducted mixed model analyses of variance with linear contrasts to estimate (1) within-group changes in QoL from baseline to post treatment and from post treatment to 3 months’ follow-up and (2) between-group differences in changes in QoL from baseline to post treatment and from post treatment to 3 months’ follow-up. Results: We found significant within-group improvements from baseline to post treatment among RT survivors for physical health QoL (mean difference 1.73; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.39–3.06; p = 0.012), environmental QoL (mean difference 1.29; 95% CI 0.21–2.36; p = 0.020), general QoL (mean difference 0.55; 95% CI 0.13–0.973; p = 0.011), and QoL satisfaction (mean difference 0.87; 95% CI 0.36–1.37; p = 0.001), and those improvements sustained through the 3-month follow-up. We found no significant between-group improvements for survivors or caregivers from baseline to post treatment or from post treatment to 3 months’ follow-up for any QoL variables (i.e., domains, general QoL, and QoL satisfaction together). Conclusions: In this pilot study, we found improved QoL among survivors, but not in caregivers, who received RT and improvements sustained over time. These RT-related improvements were not significantly greater than those observed in the control. Results support a fully powered randomized controlled trial to allow for a definitive evaluation of RT-related effects among dyads of survivors of acute brain injury and their caregivers. 

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A systematic review of psychosocial interventions for Latinx and American Indian patient-family caregiver dyads coping with chronic health conditions

Background: Latinx and American Indians experience high rates of chronic health conditions. Family members play a significant role as informal caregivers for loved ones with chronic conditions and both patients and family caregivers report poor psychosocial outcomes. Objectives and Methods: This systematic review synthesizes published studies about psychosocial interventions for Latinx and American Indian care dyads to determine: (i) the benefits of these interventions; (ii) their distinguishing features or adaptations, and; (iii) recommendations for future intervention development. Findings: Out of 366 records identified, seven studies met inclusion criteria. Interventions demonstrated benefits to outcomes such as disease knowledge, caregiver self-efficacy and burden, patient and caregiver well-being, symptom distress, anxiety and depression, and dyadic communication. Distinguishing features included tailoring to cultural values, beliefs, and delivery preferences, participants’ level of acculturation, and population-specific issues such as migratory stressors and support networks. Conclusions: Based upon this review, six recommendations for future intervention development are put forth. 

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The emotional experience of caregiving in dementia: Feelings of guilt and ambivalence underlying narratives of family caregivers

Objective: The aim of this study was to explore narrative domains of family caregivers’ emotional experiences, beyond intentional and explicitly reported contents, and to examine their associations with subjects defining characteristics, such as gender, kinship, duration of caregiving, and burden levels. Methods: The study participants were 17 Italian family caregivers (88.23% women) with a mean age of 59.14 years (SD = 7.76), who provided their loved ones affected by dementia with in-home care. Structured interviews and Caregiver Burden Inventory were administered according to a mixed method design. A computer-aided text analysis was used which allowed the detection of shared narrative domains (cluster analysis) and latent factors organizing the contraposition between them (multiple correspondence analysis). Findings: Five narrative domains emerged which were respectively referred to as perceived formal support (14.38% of the overall textual corpus), devotion (33.56%), anger (13.70%), sense of loss (18.49%), and feeling of uncertainty (19.86%). Kinship, duration of caregiving, and burden levels were differently associated with such domains. Two latent factors dealing with feelings of guilt and ambivalence explained 62.92% of overall data variance. Conclusion: Guilt feelings should be carefully taken into account in support intervention with caregivers, with specific regard to stress and anger management. As well, a greater focus on caregivers’ emotion regulation and on the promotion of their problem-solving skills is needed when faced with contrasting beliefs about care decisions or role conflicts. 

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Tensions in support for family caregivers of people with dementia in Singapore: A qualitative study

Background: Family members as informal caregivers are considered the first line of support for people with dementia across the world. In Singapore, caregiving expectations revolve around the cultural expectations of providing care in the home environment. However, studies in Singapore have identified a lack of family support for primary caregivers. Family support has been discussed in the literature as the provision of care for people with dementia, and rarely as a resource for family caregivers. Method: To understand family support among primary caregivers in Singapore, 24 semi-structured interviews were conducted. Thematic analysis found four themes: excuses for lack of physical support for the caregiver, tensions between cultural expectations of caregiving and the provision of support, unmet emotional support, and lack of awareness of dementia and caregiving needs. Findings: Caregivers rationalized and forgave the absence of physical support but were frustrated when the lack of support impacted people with dementia. This was seen as a lack of fulfilling cultural obligations of caring for elderly parents. The caregivers also felt frustrated with the lack of emotional support provided to them, but these were unspoken between the caregiver and the family members. Insufficient and unhelpful support giving was exacerbated with the perception of family members’ limited understanding of the demands of caregiving. Conclusion: The findings offer four practical suggestions to address unmet support needs. First, public education is needed to enhance general knowledge about the symptoms and progression of dementia. Second, help is needed to address miscommunication about support within the family. Third, the development of guidebooks is needed to help family caregivers communicate with family members about their various support needs. Fourth, the relationship between cultural expectation and caregiving must be understood within the context of modernity and urbanism. 

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A Biopsychosocial-Ecological Framework for Family-Framed Dementia Care

Background: The biopsychosocial model has been applied through collaborative care dementia models to the diagnosis, symptom management, and treatment of dementia with a focus specifically on the person with dementia. Because individuals with dementia are increasingly dependent upon others particularly as the illness advances, dementia care requires the involvement and commitment of others, usually family, along with support from community-based resources. Hence, the quality and effectiveness of a person's dementia care are shaped in large part by the foundation of family relationships and the social and community networks in which they are embedded. While most current dementia care models incorporate biopsychosocial principles and recognize the essential role that family members play as caregivers, they fail to consider a patient's family system and relationships as potential risk factors or social determinants for care outcomes. Objective: This paper introduces a biopsychosocial-ecological framework to dementia care that is person-centered and “family-framed” in that it targets factors that influence care considerations at both the individual and relational levels of the social ecological networks that the patient and their family members occupy. Method and Findings: We use this model to illustrate how current dementia care practices tend to focus exclusively on the individual patient and caregiver levels but fail to identify and address important relational considerations that cut across levels. Conclusions: We call for the need to add assessment of family relational histories of persons with dementia and family members who care for them in order to better meet the needs of the patient and the caregiver and to prevent harm. This model accentuates the need for interprofessional education on family assessments and caregiver-centered care, as well as interdisciplinary, collaborative models of dementia care that assume more accountability for meeting the needs of family caregivers in addition to those of persons with dementia. 

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“What do we fear the most?”: Exploring fears and concerns of patients, family members and dyads in end‐stage renal disease

Background: End‐stage renal disease (ESRD) and the need for haemodialysis (HD) treatment are increasing. The course of the disease and all the life readjustments needed may generate a multitude of fears in patients and families.AimThis study aimed to explore the main fears and concerns of patients with ESRD undergoing HD and their family members. Methods: A qualitative study was performed.MethodsIndividual semi‐structured interviews were conducted with three groups: 20 patients, 14 family caregivers and 15 patient–family dyads. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim and submitted to thematic analysis. Findings: Five major themes emerged: (i) fear of death (fear of earlier death, fear of a sudden death and fear of dying); (ii) fear of problems during HD (fears related to the vascular access, and fear of complications during HD); (iii) concerns related to the disease (fear of loss of autonomy, fears of getting worse, fears related to renal transplantation and concerns about dietary restrictions); (iv) fear about the future; and (v) absence of fears and concerns. Conclusion: Patients with ESRD undergoing HD and their family members expressed different fears related to the disease and the treatments required. Renal care staff must acknowledge and understand such concerns and help patients and families to cope. This is important to improving people's quality of life (QoL), the dialogue between health professionals, patients, and family members, and the care offered by the dialysis care settings. Moreover, this study highlights the impact this disease has at a familial level. Future family‐based interventions should acknowledge possible fears and concerns of this population and integrate them into their programs.

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“What do we fear the most?”: Exploring fears and concerns of patients, family members and dyads in end‐stage renal disease

Introduction: End‐stage renal disease (ESRD) and the need for haemodialysis (HD) treatment are increasing. The course of the disease and all the life readjustments needed may generate a multitude of fears in patients and families. Objectives: This study aimed to explore the main fears and concerns of patients with ESRD undergoing HD and their family members. Methods: A qualitative study was performed.MethodsIndividual semi‐structured interviews were conducted with three groups: 20 patients, 14 family caregivers and 15 patient–family dyads. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim and submitted to thematic analysis. Findings: Five major themes emerged: (i) fear of death (fear of earlier death, fear of a sudden death and fear of dying); (ii) fear of problems during HD (fears related to the vascular access, and fear of complications during HD); (iii) concerns related to the disease (fear of loss of autonomy, fears of getting worse, fears related to renal transplantation and concerns about dietary restrictions); (iv) fear about the future; and (v) absence of fears and concerns. Conclusions: Patients with ESRD undergoing HD and their family members expressed different fears related to the disease and the treatments required. Renal care staff must acknowledge and understand such concerns and help patients and families to cope. This is important to improving people's quality of life (QoL), the dialogue between health professionals, patients, and family members, and the care offered by the dialysis care settings. Moreover, this study highlights the impact this disease has at a familial level. Future family‐based interventions should acknowledge possible fears and concerns of this population and integrate them into their programs.

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WeChat use among family caregivers of people living with schizophrenia and its relationship to caregiving experiences

Objectives: This study examines WeChat use among family caregivers of persons living with schizophrenia (PLS), its socio-demographic correlates and relationship to caregiving experiences, including perceived stress, stigma, coping, social support, family functioning, and caregiving rewarding feelings. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with 449 family caregivers of PLS. Face-to-face interviews were conducted to collect information on socio-demographics, WeChat use, and a range of caregiving experiences. Results: The results indicated that nearly half (46.8%) of caregivers were WeChat users. WeChat use was associated with higher education (OR = 3.34–9.88, 95% CI : 2.01, 24.77), and younger age (OR = 0.94, 95% CI : 0.92, 0.97). Compared to non-users, WeChat users reported less stigma (b = −1.84, 95% CI : −3.40, −0.28), higher social support (b = 6.62, 95% CI : 2.73, 10.50), better family functioning (b = 1.08, 95% CI : 0.38,1.78), and more caregiving rewarding feelings (b = 3.93, 95% CI : 2.01, 5.85). WeChat use among caregivers of PLS was lower than that found in the general population, which warrants specific attention to this group with alternative support and resources provided to them. Conclusions: WeChat use is associated with more favorable caregiving experiences, and thus serves as a promising medium for further health intervention to support family caregivers, and improve their well-being. 

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Videoconferenced Yoga Interventions for Cancer Patients and their Caregivers during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Report from a Clinician’s Perspective

Background: The acceptability of videoconferencing delivery of yoga interventions in the advanced cancer setting is relatively unexplored. The current report summarizes the challenges and solutions of the transition from an in-person (ie, face-to-face) to a videoconference intervention delivery approach in response to the Coronavirus Disease pandemic. Method: Participants included patient-family caregiver dyads who were enrolled in ongoing yoga trials and 2 certified yoga therapists who delivered the yoga sessions. We summarized their experiences using recordings of the yoga sessions and interventionists’ progress notes. Results: Out of 7 dyads participating in the parent trial, 1 declined the videoconferenced sessions. Participants were between the ages of 55 and 76 and mostly non-Hispanic White (83%). Patients were mainly male (83%), all had stage III or IV cancer and were undergoing radiotherapy. Caregivers were all female. Despite challenges in the areas of technology, location, and setting, instruction and personal connection, the overall acceptability was high among patients, caregivers, and instructors. Through this transition process, solutions to these challenges were found, which are described here. Conclusion: Although in-person interventions are favored by both the study participants and the interventionists, videoconference sessions were deemed acceptable. All participants had the benefit of a previous in-person experience, which was helpful and perhaps necessary for older and advanced cancer patients requiring practice modifications. In a remote setting, the assistance of caregivers seems particularly beneficial to ensure practice safety. ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT03948100; NCT02481349 © 2021 Sage Publications.

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Validating the Chinese version of the Cancer Survivors' Partners Unmet Needs measure (C‐CaSPUN) and exploring unmet needs in Chinese cancer survivor–family caregiver dyads

Objectives: To evaluate the psychometric properties of the C‐CaSPUN in Chinese family caregivers (FCs) of cancer survivors (CaS) and to compare the unmet needs of CaS‐FC dyads. Methods: A questionnaire survey, consisting of five Chinese version measurement scales, was used to collect data from CaS‐FC dyads. Statistical methods used included exploratory factor analysis (EFA), confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), Cronbach's α, intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and Pearson's correlation. Results: Participants consisted of 610 survivor–caregiver dyads. EFA and CFA established the four‐factor construct C‐CaSPUN, comprising relationship impact and life perspective, information and health care, quality of life (QoL) and survivorship care. All of the C‐CaSPUN scales had good internal reliability (Cronbach's α ≥ 0.752). The ICC for test–retest ranged from 0.645 to 0.782 at the scale level, with an average ICC value of 0.653. The concurrent validity was evidenced by C‐CaSPUN being negatively associated with SF‐12 MCS and positively related to anxiety and/or depression. In addition, the correlation coefficient scores between C‐CaSPUN factors and the C‐CaSUN total scale ranged from moderate to good (r = 0.505–0.671). Conclusions: Study findings may support the reliability and validity of the C‐CaSPUN in measuring the unmet needs of FCs of Chinese CaS.

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Unrecognized: Kinship care by young aunts, siblings and other young people

Background: Much literature about kinship care has focused on grandparents, with limited attention to other kinship carers. Methods: This article describes results from the second part of an Australian research project that explored the prevalence, experiences and support needs of kinship carers aged 18-30 years through interviews with 41 kinship carers. Most were sisters or aunts. Results: Findings included deep commitment of the carers to children in their care and the children's positive development over time. Young kinship carers described personal costs of caring, including sudden adjustment to the task of parenting distressed children, suspension of studies, jobs and career development, pressures of intrafamilial conflict, a lack of recognition of their existence and support needs, and above all, financial stress. Conclusion: The need for multifaceted support to be available to this group of kinship carers is identified.

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'The Woman Gives': Exploring gender and relationship factors in HIV advance care planning among African American caregivers

Aims and objective: Advance care planning (ACP) is the communication process of documenting future healthcare preferences in case patients are unable to make healthcare decisions for themselves. Research suggests ACP discussions among persons living with HIV (PLHIV) are infrequent overall and may differ by gender and/or race. Background: Previous literature has displayed that African Americans are less likely than other racial groups to use advanced care planning, palliative care or hospice, but does not conclusively account for ACP among PLHIV. African American PLHIV rely on informal care that may be differ by gender and represents an important pathway to increase ACP. Design: The study was mixed methods and observational. Methods: Participants completed self‐report surveys (N = 311) and were interviewed (n = 11). Poisson regression (quantitative) and grounded theory analyses (qualitative) were implemented, using COREQ checklist principles to ensure study rigor. Results: Less than half had discussed ACP (41.2%; N = 267). More ACP knowledge predicted 76% lower likelihood of ACP discussions among women. Men who spent more time caregiving in a given week were nearly 3 times more likely to discuss ACP than men who spent less time caregiving. Women were more likely than men to be caregivers and were also expected to serve in that role more than men, which was qualitatively described as 'being a woman'. Conclusions: The present study is one of few studies exploring ACP among caregivers in African American populations hardest hit by HIV. Results suggest that ACP skill building and education are critical for African Americans living with HIV to promote ACP discussions with their caregivers. Knowledge about ACP topics was low overall even when healthcare had recently been accessed. Support reciprocity and gender‐specific communication skill building may facilitate ACP in African American HIV informal caregiving relationships. Relevance to Clinical Practice: Results underscore the need for ACP education which includes healthcare providers and caregivers, given African Americans' preference for life‐sustaining treatments at end‐of‐life. ACP is crucial now more than ever, as COVID‐19 complicates care for older adults with HIV at high risk of complications.

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What does anorexia nervosa mean? Qualitative study of the representation of the eating disorder, the role of the family and treatment by maternal caregivers

Background: Anorexia nervosa is a serious health problem worldwide. The literature widely recognises the roles of the family and caregivers in modulating the onset, development, maintenance and treatment of this disorder. However, few studies have addressed the problem from the perspective of maternal caregivers. Aims: This study aims to fill this gap by exploring how the meaning given to the term ‘eating disorder’ influences how mothers communicate with each other about a family member's health problems, how they present symptoms and how this problem is managed. Method: A narrative research project was conducted to capture the mothers’ experiences of living with a daughter diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. In particular, four semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore the ways in which they made sense of the disorder, their roles in treatment and their daughters’ treatment experiences. Results: The results show that the ways in which mothers characterise the disease guide their method of tackling it and the relationship they have with their daughter, as well as how they see their role in the care and treatment process. Conclusions: Anorexia is experienced as something that is uncontainable, and a dimension of its accommodation characterises the relationship between mothers and daughters receiving treatment for the disorder. Treatment is accompanied by a delegating dimension, and the clinical implications are discussed in this study.

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Transitioning to Long-Term Care: Family Caregiver Experiences of Dementia, Communities, and Counseling

Objectives: Previous analyses of interventions targeting relationships between family caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias and residential long-term care (RLTC) staff showed modest associations with caregiver outcomes. This analysis aimed to better understand interpersonal and contextual factors that influence caregiver–staff relationships and identify targets for future interventions to improve these relationships. Methods: Using a parallel convergent mixed methods approach to analyze data from an ongoing counseling intervention trial, descriptive statistics characterized the sample of 85 caregivers and thematic analyses explored their experiences over 4 months. Results: The findings illustrated that communication, perceptions of care, and relationships with staff are valued by family caregivers following the transition of a relative with dementia to RLTC. Discussion: The findings deepen understanding of potential intervention targets and mechanisms. These results can inform future psychosocial and psychoeducational approaches that assist, validate, and empower family caregivers during the transition to RLTC.

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Transforming lived places into the connected neighbourhood: a longitudinal narrative study of five couples where one partner has an early diagnosis of dementia

Background: To support people with dementia to live at home, a key national and international policy driver is to create dementia-friendly communities which draws attention to the importance of a local neighbourhood and living well with dementia. However, there is a lack of evidence about how people with dementia define and interact with their neighbourhood. Methods: This longitudinal narrative research aimed to uncover the meaning, construction and place of neighbourhood in the lives of people with dementia and their care partners through a participatory approach. Five couples, where one partner had an early diagnosis of dementia and capacity to consent, participated in the (up to) one-year mixed qualitative method study. During this time-frame, 65 home visits were conducted, resulting in over 57 hours of interview data alongside the development of other artefacts, such as neighbourhood maps, photographs, diaries and field notes. Narrative analysis was applied within and across the data-sets. Findings: This led to the emergence of three themes to describe a connected neighbourhood. First, 'connecting to people' is about the couples' connections with family members, friends and neighbours through a sense of belonging, group identification and responsibilities. Second, 'connecting to places' shares the couples' emotional and biographical attachment to places. Third, 'connecting to resources' refers to the couples actively seeking support to live independently and to retain neighbourhood connections.

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Trajectories of family care over the lifecourse: evidence from Canada

Background: In the midst of a 'care crisis', attention has turned again to families who are viewed both as untapped care resources and as disappearing ones. Methods: Within this apparent policy/demographic impasse, we test empirically theorised trajectories of family care, creating evidence of diverse patterns of care across the lifecourse. The study sample, drawn from a Statistics Canada national survey of family care, comprised all Canadians aged 65 and older who had ever provided care (N = 3,299). Results: Latent Profile Analysis yielded five distinct care trajectories: compressed generational, broad generational, intensive parent care, career care and serial care. They differed in age of first care experience, number of care episodes, total years of care and amount of overlap among episodes. Trajectories generally corresponded to previously hypothesised patterns but with additional characteristics that added to our understanding of diversity in lifecourse patterns of care. Conclusion: The five trajectories identified provide the basis for further understanding how time and events unfold in various ways across lifecourses of care. A gap remains in understanding how relationships with family and social network members evolve in the context of care. A challenge is presented to policy makers to temper a 'families by stealth' policy approach with one that supports family carers who are integral to health and social care systems.

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Towards a middle-range theory of ‘Stability of home-based care arrangements for people living with dementia’ (SoCA-Dem): findings from a meta-study on mixed research

Background: Most people with dementia and their informal carers live at home and strive to create a stable care situation for as long as possible. This preference of dyads is consistent with the global policy of ageing in place. Therefore, we aimed to develop a middle-range theory of stability guided by two research questions: How is stability of home-based care arrangements for people living with dementia constituted? What are the essential factors influencing stability? Methods: Within the 'Stability of home-based care arrangements for people living with dementia' project (SoCA project) at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), we conducted a meta-study on mixed research. The analytical steps of meta-data analysis, meta-method and meta-theory are merged in an integrative synthesis. Eligible publications were identified through systematic database searches (MEDLINE, CINAHL and PsycINFO; last searched on 3 January 2017), backward/forward citation tracking and snowballing. All publications were screened against predefined inclusion criteria and evaluated through a quality appraisal. The analytical approach was thematic synthesis. Results: 99 publications were included. The middle-range theory conceptualises stability as a complex phenomenon comprising three components including eight concepts that are dynamically inter-related. The conceptual model visualises: (1) the trajectory of the dementia care arrangement, which involves a cyclic process of change and balancing over time; (2) the characteristics of the care arrangement, including needs, the carer role, the dyadic relationship and resources; and (3) the context, which is determined by society and culture and the respective healthcare system. The relevance of each concept in relation to stability changes over time. The forming of each concept is actively shaped by the informal carer. Discussion: This middle-range theory provides a thorough understanding of the stability of home-based care arrangements for people living with dementia and can be used to guide future research and practice. This meta-study was funded by the DZNE and registered in PROSPERO (registration number CRD42016041727).

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A Systematic Review of Clinical Interventions Facilitating End-of-Life Communication Between Patients and Family Caregivers

Background: Communication between patients and family caregivers plays a key role in successful end-of-life (EOL) care. In the majority of cases, health-care providers (HCP) are responsible for leading this communication in clinical settings. Objectives: This systematic review aimed to examine the evidence for the efficacy of HCP-led interventions in enhancing communication between patients and family caregivers. Methods: The review followed Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines and involved a search of MEDLINE via PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus, Embase, and PsycINFO as well as a manual search for additional articles on Google Scholar without date restrictions. Of 2955 articles retrieved, 8 meeting the eligibility criteria were included in the review. A quality appraisal of the selected studies was performed using the van Tulder Scale, with 5 of 8 studies rated as high quality. Results: All 8 studies employed psychoeducational interventions involving both patients and surrogate/family caregivers. Common elements of the interventions reviewed included encouraging participant dyads to share their concerns about the patient's medical condition, clarify their goals and values for EOL care, and discuss their EOL care preferences. Of 8 interventions reviewed, 6 measured EOL care preference congruence within dyads as a primary outcome, and all 6 interventions were effective in increasing congruence. Secondary outcomes measured included decisional conflict and relationship quality, with mixed outcomes reported. Conclusions: This review suggests that HCP-led EOL communication interventions show promise for improving EOL care preference congruence. However, further studies with improved methodological rigor are needed to establish the optimal timing, intensity, and duration of interventions.

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Symptom distress and quality of life among Black Americans with cancer and their family caregivers

Objective: Black Americans are disproportionately affected by cancer and chronic diseases. Black patients with cancer and their family caregivers may concurrently experience symptoms that influence their wellbeing. This study investigates the influence of mental and physical symptom distress on quality of life (QOL) among Black Americans with cancer and their family caregivers from a dyadic perspective. Methods: One hundred and fifty‐one dyads comprised of a Black American with breast, colorectal, lung or prostate cancer and a Black family caregiver were included in this secondary analysis of pooled baseline data from three studies. Self‐reports of problems managing 13 symptoms were used to measure mental and physical symptom distress. Descriptive statistics and the actor‐partner interdependence model were used to examine symptom prevalence and the influence of each person's symptom distress on their own and each other's QOL. Results: Fatigue, sleep problems, pain and mental distress were prevalent. Patients and caregivers reported similar levels of mental distress; however, patients reported higher physical distress. Increased patient mental distress was associated with decreased patient QOL (overall, emotional, social, functional). Increased patient physical distress was associated with decreased patient QOL (overall, physical, emotional, functional) and decreased caregiver emotional wellbeing. Increased caregiver mental distress was associated with decreased caregiver QOL (overall, emotional, social, functional) and decreased patient overall QOL. Increased caregiver physical distress was associated with decreased caregiver QOL (overall, physical, functional), decreased patient emotional wellbeing, and better patient social wellbeing. Conclusions: Supporting symptom management in Black patient/caregiver dyads may improve their QOL.

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Struggling Together: Examining the Narratives of Interdependence and Healing Within Romantic Relationships After Stroke

Background: The consequences of a brain injury can introduce ripple effects within a family for years after the initial event. Objectives: In this study, we focused on the experiences of couples negotiating their relationship after stroke. Methods: We specifically concentrated on the changes to couples' interdependence and the relational ramifications of those changes. Findings: Interview data from 41 participants (including 20 people who have had a stroke and 21 caregiving partners) suggest that as individuals noticed changes in themselves and their partner, they also noted significant changes within their relationship. As couples encountered their new relational dynamic, they had to manage various struggles including how to provide assistance, how to communicate effectively, and how to reframe their situation. Conclusions: Overall, couples relayed a trajectory of post-stroke life that involved a level of mutual influence that did not seem to exist prior to stroke.

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Structuring unequal relations: role trajectories in informal dementia care

Background: Transitions into informal care roles are associated with various characteristics, for example gender and geographic proximity, but such associations are insufficient to explain role delegation, overlooking the interpersonal structure–agency nexuses that constitute role trajectories. Methods: This paper explores unequal role delegation within 7 families affected by dementia, presenting data from interviews with 7 people with dementia and 26 carers living in the community in the United Kingdom. Findings: Two key care roles are identified: the relatively un‐involved role of peripheral actors and the lynchpin role of main carers who take on most of the care tasks. These roles emerge from negotiations around a range of extraneous factors that collectively comprise cumulative baggage, including historic conflicts and childcare commitments. The unequal distribution of care reflects widely noted demographic associations with role delegation, but is enacted and justified through the interpersonal negotiation of personalised meanings regarding individual circumstances and suitability. Conclusions: Though deeply personal when taken at face value, these meanings imbibe sociocultural norms and political economies of care to structurally position family members in relation to each other and signpost appropriate candidates for caring roles, even before such care is required.

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Sociodemographic aspects and health care-related outcomes: a latent class analysis of informal dementia care dyads

Background: Studies revealed the importance to assess dementia care dyads, composed of persons with dementia and their primary informal caregivers, in a differentiated way and to tailor support services to particular living and care circumstances. Therefore, this study aims first to identify classes of dementia care dyads that differ according to sociodemographic, care-related and dementia-specific characteristics and second, to compare these classes with regard to healthcare-related outcomes. Methods: We used data from the cross-sectional German DemNet-D study (n = 551) and conducted a latent class analysis to investigate different classes of dementia care dyads. In addition, we compared these classes with regard to the use of health care services, caregiver burden (BIZA-D), general health of the informal caregiver (EQ-VAS) as well as quality of life (QoL-AD) and social participation (SACA) of the person with dementia. Furthermore, we compared the stability of the home-based care arrangements. Results: Six different classes of dementia care dyads were identified, based on best Bayesian Information Criterion (BIC), significant likelihood ratio test (p < 0.001), high entropy (0.87) and substantive interpretability. Classes were labelled as “adult child parent relationship & younger informal caregiver”, “adult child parent relationship & middle aged informal caregiver”, “non family relationship & younger informal caregiver”, “couple & male informal caregiver of older age”, “couple & female informal caregiver of older age”, “couple & younger informal caregiver”. The classes showed significant differences regarding health care service use. Caregiver burden, quality of life of the person with dementia and stability of the care arrangement differed also significantly between the classes. Conclusion: Based on a latent class analysis this study indicates differences between classes of informal dementia care dyads. The findings may give direction for better tailoring of support services to particular circumstances to improve healthcare-related outcomes of persons with dementia and informal caregivers.

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Sociocultural Influences on the Feeling of Loneliness of Family Caregivers of People with Dementia: The Role of Kinship

Background: The extent to which familism, dysfunctional thoughts, and coping variables contribute to explaining feelings of loneliness in caregivers, controlling for kinship, is analyzed. Methods: Participants were 273 family caregivers of people with dementia. Sociodemographic variables, familism, dysfunctional thoughts, coping strategies for requesting and receiving help, perceived social support, and leisure activities were assessed. The fit of a theoretical model for explaining the effect of cultural and psychological variables on feelings of loneliness in each kinship group was tested. Results: No significant differences in the distribution of loneliness by kinship were found. Higher levels of familism are associated with more dysfunctional thoughts, that are linked to more maladaptive strategies for coping with caring (e.g., less social support and fewer leisure activities). This in turn is associated with higher scores in the feeling of loneliness. The model bore particular relevance to the group of daughters, husbands, and sons, yet not in the case of wives. Conclusions: Sociocultural and coping factors associated with the caring process seem to play an important role in explaining feelings of loneliness in caregivers. Sociocultural factors associated with the care process seem to play an important role in explaining feelings of loneliness in caregivers.

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Social Support and Family Functioning in Chinese Families of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Background: Families caring for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have reported poorer family functioning. Social support might strengthen family functioning, but limited research to date has focused on this association in China. Methods: This study conducted a cross-sectional survey of Chinese families that have children with ASD to examine the relationship between social support and family functioning. Caregivers of children with ASD from Sichuan province in China (N = 167) were surveyed concerning their perceived social support and family functioning. The Social Support Rating Scale was used to investigate caregivers’ perceived social support from three dimensions: subjective support, objective support, and the utilization of support. A Chinese version of the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Scale was used to investigate their perceptions of family cohesion and adaptability. The Pearson correlation coefficient and stepwise multiple regression were used for analyses. Results: The results suggested that social support was positively related to family cohesion and adaptability. Of the three sub-domains of social support, both subjective support and the utilization of support were positively associated with family cohesion and adaptability. Conclusion: The study’s findings evidenced the importance of different types of social support and could be used to develop a targeted support service for families that have children with ASD to improve their family functioning and sustain the family unit.

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Relationship between social cohesion and the care burden of primary family caregivers in central Tokyo, Japan

Objectives: To clarify how the care burden of primary family caregivers is associated with social cohesion in an urban area of Tokyo, Japan.Study designCross‐sectional study. Methods: A questionnaire survey of primary family caregivers was conducted in Tokyo in 2015. Social cohesion was examined using the social capital indicators of Kondo et al, and the care burden of primary family caregivers was assessed by the Zarit Care Burden Interview Scale in Japanese short version (J‐ZBI_8). Data were analyzed by multiple regression models. Ethics approval was obtained to carry out this research. Results: Seventy‐nine caregivers responded to the questionnaires. After excluding 6 caregivers who did not respond appropriately to the questionnaire, 73 caregivers were included in the analyses. The average age of the primary family caregivers was 68.9 ± 12.7 years old, and that of the patients receiving care was 83.1 ± 10.0 years old. “Receipt of instrumental support” was significantly associated with reduced burden of care for family caregivers as assessed by the J‐ZBI_8 score (P = .027). Conclusion: This study suggested that social cohesion was significantly associated with reduced burden of care for primary family caregivers. Especially, the results suggested that “social support: receipt of instrumental support” was associated with a lower burden of care after adjustment for confounding factors. It is important to understand family structure and social community differences such as informal social support for future policy making.

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Reciprocity between older adults and their care-givers in emigrant households of Kerala, India

Background: The felt obligation to return a benefit, termed reciprocity, has been identified as motivating care exchanges between older adults and their younger family members. Within the context of large-scale emigration of young adults from the Indian state of Kerala, this study examines how left-behind older adults and their family care-givers recognise, interpret and give meaning to reciprocal exchanges, expectations and obligations in their care relationship. Methods: Employing a social exchange perspective, we qualitatively explore the norm of reciprocity through in-depth interviews of 48 participants (older adults and their care-givers) from emigrant households. Findings: Older adults and their care-givers identified reciprocal notions in their care exchange relationship that provided an interpretive framework for describing expectations, motivations, obligations and experiences across care-giving relationships. Spousal care-givers derived reciprocal motives and mutual care obligations through the institution of marriage. Adult children recognised filial duties and responsibilities and were in principle prepared to provide care to their parents. Reciprocating the support received and the likelihood of intergenerational transfers motivated care exchanges from adult children to their older parents. Daughters-in-law executed transferred filial roles from their emigrant husbands and bore a larger burden of care. Primary adult care-givers relied on the 'demonstration effect', hoping that children observe the care-giving process and emulate it later. Conclusions: Imbalances and non-reciprocity in the care exchange led to frustrations and threatened the care relationships.

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Quality of life in caregivers of patients receiving chimeric antigen receptor T‐cell therapy

Objective: Informal family caregivers provide critical support for patients receiving chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T‐cell therapy. However, caregivers' experiences are largely unstudied. This study examined quality of life (QOL; physical functioning, pain, fatigue, anxiety, and depression), caregiving burden, and treatment‐related distress in caregivers in the first 6 months after CAR T‐cell therapy, when caregivers were expected to be most involved in providing care. Relationships between patients' clinical course and caregiver outcomes were also explored. Methods: Caregivers completed measures examining QOL and burden before patients' CAR T‐cell therapy and at days 90 and 180. Treatment‐related distress was assessed at days 90 and 180. Patients' clinical variables were extracted from medical charts. Change in outcomes was assessed using means and 99% confidence intervals. Association of change in outcomes with patient clinical variables was assessed with backward elimination analysis. Results: A total of 99 caregivers (mean age 59, 73% female) provided data. Regarding QOL, pain was significantly higher than population norms at baseline but improved by day 180 (p < .01). Conversely, anxiety worsened over time (p < .01). Caregiver burden and treatment‐related distress did not change over time. Worsening caregiver depression by day 180 was associated with lower patient baseline performance status (p < .01). Worse caregiver treatment‐related distress at day 180 was associated with lower performance status, intensive care unit admission, and lack of disease response at day 90 (ps < 0.01). Conclusions: Some CAR T‐cell therapy caregivers experience pain, anxiety, and burden, which may be associated patients' health status. Further research is warranted regarding the experience of CAR T‐cell therapy caregivers.

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Primary and secondary caregiver depressive symptoms and family functioning following a pediatric cancer diagnosis: an exploration of the buffering hypothesis

Objective: After diagnosis, caregivers of children with cancer, particularly mothers or primary caregivers (PCs), often show elevated depressive symptoms which may negatively impact family functioning. We tested PC and secondary caregiver (SC) depressive symptoms as predictors of family, co‐parenting, and marital functioning and whether having a non‐depressed SC buffers against potential negative effects of PC depressive symptoms. Methods: Families (N = 137) were recruited from two major children's hospitals following a diagnosis of pediatric cancer. Caregivers completed self‐report measures of depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiological Studies‐Depression Scale; Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale) and marital functioning (Dyadic Adjustment Scale) at 1‐month post‐diagnosis. A subset of families (n = 75) completed videotaped interaction tasks at approximately 3‐months post‐diagnosis that were coded for family and co‐parenting interactions. Results: Higher PC depressive symptoms at 1‐month post‐diagnosis was associated with higher adaptability and lower conflict in family functioning. PC depressive symptoms were also associated lower dyadic consensus and lower dyadic satisfaction. SC depressive symptoms were not significantly associated with any family/co‐parenting/marital functioning variables. Significant interaction analyses suggested that SC depressive symptoms moderated the effect of PC depressive symptoms on family cohesion, withdrawn parenting, and affective expression in the marriage, such that the relationship between PC depressive symptoms and poorer functioning was attenuated when SC depressive symptoms were at low or average levels. Conclusions: Having a nondepressed SC buffered against negative effects of PC depressive symptoms on certain domains of family, coparenting, and marital functioning. SCs may play a protective role for families of children with cancer.

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Preparing for partnerships in cancer care: an explorative analysis of the role of family-based caregivers

Background: Family-based ‘informal’ caregivers are critical to enable sustainable cancer care that produces optimal health outcomes but also gives rise to psychological burdens on caregivers. Evidence of psychosocial support for caregivers does not currently address the impacts of their role in providing clinical and health-related care for their loved ones. The present study sought to address this gap including with those from priority populations. Methods: Qualitative data was collected using focus group and interview methods. We purposively sampled caregivers identified as having a high burden of responsibility for providing clinical care including those from ethnic minority backgrounds, parental caregivers and those living rurally. Transcripts were subject to thematic analysis utilising a team-based approach. Results: Family-based caregivers included spouses (11), parents (7), children (1), siblings (1). Ten participants were from ethnic minority backgrounds and five participants were from regional or rural locations. Four resulting inter-related themes were; 1) Dual burden of providing clinical care and managing personal emotional distress; 2) Navigating healthcare partnership dynamics; 3) Developing a caregiving skillset, and 4) Unique supportive needs and barriers to access. These data provide evidence of the unique challenge of providing clinical care as part of family-based caregiving for a loved one with cancer, and the absence of support for caregivers to take up this role. Conclusion: Our findings highlight the substantial contribution of family-based caregivers to the provision of cancer care in contemporary health systems. Inadequate support for caregivers is apparent with regard to their role in providing clinical aspects of care such as medication administration and management. Support programs to prepare caregivers to provide clinical care while building capacity to manage their stressors and emotions through this challenging period may be valuable towards sustainable, person-centred care.

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Predictors of Family Caregiver Burden in Shanghai

Background: This study explored predictors of family caregiver burden against the backdrop of the rapidly aging population and gradually weakening family care in urban China. Methods: It used a unique sample from the 2017 survey on older adults with functional disability and their family caregivers in Shanghai, China. A multi-pronged approach and ordinary least squares (OLS) regression were employed to identify predictors of family caregiver burden. Results: Statistical analysis revealed that approximately 25% of caregivers felt stressed. Many independent variables related to caregivers, care recipients, their relationship, and social support had statistically significant impacts on caregiver burden. This study also found that caregiver educational level, caregiver family economic status, and the number of other caregivers had significant moderating effects on the correlation between older people's ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL) and family caregiver burden. Conclusions: Policy implications derived from those findings were also discussed.

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Predictors of Caregiver Burden in Delirium: Patient and Caregiver Factors

Background: The current study examined the association of patient factors, patient/caregiver relationships, and living arrangements with caregiver burden due to delirium. Methods: The sample included a subset (N = 207) of hospitalized medical and surgical patients (aged >70 years) enrolled in the Better Assessment of Illness Study and their care-givers. Results: The majority of caregivers were female (57%) and married (43%), and 47% reported living with the patient. Delirium occurred in 22% of the sample, and delirium severity, pre-existing cognitive impairment, and impairment of any activities of daily living (ADL) were associated with higher caregiver burden. However, only the ADL impairment of needing assistance with transfers was independently significantly associated with higher burden (p < 0.01). Child, child-in-law, and other relatives living with or apart from the patient reported significantly higher caregiver burden compared to spouse/partners (p < 0.01), indicating caregiver relationship and living arrangement are associated with burden. Conclusions: Future studies should examine additional factors contributing to delirium burden.

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Post‐traumatic stress symptoms in long‐term disease‐free cancer survivors and their family caregivers

Background: The experience of cancer is highly stressful and potentially traumatic. We assessed the presence of Post‐Traumatic Stress Symptoms (PTSS) in long‐term cancer survivors and their caregivers, while examining the association between PTSS and clinical, demographic and psychological variables in the long term. Methods: In this cross‐sectional study 212 survivor‐family caregiver dyads completed measures of post‐traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) (Impact of Event Scale), depression and anxiety (Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale). Coping strategies, fatigue, cognitive decline, stressful life events and psychopathological history were also assessed among survivors. Data were analyzed using mixed models, accounting both for individual and dyadic effects. Results: Cancer survivors and their caregivers were assessed after a mean of 6 years after treatment. Twenty per cent of survivors and 35.5% of caregivers had possible posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), while 23 patients (11.0%) and 33 caregivers (15.6%) had probable PTSD. Among cancer patients, the severity of post‐traumatic symptoms was associated with an anxious coping style, previous psychopathology and depression (p < 0.001), whereas among caregivers it was associated with depression and having a closer relationship with patients (p < 0.001). Patients’ depression was associated with caregivers’ intrusion symptoms. Conclusions: High levels of cancer‐related PTSS were still present several years after treatment in both survivors and caregivers. Psychopathology may derive from complex interactions among coping, previous disorders and between‐person dynamics.

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Partnerships in nursing homes: How do family caregivers of residents with dementia perceive collaboration with staff?

Background: Partnerships between family and nursing staff in nursing homes are essential to address residents' needs and wishes. Collaboration is needed to create partnerships; nonetheless, challenges exist. Aim: This study aimed to gain insights into the experiences of families collaborating with staff. Method: Semi-structured interviews were held with 30 family caregivers of nursing home residents with dementia. Findings: Data reflected three themes, which shaped collaboration with staff from families' perspective, 'communication', 'trust and dependency' and 'involvement'. Discussion: Good communication appeared to be a requisite condition for having trust in staff and quality of involvement in residents' life. Good communication was described as having informal contact with staff, which enabled family and staff to build a personal connection. Consequently, this seemed to increase trust and satisfaction regarding involvement. Conclusion: Findings suggest that increasing informal contact and building a personal connection should be a priority for staff in order to improve collaboration and to create partnerships with families.

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Parent–Child Relationship Quality as a Mediator of the Association between Perceived Stress and Diabetes Self-Management in Adolescents With Type 1 Diabetes

Background: Diabetes self-management is suboptimal in adolescents with type 1 diabetes (T1D), including those in China. Objectives: The aim of the study was to investigate the impact of parent–child relationship quality on diabetes self-management. Data were collected by a self-report survey among 122 Chinese adolescents from April to July 2017. The data were analyzed using a one-way analysis of variance, descriptive analyses, correlation analyses, and mediation analyses. Results: The mean age was 13.8 (range, 10–18) years, and the mean diabetes duration was 4.1 (±3.1) years. About half of the adolescents with T1D experienced high levels of perceived stress. Parent–child relationship quality mediated the associations between perceived stress and collaboration with parents, diabetes care activities, and diabetes communication on aspects of diabetes self-management (p s < 0.05). Conclusion: To reduce the negative impacts of perceived stress on diabetes self-management in this population, parent–child relationship quality should be considered an important element of family-based interventions and clinical practice.

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The role of family caregiver's sense of coherence and family adaptation determinants in predicting distress and caregiver burden in families of cancer patients

Background: Most cancer patients' families suffer from maladaptation which increases family distress and caregiving burden. This study was conducted to explore the relationship between these maladaptation indicators, and the sense of coherence (SOC) of family caregivers alongside other family resilience determines among family caregivers of cancer patients. Methods: A total of 104 family caregivers of cancer patients were included in this cross-sectional study. They answered three questionnaires to assess family resilience factors: Family Inventory of Resources for Management (FIRM), Family Crisis Oriented Personal Evaluation Scales (F-COPES), and SOC scale. In addition, family maladaptation factors were determined by two instruments, including Family Distress Index (FDI) and Caregiver Burden Inventory (CBI). Results: The results of this study showed that the FIRM and the SOC together were responsible for 35% and 43% of the variances in FDI and CBI scores, respectively (P < 0.001). "Reframing", the subscale of the F-COPES, significantly predicted the variances of FDI (β = −0.26, P = 0.01) and CBI scores (β = −0.21, P = 0.04). Moreover, "Mastery and health", the subscale of the FIRM, significantly predicted the variances of FDI (β = −0.38, P < 0.01) and CBI scores (β = −0.21, P = 0.02). Conclusions: Family caregiver's SOC alongside other family resilience determinants plays a significant role in alleviating family distress and caregiver burden. It is suggested that palliative care providers consider family caregivers' SOC in developing a psychological intervention plan to improve family resilience in families of cancer patients.

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The Relationship Between Health-Related Quality of Life and Saliva C-Reactive Protein and Diurnal Cortisol Rhythm in Latina Breast Cancer Survivors and Their Informal Caregivers: A Pilot Study

Introduction: To date, no study has explored associations between objective stress-related biomarkers (i.e., inflammatory markers, diurnal rhythm of cortisol) and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in Latina breast cancer survivors and their informal caregivers (i.e., family, friends). Method: This cross-sectional feasibility study assessed saliva C-reactive protein, saliva diurnal cortisol rhythm (cortisol slope), and self-reported HRQOL (psychological, physical, and social domains) in 22 Latina survivor–caregiver dyads. Feasibility was defined as ≥85% samples collected over 2 days (on waking, in afternoon, and in evening). Associations between biomarkers and HRQOL were examined with correlational analyses. Results: Collection of saliva was feasible. Strongest associations were observed between survivor evening cortisol (as well as cortisol slope) and fatigue, a component of physical HRQOL. Discussion: Associations presented may help promote investigations of mechanisms linking stress-related biomarkers and HRQOL in Latina breast cancer survivor–caregiver dyads, which will facilitate development of culturally congruent interventions for this underserved group.

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The reciprocal associations between caregiver burden, and mental health in primary caregivers of cancer patients: A longitudinal study: Family functioning, caregiver burden, and mental health

Objective: The vital role played by primary caregivers in caring for cancer patients is well‐recognized, but the caregiver burden and impact on family functioning to caregivers’ mental health is poorly understood. This study examined the prospective and reciprocal relationships between family functioning, caregiver burden, and mental health. We aimed to determine whether inferior family functioning and heavy caregiver burden act as risk factors for mental health, as consequences of mental health, or both. Methods: Participants were 187 primary caregivers of cancer patients. They completed questionnaires with standardized measures assessing family functioning, caregiver burden, and mental health. A quantitative longitudinal design and a cross‐lag model were used to test the reciprocal relationships between variables at three time points with 6‐month intervals during the first year of early‐stage cancer diagnosis and treatment. Results: Family functioning did not predict participants' future mental health, but their mental health state predicted future caregiver burden and family functioning. Caregiver burden also predicted participants' future mental health. There was a dynamic reciprocal relationship between caregiver burden and mental health over time. Conclusions: The findings of this study emphasize the adverse effects of caregiver burden and may contribute to shedding light on the distinct mechanisms that underlie the relationships between caregiver burden, family functioning, and mental health. Our findings indicate the necessity of developing interventions to reduce the burden of caregiving and to facilitate family functioning. They will provide direction for family‐centered nursing to meet primary caregivers' mental health needs in the care of cancer patients.

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Non-spousal family support, marital status, and heart problems in adulthood

Background: Support from one's spouse has long been documented as a significant determinant of health for married individuals. However, non-spousal family support may play an important role in health particularly for unmarried individuals. Objectives: Therefore, this study examined whether the association between non-spousal family support and diagnosis of heart problems differed by marital status and whether gender and education moderated these associations. Results: Data came from the first two waves of the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study. This study selected respondents who participated in both waves of MIDUS and were not diagnosed with a heart problem at Wave 1 (N = 3,119). Participants reported whether they had any heart trouble. Discrete-time event history analysis was used to examine the risk of heart problems between MIDUS Waves 1 and 2. A higher level of non-spousal family support was associated with a lower risk of developing a heart problem only among unmarried women and unmarried individuals with high school education or less, and not for married individuals. Conclusions: Findings highlight the importance of considering specific sources of family support when studying heart health, and the health-protective role of non-spousal family support for those who are not married.

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Mutual support between patients and family caregivers in palliative care: A systematic review and narrative synthesis

Background: Patients in palliative care are usually conceptualised as recipients of support from family caregivers. Family caregivers in palliative care are typically defined as providers of support to patients. Little is known about reciprocal dimensions of support provision between patients and family caregivers in palliative care. Aim: To identify processes of mutual support between patients and family caregivers in palliative care and factors that contribute to or obstruct mutual support between patients and family caregivers in palliative care. Design: Systematic review and narrative synthesis of original peer-reviewed research published between January 2000 and March 2020. Data sources: Medline, CINAHL, Embase, AMED, PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES. Results: After full-text screening, 10 studies were included. We identified that patients and family caregivers in palliative care can support one another by mutually acknowledging the challenges they face, by remaining positive for one another and by jointly adapting to their changing roles. However, patients and family caregivers may not routinely communicate their distress to each other or reciprocate in distress disclosure. A lack of mutual disclosure pertaining to distress can result in conflict between patients and family caregivers. Conclusions: Few studies have focused in whole or in part, on reciprocal dimensions of support provision between patients with advancing non-curable conditions, and their family caregivers in palliative care. Further research is required to identify key domains of mutual support between patients and family caregivers in palliative care.

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The Mutual Effects of Perceived Spiritual Needs on Quality of Life in Patients with Advanced Cancer and Family Caregivers

Background: Perceived spiritual needs may increase when patients with advanced cancer and their family caregivers are confronted with the challenges of physical and psychological distress. Given the intertwined relationships between patients and family caregivers, their interdependence should be considered to understand how perceived spiritual needs affect the quality of life of their own and of their partner. Methods: This study used the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model as the conceptual model to investigate the mutual effects of perceived spiritual needs on the quality of life in patients with advanced cancer and their family caregivers after being admitted to hospice. Findings: This cross-sectional study used the baseline data of a large clinical trial and identified that patients with cancer and their family caregivers perceived similar spiritual needs associated with the community and outlook needs and had fewer unmet spiritual needs. After controlling for partner effects, perceived outlook needs shown in patients significantly predicted their own functional well-being and social/spiritual well-being. Outlook and community needs perceived by family caregivers also significantly predicted their own mental health. Conclusion: Although partner effects were not shown as expected, the findings provide insight into the mutuality of spirituality and demonstrate the necessity of providing timely and ongoing spiritual assessment and care. 

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Multiple Caregivers, Many Minds: Family Discord and Caregiver Outcomes

Background and Objectives: Family caregivers often have other family members helping to provide care. The purpose of our study was to examine relationships between care coordination quality among family members and the following caregiver outcomes: caregiver mental health (depressive symptoms, anxiety), social activity restrictions, and caregiver burden. Research Design and Methods: Secondary analysis was conducted using data from the 2017 Pittsburgh Regional Caregivers' Survey. Six hundred and fifty-five caregivers who had other family members helping with care reported discordance in care coordination, depressive symptoms, anxiety, social activity restrictions, caregiving burden, and covariates such as demographics and known risk factors for negative caregiver outcomes. We used multiple logistic regression and negative binominal expansion models in the analysis. Results: Discordant care coordination was associated with higher levels of caregiver depressive symptoms (p <.001), anxiety (p <.01), social activity restriction (p <.001), and caregiver burden (p <.001) after controlling for known risk factors. Discussion and Implications: We found that lower quality of family care coordination was associated with negative caregiver outcomes. Future research should further investigate the dynamics of family care coordination and impacts on both caregivers and care recipients. The results suggest that caregiver interventions attempting to understand and decrease care coordination discord should be a priority.

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Moderator Role of Mutuality on the Association Between Depression and Quality of Life in Stroke Survivor-Caregiver Dyads

Background: Authors of previous research have not yet analyzed the role of potential moderators in the relationship between depressive symptoms and quality of life (QOL). Aims: The aim of this study was to examine the moderating effect of mutuality between depressive symptoms and QOL in stroke survivor and caregiver dyads. Methods: This study used a longitudinal design with 222 stroke survivor-caregiver dyads enrolled at survivor discharge from rehabilitation hospitals. Data collection was performed for 12 months. We examined survivor and caregiver QOL dimensions (physical, psychological, social, and environmental), depression, and mutuality at baseline and every 3 months. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to test 4 longitudinal dyadic moderation models (1 for each QOL domain). Results: Survivors (50% male) and caregivers (65% female) were 70.8 (SD, 11.9) and 52.5 (SD, 13.1) years old, respectively. We observed no significant moderating effects of mutuality for survivors across the 4 dimensions of QOL over time. However, higher survivor mutuality was significantly associated with higher survivor psychological and social QOL at baseline. Regarding caregivers, caregiver mutuality significantly moderated the association between caregiver depressive symptoms and caregiver physical (B = 0.63, P < .05), psychological (B = 0.63, P < .01), and social (B = 0.95, P < .001) QOL at baseline, but not in environmental QOL. Higher caregiver mutuality was significantly associated with less improvement in caregiver physical QOL over time. Conclusions: Mutuality is a positive variable on the association between depression and QOL for both members of the dyad at discharge but may lead to declines in physical health for caregivers over time. Further work is needed to understand the role of mutuality on long-term outcomes and associations with increased care strain.

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Modeling types of informal care dyads by gender, primary condition, and relative age

Background: While women remain the majority of caregivers, gender parity is reported among Millennials, people of color, and LGBTQ caregivers. Such dynamics of care dyads are rarely explored in relationship with caregiver selection, social support, or care outcomes, and without standardized measures we are uncertain whether this trend is associated with youth, demographic changes, or a societal shift. Methods: Utilizing the Caregiving in the US 2015 data set, this exploratory, quantitative study examines relationships between gender, primary condition, and two social designations around age (kinship generations and birth cohorts) to develop a preliminary categorization of informal caregivers in the United States by reviewing descriptives and correlations, then testing with multivariate regression. Results: A model combining Millennial caregivers, same-generation dyads, and two primary conditions (mental illness and stroke) successfully predicts variance as to whether a dyad will comprise one woman caring for another woman, the most common dyad. Conclusions: Findings demonstrate the interconnectedness of caregiving generational models, suggesting that categorizing dyads from such variables is viable. This study deepens inquiry into intergenerational caregiving and makes a case for generationality and caregiving to be studied together.

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A Model of Factors Influencing Asthma Control among Preschool Children as Perceived by Family Caregivers

Background: Asthma is the most common non-communicable disease among children and the prevalence of childhood asthma is increasing in Vietnam. Often, due to the stage of development of the child and the illness, control of asthma in pre-school age children depends on family caregivers. To design effective interventions for asthma control, understanding family caregivers' perceptions of factors that influence such control is necessary. Thus, this cross-sectional study developed and tested a model of how perceived social support, satisfaction with nursing care, access to healthcare and family management work to explain asthma control among pre-school age children. Methods: A convenience sample of 328 primary family caregivers of pre-school age children with asthma from three public hospitals in Da Nang, Vietnam was recruited. Questionnaires used were a demographic form, and Vietnamese versions of the Best Asthma Control Test for Preschoolers, the Modified Social Support Questionnaire, the Access to Healthcare Instrument, and the Patient Satisfaction with Nursing Care Quality Questionnaire. The SPSS version 18 and the AMOS program were used to test the model. Results: Findings revealed that the hypothesized model fitted with the data and explained 38% of the variance in asthma control. Contextual factors had a direct effect on asthma control and an indirect through family management. Family management had a significant direct positive effect on asthma control. Among these factors, perceived social support had the strongest total effect whereas access to health care had the strongest direct effect on asthma control. Conclusion: Nurses can use this finding to strengthening support from significant people to improve family management and strengthen access to health care using various strategies such as telehealth to support asthma control.

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Mediating effects of family functioning on the relationship between care burden and family quality of life of caregivers of children with intellectual disabilities in Mongolia

Background: Intellectual disabilities are characterized by constant and complex needs for care that place a heavy burden on the families of affected individuals and affect their overall quality of life. We evaluated the mediating effects of family functioning on the relationship between care burden and the family quality of life of caregivers of children with intellectual disabilities in Mongolia. Methods: Data were collected from a sample of 150 caregivers of children with intellectual disabilities from October 2017 to November 2017. Multiple linear regression analyses were performed to examine the mediating effects of family functioning. Results: Family functioning had a partial mediating effect (β =.702, p <.001) on the relationship between care burden and family quality of life. Conclusion: Family functioning should be considered when developing a social support intervention to improve family quality of life among caregivers of children with intellectual disabilities.

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Living with Long Term Conditions from the Perspective of Family Caregivers. A Scoping Review and Narrative Synthesis

Background: When living with one or more long term conditions (LTCs), both the patient and the family experience the impact of the condition at different levels. The family’s needs and perceptions should be considered in the process of caring for people with LTCs. The aim of this review is to understand “the process of living with LTCs” from a family perspective. Methods: A scoping review and narrative synthesis were conducted using a systematic methodology in MEDLINE, CINAHL, Web of Science and PsycINFO, in English and Spanish, including evidence from 2018. Results: A total of 28 articles were included in the review. Acceptance, coping, self-management, integration, and adjustment were key attributes in the process of living with LTCs from the perspective of family caregivers that interrelated in a dynamic way through different mechanisms: being aware of the changing situation, personal networks, information and education, personal conditions, attitude to life and communication. Conclusions: The five attributes that comprise living with LTCs from the perspective of the family caregiver are closely connected of to those of patients living with LTCs; however, self-management and integration have a different meaning and application.

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Intergenerational familial care: Shaping future care policies for older adults

Background: An increasingly ageing society together with concerns about sustainability of old-age benefits call for reforming the care structure of many western welfare states. However, finding an acceptable balance between the formal care provided by institutions and informal care provided by family members is a delicate policy choice with profound ethical implications. In this respect, literature on intergenerational familial relationships can offer insights to inform policymaking in this field and help resolve the ethical concerns that excessive reliance on informal caregiving might entail. Methods: In this contribution, we start by presenting – with Switzerland as a case study – the challenges of the current care structure and illustrate some of the ethical issues that reshaping the balance between formal and informal care raises. We then review and analyse available theoretical literature on intergenerational familial relationships and present three dimensions that underpin such relationships: ethical, theoretical and practical. Findings: Based on our analysis, we provide two recommendations to inform policymaking on how to support care needs of the elderly and set an ethically acceptable balance between formal and informal care when familial generations are involved.

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The Interaction Between Hematological Cancer Patients and Family Caregivers and Their Life Changes

Background: Diagnosis of hematological cancer affects patients and caregivers as a unit. Few studies have focused on the relationship between hematological cancer patients and their caregivers. Objective: To explore (a) the interaction between patients receiving treatment for hematological cancer in a hematology-oncology clinic and their family caregivers and (b) perceived changes in lives of patients receiving treatment for hematological cancer in a hematology-oncology clinic and their family caregivers. Methods: We used a qualitative descriptive design with a dyadic approach. The study sample included 11 patients with hematological cancer and 11 family caregivers selected through purposive sampling. In-depth interviews were conducted using a semistructured interview format. Results: As a result of a content analysis, 3 themes emerged: hidden emotions, companionship,and life changes. Both the patients and the family caregivers described coping by hiding their feelings, thoughts, and needs and reducing communication with each other. Dyadmembers described commitment to each other and an increase in confidence. In addition, the patients and the family caregivers experienced changes in their roles and perspectives during the diagnosis and treatment process. Conclusion: Patients with hematological cancer and family caregivers need nurses' support. Nurses should be prepared to provide patient-caregiver--based interventions. Implication for Practices: It is important that nurses take action to strengthen the relationship between patients and their caregivers, particularly with a focus on carrying out interventions to improve communication between them. Nurses can also strengthen dyads' coping by drawing attention to positive developments in their perspectives and relationships.

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Integrated health and social care in the community: A critical integrative review of the experiences and well‐being needs of service users and their families

Background: A need for people‐centred health and social support systems is acknowledged as a global priority. Most nations face challenges in providing safe, effective, timely, affordable, coordinated care around the needs and preferences of people who access integrated health and social care (IHSC) services. Much of the current research in the field focuses on describing and evaluating specific models for delivering IHSC. Fewer studies focus on person‐centred experiences, needs and preferences of people who use these services. However, current international guidance for integrated care sets a precedence of person‐centred integrated care that meets the health and well‐being needs of people who access IHSC services. Methods: This integrative literature review synthesises empirical literature from six databases (CINAHL; MEDLINE; AMED; TRIP; Web of Science and Science Direct; 2007–2019). This review aims to better understand the experiences and health and well‐being needs of people who use IHSC services in a community setting. Results: Twenty studies met the inclusion criteria and results were thematically analysed. Three overarching themes were identified, including relationships, promoting health and well‐being and difficulty understanding systems. Findings of this review indicate that relationships hold significance in IHSC. People who access IHSC services felt that they were not always involved in planning their care and that there was a lack of clarity in navigating integrated systems; subsequently, this impacted upon their experiences of those services. However, service user and informal carer voices appear to be underrepresented in current literature and studies that included their views were found to be of low quality overall. Conclusions: Collectively, these findings support the need for further research that explores the person‐centred experiences and needs of people who access IHSC.

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Influence of a Child’s Cancer on the Functioning of Their Family

Background: A child’s cancer affects their entire family and is a source of chronic stress for a sick child, as well as for their parents and siblings. It deprives them of the feeling of security; introduces uncertainty, fear and anxiety; and destabilises their life. It mobilises the family since they have to reconcile the treatment and frequent appointments at the hospital with the hardships of everyday life. The emotional burden they have to deal with is enormous. Recognition of the needs of such a family allows for the implementation of support, psychosocial care and psychoeducation, as well as the provision of reliable information. Patients and Methods: A population survey was conducted between 2015 and 2020. Caregivers of children diagnosed with cancer were invited to participate in the study to assess their problems and needs. Results: All respondents in their legal status were parents of children with cancer. The study included 800 people, where women accounted for 85% and men accounted for 15%. The mean age of the mother was 38.09, SD = 7.25, and the mean age of the father was 41.11, SD = 7.03. The occurrence of problems negatively correlated with both the age of the parents (p < 0.0001) and the level of education (p < 0.0001). Parents who admitted having financial problems more often reported problems of a different kind; moreover, financial problems were more often reported by parents of children who were ill for a longer time (p = 0.01). Conclusions: Parents of children suffering from cancer reported numerous psychological, social and somatic problems. The identification of problems through screening should translate into specific interventions, thus creating support for the families of children with cancer. Promoting coping with difficult emotions and the ability to solve problems when a child is ill has a positive effect on the functioning of the family.

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'I try my best ... I try to relieve the burden of my mum': a narrative analysis of the everyday care-giving experiences for five intergenerational Singapore-Chinese families where one member has dementia

Background: Singapore is experiencing a rapid growth in its ageing population with most of the islands' inhabitants living in high-rise apartments due to the scarcity of land. The Chinese community living in Singapore comprises the largest ethnic group and they are more likely to live together under one roof in an intergenerational family grouping. Currently, there are gaps in understanding intergenerational Singapore-Chinese families and their approach to caring at home for a family member with dementia. Objectives: The aim of this longitudinal qualitative study was to understand better this everyday care-giving experience. Methods: Using semi-structured biographical interviews and digital photographs to elicit family stories, five intergenerational Singapore-Chinese families were visited at home for a period of between six and 15 months. Each recruited intergenerational family was treated as a 'case'. Narrative analysis of the data was applied within and between cases and resulted in the emergence of three themes that represented various dynamics in the data. Findings: The three themes were identified as: (1) family values, which is about the cultural context in which everyday care takes place, the religious beliefs and practices of the intergenerational Singapore-Chinese families, and the practice of filial piety; (2) family support, which is about everyday access to family and service networks, including the contribution of the live-in maid in caring for the family member with dementia; and (3) family bonds, which is about the maintenance of intergenerational family relations in the Chinese family kinship system.

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Home and Parent Training Strategies for Pediatric Feeding Disorders: The Caregivers’ Perspective

Background: Twenty to 45% of the general pediatric population experience feeding problems. When children with disabilities exhibit feeding problems, they are more likely to develop maladaptive mealtime behaviors that may lead to poor nutrition. Home training to help treat a child’s feeding delay or disorder is a vital component of feeding treatment and supports holistic, family-centered treatment models. It is important for occupational therapists working with this population to understand the impact of these behaviors on individual and family functioning. Method: This quantitative study examined caregivers’ perspectives of the training families receive to support their child’s feeding delay or disorder, and how family mealtimes may be affected. One hundred and eight participants completed an online survey using primarily Likert scale questions. Results: Caregivers report that (a) they are receiving current and evidenced-based interventions; (b) they feel supported, yet feel they need more support; (c) family relationships are adversely affected by a child’s feeding challenges; (d) caregivers desire to connect with other caregivers of children with feeding delays or disorders; and (e) they need stress management and coping strategies. Conclusion: Feeding treatment is strengthened with more family-focused topics like family relationships and interactions, caregiver burden and stress management, and increased caregiver support.

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Financial strain among unpaid family caregivers of frail elders in community

Background: In the United States, 8 out of 10 elders, 65 or older, have at least one chronic disease. Their care likely falls mostly to family members; many experience financial strain associated with providing that care. Informal caregiving saves the American healthcare system money. The economic value of family caregivers is estimated at $350 billion, exceeding the total amount spent by either Medicare ($342 billion) or Medicaid ($300 billion) The COVID-19 pandemic makes this issue even more relevant. Many of those recovering from this virus, whatever their age and previous health history, find it is a very long process. This study examined correlates of financial strain among 956 unpaid family caregivers using the framework of the stress process model. Method: The study utilized the caregiver survey data set from the 1999 National Long-Term Care Survey. Results: indicate that a caregiver's perceived overload had the largest effect on greater financial strain. Variations and dynamics in caregiver financial strain are particular to the caregiver's family relationship. Conclusion: Identifying correlates of caregiver financial strain can provide an important impetus for tackling the causes and providing effective interventions.

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Family relations of older people: Personal and practical support

Summary: In this study, we examined older people's views and experiences of family relations in Iceland. Objectives: The goal was to explore the frequency and kinds of contact, and the support older people received from their adult biological children and stepchildren. Methods: We performed cluster sampling covering community centers in municipalities nationwide in Iceland. The questionnaire was answered by 273 older people, including 193 women (75%) and 64 men (25%). The average age was 79 years. About 200 (74%) lived in the capital area of Reykjavik, while 70 (26%) lived in the countryside. Findings: Older people received more support from biological children than stepchildren. Specifically, differences were found in both frequency and quality of contact. The results revealed gender differences; daughters offering more help and support than sons. Older women have more frequent contact and closer relationships with their biological children than with other children. Relationships with stepchildren were weaker in all respects. These results are discussed in connection to structural and cultural factors, with a focus on the implications of changes in family structure, new communication styles, and effects of media. Applications: Although the increased frequencies of divorce and stepparenting can affect connections within families, communities commonly disregard the different needs of stepfamilies, sometimes called "stepblindness". Policy makers and professionals such as social workers need to concede different needs of older people in stepfamilies. Conclusions: Conclusions are drawn from the perspective of welfare policy issues, such as the need of more precise law provisions and implementations on social services for families.

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Family knowledge about the legal rights of children and adolescents with cancer

Objective: Identify the knowledge of family members of children and adolescents with cancer about their legal rights, difficulties, and concessions to ensure them. Methods: Quantitative study, survey type, of intersectional design. A questionnaire drawn up by the researchers was applied in order to characterize the minor and their family and also to identify the family's knowledge about legal rights. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data. Results: 61 family members who participated know some more rights to the detriment of others and are especially motivated to search for information when negative impacts on the financial life increase, with repercussions beyond family health. Conclusion: the studied population requires more information and demands knowledge about some rights guaranteed by law. Guidance on rights empowers the family and guarantees the necessary care, searching to have an intersectoral action qualify care and assist in restructuring family dynamics to deal with chronic conditions.

 

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Family involvement and patient-experienced improvement and satisfaction with care: a nationwide cross-sectional study in Danish psychiatric hospitals

Background: Randomised controlled trials suggest that family therapy has a positive effect on the course of depression, schizophrenia and anorexia nervosa. However, it is largely unknown whether a positive link also exists between caregiver involvement and patient outcome in everyday psychiatric hospital care, using information reported directly from patients, i.e. patient-reported experience measures (PREM), and their caregivers. Objective: The objective of this study is to examine whether caregiver-reported involvement is associated with PREM regarding patient improvement and overall satisfaction with care. Methods: Using data from the National Survey of Psychiatric Patient Experiences 2018, we conducted a nationwide cross-sectional study in Danish psychiatric hospitals including patients and their caregivers who had been in contact with the hospital (n = 940 patients, n = 1008 caregivers). A unique patient identifier on the two distinct questionnaires for the patient and their caregiver enabled unambiguous linkage of data. In relation to PREM, five aspects of caregiver involvement were analysed using logistic regression with adjustment for patient age, sex and diagnosis. Results: We consistently find that high caregiver-reported involvement is statistically significantly associated with high patient-reported improvement and overall satisfaction with care with odds ratios (OR) ranging from 1.69 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.95–2.99) to 4.09 (95% CI 2.48–6.76). This applies to the following aspects of caregiver-reported involvement: support for the patient-caregiver relationship, caregiver information, consideration for caregiver experiences and the involvement of caregivers in decision making. No statistically significant association is observed regarding whether caregivers talk to the staff about their expectations for the hospital contact. Conclusion: This nationwide study implies that caregiver involvement focusing on the patient-caregiver relationship is positively associated with patient improvement and overall satisfaction with care in everyday psychiatric hospital care.

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Family functionality and burden of family caregivers of users with mental disorders

Objective: to verify the difference of mean or median in the scores of family functionality and burden of family caregivers of people with mental disorders. Methods: cross-sectional study carried out in a Psychosocial Care Center with 61 family caregivers. Instruments were used for sociodemographic characterization, care process, Family Apgar Index and Family Burden Interview Schedule. Mean/median difference tests were adopted. Results: women with mental disorders and the presence of children in the home decreased the median of the family Apgar score. Difficulty in the relationship between caregiver/user, nervousness/ tension, physical aggression and agitation of patients increased the global average of subjective burden. Conclusions: nursing interventions to reduce burden and promote family functionality should prioritize caregivers of women with mental disorders, assist them in managing troublesome behaviors and raising awareness of family nucleus to co-responsibility for caring for sick people, especially in families with children who demand daily care.

 

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Family Function, Quality of Life, and Well-Being in Parents of Infants With Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

Background: Survival for hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) has improved dramatically. Little is known about early family function, quality of life (QOL), or well-being/adjustment for parents of infants with HLHS. Methods: Parent/family outcomes over time, predictors, and differences in 143 mothers and 72 fathers were examined. Results: Parents reported better family function compared with published norms, but 26% experienced family dysfunction. QOL and well-being were significantly lower than adult norms. QOL scores generally declined over time, whereas self-reported well-being improved. Responses from mothers and fathers showed different trends, with mothers having worse scores on most measures and at most time points. Being a single parent was a risk factor for poorer family function, but not for lower individual QOL or well-being. Family characteristics, stress, and coping skills were predictive of outcomes. Parents' psychosocial responses to the challenges of life with infants with HLHS change over time. Conclusions: Individually tailored psychosocial support is needed.

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Family factors and health‐related quality of life within 6 months of completion of childhood cancer treatment

Objective: The transition from active cancer treatment to survivorship represents a period of uncertainty for youth and their families, but factors associated with adaptation during this period are understudied. We evaluated associations among cancer and treatment‐related variables, family factors (family functioning, caregiver health‐related quality of life [HRQL], and caregiver distress), and patient HRQL after treatment completion. We assessed the indirect effects of neurocognitive difficulties on youth HRQL through family factors. Methods: One hundred fifty‐four caregivers (of patients’ ages 0–18 years) and 52 youth (ages 7–18 years) completed questionnaires assessing family factors, neurocognitive difficulties, and HRQL for patients within 6 months following treatment completion. Electronic health records were reviewed for cancer and treatment‐related information. Bootstrapping analyses assessed whether neurocognitive function had indirect effects on HRQL through family factors. Results: Family factors were associated with self‐ and caregiver reports of children's HRQL. Controlling for demographic, cancer, and treatment covariates, caregiver reports of their child's neurocognitive difficulties had an indirect effect on their reports of child physical HRQL through family functioning. Caregiver reports of their child's neurocognitive difficulties indirectly related to caregiver reports of child psychosocial HRQL through family functioning and caregiver HRQL. Indirect effects for self‐reported neurocognitive difficulties and HRQL were not supported. Conclusions: Findings highlight the need for routine psychosocial screening for youth and caregiver reports of family adjustment and HRQL during the transition off treatment. Providers are encouraged to offer interventions matched to specific needs for families at risk for poor family functioning to improve patient outcomes as they transition off treatment.

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Family Dynamics and the Alzheimer’s Disease Experience

Objectives: Using constructivist grounded theory, this study explored how family groups respond to Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages. Methods: Seven family units (N = 22) participated in a series of 26 longitudinal interviews and 14 other family caregivers took part in three focus groups at a later stage for refinement and verification of the findings. Results: Data analysis revealed four types of family dynamics: close dynamics at the start that were maintained throughout the experience, close dynamics at the start which became conflicting, conflicting dynamics at the start which remained problematic, and conflicting dynamic at the start which became closer over time. Factors such as prior relationships and family history, motivation to care, family organization, communication, and the family vision for future shaped the development of these dynamics. Conclusions: This theory of family dynamics in Alzheimer’s disease has the potential to inform the development of more adequate early interventions for families living with the illness.

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Family Caregiving Burden in Romantic Relationships: A Relational Turbulence Theory Analysis

Background: In addition to health and financial burdens, family caregivers can experience stress in their romantic relationships. Relational turbulence theory (RTT) is used to understand how family caregivers and caregivers' romantic partners navigate relational transitions and caregiver burden when one partner is providing informal care to another aging family member. Methods: Three hundred and nineteen participants, who were either the romantic partner providing care or the romantic partner of a family caregiver, completed an online survey. Results: Tests of RTT and caregiver burden revealed that relational uncertainty, partner facilitation, and relational turbulence were related to caregiver burden as predicted for family caregivers; relational uncertainty was unrelated to caregiver burden for romantic partners. Partner interference was unrelated to caregiver burden. Conclusions: Theoretical and practical implications are discussed. 

 

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Family Caregivers' Experiences and Changes in Caregiving Tasks During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Objectives: The purpose of this descriptive study was to describe family caregivers' experiences and changes in caregiving tasks and approaches during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: Using web-based strategies, 69 family caregivers of adults with chronic or disabling conditions were recruited and completed an online survey about positive and negative caregiving experiences, and ways in which caregiving has changed. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics (structured questions) and conventional content analysis (open-ended responses). Results: Participants reported concerns about their loved one's physical and mental health, the limited access to other caregiving sources, and the limited opportunities to maintain personal well-being. Caregiving tasks completed more than usual included providing emotional support, shopping for groceries and essentials, and contacting healthcare providers. Participants modified their caregiving approach by assuming added responsibilities, leveraging technology, and managing a new caregiving routine. Conclusions: Findings indicate that family caregivers experienced additional caregiving challenges and changed caregiving tasks considering the limited resources available.

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Family care for persons with severe mental illness: experiences and perspectives of caregivers in Uganda

Background: In low-income settings with limited social protection supports, by necessity, families are a key resource for care and support. Paradoxically, the quality of family care for people living with Severe Mental Illness (PLSMI) has been linked to support for recovery, hospital overstay and preventable hospital readmissions. This study explored the care experiences of family members of PLSMI with patients at the national mental hospital in Kampala, Uganda, a low income country. This study was undertaken to inform the development of YouBelongHome (YBH), a community mental health intervention implemented by YouBelong Uganda (YBU), a registered NGO in Uganda. Methods: Qualitative data was analysed from 10 focus groups with carers of ready to discharge patients on convalescent wards in Butabika National Referral Mental Hospital (BNRMH), Kampala. This is a subset of data from a mixed methods baseline study for YouBelong Uganda, undertaken in 2017 to explore hospital readmissions and community supports for PLSMI from the Wakiso and Kampala districts, Uganda. Results: Three interrelated themes emerge in the qualitative analysis: a range of direct, practical care provided by the caregiver of the PLSMI, emotional family dynamics, and the social and cultural context of care. The family care giving role is multidimensional, challenging, and changing. It includes protection of the PLSMI from harm and abuse, in the context of stigma and discrimination, and challenging behaviours that may result from poor access to and use of evidence-based medicines. There is reliance on traditional healers and faith healers reflecting alternative belief systems and health seeking behaviour rather than medicalised care. Transport to attend health facilities impedes access to help outside the family care system. Underpinning these experiences is the impact of low economic resources. Conclusions: Family support can be a key resource and an active agent in mental health recovery for PLSMI in Uganda. Implementing practical family-oriented mental health interventions necessitates a culturally aware practice. This should be based in understandings of dynamic family relationships, cultural understanding of severe mental illness that places it in a spiritual context, different family forms, caregiving practices and challenges as well as community attitudes. In the Ugandan context, limited (mental) health system infrastructure and access to medications and service access impediments, such as economic and transport barriers, accentuate these complexities.

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Family accommodation in eating disorders: a preliminary examination of correlates with familial burden and cognitive-behavioral treatment outcome

Background: Previous research suggests caregivers of individuals with eating disorders (EDs) may attempt to reduce family strain by engaging in accommodation and enabling behaviors to avoid conflict or alleviate stress of the affected individual. Moreover, families often reorganize life around the ED, reinforcing ED behaviors and exacerbating family dysfunction and caregiver distress. However, limited research has examined how accommodation relates to caregivers' distress, family functioning, and treatment outcomes. The current study provides an initial evaluation of these associations among treatment-seeking individuals with EDs and their family members. Method: Forty family members of individuals receiving cognitive behavioral therapy for EDs in a residential treatment soetting completed the Accommodation and Enabling Scale for Eating Disorders (AESED) and measures of anxiety (Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System anxiety scale) and family functioning (Family Assessment Device; FAD) at the time of their family member's treatment admission. Results: Eighteen patients completed the Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire (EDE-Q) at admission and discharge. AESED scores were positively associated with family member anxiety, FAD roles, FAD behavioral control, and higher patient EDE-Q global scores at discharge. Conclusions: Findings provide preliminary evidence that greater family accommodation not only relates to poorer family functioning, but uniquely relates to worse ED treatment outcome.

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Exploring the barriers to pulmonary rehabilitation for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a qualitative study

Background: The complexity of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and its different physical, mental, familial, occupational, and social complications highlight the necessity of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) for afflicted patients. However, PR for patients with COPD usually faces some barriers. The aim of this study was to explore the barriers to PR for patients with COPD. Methods: This qualitative descriptive study was conducted in January 2019 to October 2020. Participants were 19 patients with COPD, 11 family caregivers of patients with COPD, and 12 healthcare providers, who all were recruited purposively from two teaching hospitals in Isfahan, Iran. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and were analyzed through conventional content analysis. Results: The barriers to PR for patients with COPD fell into three main categories, namely barriers related to patients and their families, inefficiency of PR services, and inappropriate organizational context for PR. Each category had four subcategories, namely patients' and families' lack of knowledge, complexity and chronicity of COPD, heavy financial burden of COPD, patients' frustration and discontinuation of PR, lack of patient-centeredness, lack of coordination in PR team, inadequate professional competence of PR staff, lack of a holistic approach to PR, limited access to PR services, inadequate insurance for PR services, ineffective PR planning, and discontinuity of care. Conclusion: PR for patients with COPD is a complex process which faces different personal, familial, social, financial, organizational, and governmental barriers. Strategies for managing these barriers are needed in order to improve the effectiveness and the quality of PR services for patients with COPD. 

 

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Exploring resilience in adult daughter and spousal carers of people living with dementia in North West England: an ecological approach

Purpose: Research has shown that informal carers of people living with dementia (PLWD) can be resilient in the face of caregiving challenges. However, little is known about resilience across different kinship ties. This study aims to update and build on our previous work, using an ecological resilience framework to identify and explore the factors that facilitate or hinder resilience across spousal and adult daughter carers of PLWD. Design/methodology/approach: This study conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with a purposive sample of 13 carers from North West England and analysed the data using a constructivist grounded theory approach (Charmaz, 2003). Findings: Adult daughters were motivated to care out of reciprocity, whereas spouses were motivated to care out of marital duty. Spouses had a more positive and accepting attitude towards caregiving and were better able to maintain continuity, which facilitated their resilience. Research limitations/implications: Resilience emerged on multiple levels and depended on the type of kinship tie, which supports an ecological approach to resilience. The implications of these findings are discussed. Originality/value: This paper makes a novel contribution to the literature as it uses an in-depth qualitative methodology to compare resilience across spousal and adult daughter carers of PLWD. This study adopts an ecological approach to identify not just individual-level resilience resources but also interactive community- and societal-level resources. 

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Exploring Differential Perceptions and Barriers to Advance Care Planning in Dementia among Asian Patient–Caregiver Dyads—A Mixed-Methods Study

Methods: A parallel mixed-methods study on 20 patient–caregiver dyads in an Asian population was conducted to explore the differential perceptions and barriers to ACP in dementia. We recruited English-speaking patients with mild dementia and their caregivers. A trained ACP facilitator conducted ACP counseling. Patient–caregiver dyads completed pre–post surveys and participated in post-counseling qualitative interviews. We used mixed-methods analysis to corroborate the quantitative and qualitative data. Differential perceptions of ACP were reported among dyads, with caregivers less inclined for further ACP discussions. Post-ACP counseling, caregivers were significantly more likely to acknowledge barriers to ACP discussions than patients (57.9% versus 10.5%, p = 0.005). Results: Thematic analysis of the interview transcripts revealed four themes around barriers to ACP: patient-related factors (transference of decision making, poor cognition and lack of understanding, and dis-inclination to plan for the future), caregiver-related factors (perceived negative impact on the patient, caregiver discomfort, and confidence in congruent decision making), socio-cultural factors (taboos, superstitions, and religious beliefs), and the inappropriate timing of discussions. Conclusions: In a collectivist Asian culture, socio-cultural factors pose important barriers, and a family-centric approach to initiation of ACP may be the first step towards engagement in the ACP process. For ACP in dementia to be effective for patients and caregivers, these discussions should be culturally tailored and address patient, caregiver, socio-cultural, and timing barriers.

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Exploring dementia family carers’ self-initiated strategies in managing behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia: a qualitative study

Objectives: Carer’s self-initiated management strategies of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) can inform intervention development. These strategies are affected by cultural values. Little is known about non-Western dementia carers’ BPSD management strategies. This study aimed to explore self-initiated strategies in managing BPSD adopted by Chinese carers. Design: Qualitative study using thematic framework method. Setting: Community setting in Hong Kong. Participants: 16 dementia carers with purposive sampling to include carers of different relationships to the people living with dementia (PLwD), education level and living arrangement. Results: Six overarching themes emerged from the data: (1) maintaining personhood in PLwD, (2) responding positively to BPSD, (3) explanation and bargaining, (4) responding negatively to BPSD, (5) controlling upsetting thoughts, and (6) getting respite care. Chinese carers treasured warm and supportive family relationships. They identified and minimised triggers to alleviate BPSD. Some carers struggled with care tasks and reacted with confrontation and avoidance. Changing attitudes and getting social and emotional support were described to manage carers’ distress. Few self-care strategies including getting respite care were reported.ConclusionsCarers’ self-initiated strategies largely aligned with existing theoretical frameworks in BPSD management, such as person-centred approach, and echoed Asian culture, which advocates filial piety and supportive family relationships. While these cultural values encourage the engagement of people living with dementia in the normal process of family life, they may also prevent carers from taking time away from care. Conclusions: Interventions could support carers by enhancing their knowledge and skills in managing BPSD, providing social and emotional support, and providing guidance in self-care. Future cross-cultural research could explore factors contributing to how carers manage BPSD and how interventions could be culturally adapted to facilitate carers to apply learnt skills in daily practice and hence benefit the people living with dementia and carer population.

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Experiences with health care practitioners among advanced cancer patients and their family caregivers: A longitudinal dyadic study

Background: Assessing patient and caregiver experiences with care is central to improving care quality. The authors assessed variations in the experiences of advanced cancer patients and their caregivers with physician communication and care coordination by patient and caregiver factors. Methods: The authors surveyed 600 patients with a stage IV solid malignancy and 346 caregivers every 3 months for more than 2 years. Patients entered the cohort any time during their stage IV trajectory. The analytic sample was restricted to patient‐caregiver dyads (n = 299). Each survey assessed patients' experiences with physician communication and care coordination; patients' symptom burden; caregivers' quality of life; and patients' and caregivers' anxiety, financial difficulties, and perceptions of treatment goals. An actor‐partner interdependence framework was used for analysis. Results: Patients reported better physician communication (average marginal effect [AME], 6.04; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.82 to 8.26) and care coordination (AME, 8.96; 95% CI, 6.94 to 10.97) than their caregivers. Patients reported worse care coordination when they (AME, –0.56; 95% CI, –1.07 to –0.05) or their caregivers (AME, –0.58; 95% CI, –0.97 to –0.19) were more anxious. Caregivers reported worse care coordination when they were anxious (AME, –1.62; 95% CI, –2.02 to –1.23) and experienced financial difficulties (AME, –2.31; 95% CI, –3.77 to –0.86). Correct understanding of the treatment goal (vs being uncertain) was associated with caregivers reporting physician communication as better (AME, 3.67; 95% CI, 0.49 to 6.86) but with patients reporting it as worse (AME, –3.29; 95% CI, –6.45 to –0.14). Conclusions: Patients' and caregivers' reports of physician communication and care coordination vary with aspects of their own and each other's well‐being and with their perceptions of treatment goals. These findings may have implications for improving patients' and caregivers' reported experiences with health care practitioners. Reports from patients with advanced cancer and their caregivers about physician communication and care coordination vary with aspects of their own and each other's well‐being and with their perceptions of treatment goals. Addressing the well‐being of both members of the dyad and reducing caregivers' uncertainty regarding treatment goals may improve reported experiences with health care providers. 

 

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The experiences of the caring dyad: (Un)articulated realities of living with cardiometabolic risk, metabolic syndrome and related diseases in severe mental illness

Background: Informal carers play an important role in the care of patients with mental illness. Little is known of the relationship experience of the patient and their informal carer (caring dyad) as the context for the intersection between physical and mental health. Aim: This study aimed to explore the impact of comorbid cardiometabolic risk (CMR), metabolic syndrome (MetS) and related diseases and severe mental illness (SMI) on the caring dyad. Design: Between October 2018 and March 2020, we conducted 11 in-depth semi-structured interviews across 6 adult caring dyads, interviewing each individual separately. Setting: Dyads were recruited within the United Kingdom; informal carers were nominated by the patient as a person who provided a significant amount of support. Variable Being Studied: Participants were asked about the impacts of illness and caring on daily life. Data Analysis: Data were analysed at the dyad level using thematic analysis, comparing and contrasting responses from each individual. Results: Themes were identified: enhanced closeness, dissonance and balance within the caring dyad. Discussion and Conclusions: This study uses a particular population of patients with comorbid CMR factors, MetS and related diseases and SMI and their informal carers to explore the relevance and utility of caring dyads as an analytical framework to inform practice and policy. Future interventions should consider factors impacting on dyadic relationships to formulate effective and sustainable dyadic care and treatment to improve health outcomes for both patients with SMI and their informal carers. Patient/Public Involvement: In this study, patients and informal carers were participants. Topic guides were piloted with a patient and informal carer. 

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Eldercare in Transnational Families and the Swiss Immigration Regime

International migration research increasingly addresses the complex mobility that occurs in transnational contexts. Authors who study ties between migrants and their parents often focus on money transfers and financial investments. However, exchanges within transnational families are broader and multifaceted, and include an important care dimension that is shaped by gendered and cultural social codes. Studies show that women are often engaged in caring for their older parents even from a great distance. They develop strategies to attend to the well-being of their parents, including relocating them in order to bring them in closer proximity. While the economic aspects of care work within transnational family networks are well-researched, we lack knowledge about the impacts of national migration regimes on the abilities of migrants to take care of the parents that they have left behind. This chapter points to some areas in need of conceptual development in addressing this gap. We draw on existing literature and legal documentation to explore how some legal contexts (e.g., selective immigration policies, limited family reunification) restrict care circulation within transnational families and tend to reinforce inequalities between advantaged and disadvantaged migrants, particularly women. We emphasise the need for research concerning transnational family care circulation that focuses more on South-North migrants whose economic and legal situations are particularly precarious.

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The effect of socioeconomic status on informal caregiving for parents among adult married females: evidence from China

Background: Married female caregivers face a higher risk of an informal care burden than other caregivers. No study has explored the effect of socioeconomic status (SES) on the intensity of informal care provided by married female caregivers in China. The purpose of this study is to empirically examine how the SES of married female caregivers affects the intensity of the informal care they provide for their parents/parents-in-law in China. Methods: The data for this study were drawn from 8 waves of the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS). The respondents were married women whose parents/parents-in-law needed care and lived in the same city as them. SES was defined based on four indicators: education, economic status, employment status, and hukou (China’s household registration system). Informal caregivers were divided into three categories: non-caregivers (0 h/week), low-intensity caregivers (less than 10 h/week), and high-intensity caregivers (10 h/week and above). Multinomial logistic regression analysis was used to examine the relation between SES and the likelihood of a low- and high-intensity caregiving among married female caregivers, adjusting for age, family characteristics and survey wave. Results: Of the 2661 respondents, high-intensity and low-intensity caregivers accounted for 16.35 and 21.27%, respectively. The multinomial logistic regression results showed that the likelihood of being a high-intensity caregiver versus (vs. a non-caregiver) increased as the caregiver’s educational attainment increased (p < 0.05), and that high economic status was related to the likelihood of being a high-intensity caregiver, but this relationship was only significant at the 10% level. Urban females were 1.34 times more likely than their rural counterparts to provide low-intensity care vs. no care (p < 0.05) and were 1.33 times more likely to provide high-intensity care vs. no care (p < 0.05). Employed females were 1.25 times more likely than those unemployed females to provide low-intensity care vs. no care (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Differences in SES were found between high-intensity caregivers and low-intensity caregivers. Women with high educational attainment and urban hukou were more likely to provide high-intensity informal care, and women who were employed and had urban hukou were more likely to provide low-intensity care.

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Dying within dyads: Stress, sense of security and support during palliative home care

Objectives: To examine similarities and dissimilarities in patient and family caregiver dyads in their experience of stress, support, and sense of security. Methods: 144 patients and their family caregivers participated. Patients were admitted to six Swedish specialist palliative home care units and diagnosed with a non-curable disease with an expected short survival. We analysed similarity patterns of answers within dyads (correlations) as well as dissimilarities, expressed as the difference between within-dyad responses. The latter were subjected to a model-building procedure using GLM, with 13 sociodemographic and clinical characteristics as independent variables. Results: Within dyads, patients and family caregivers scored similar in their perception of support and sense of security with care. There was also dissimilarity within dyad responses in their perception of stress and support that could be attributed to sociodemographic or clinical characteristics. When patients scored higher levels of stress than family caregivers, the family caregiver was more likely to be male. Also family caregiver attachment style (attachment anxiety), patient age and the relationship of the family caregiver to the patient explained dissimilarities within the dyads. Conclusions: Patients and family caregivers within the dyads often, but not always, had similar scores. We suggest that it is important that the healthcare staff identify situations in which perceptions within the dyads regarding stress and perception of support differ, such that they can recognise patients' and family caregivers' unique needs in different situations, to be able to provide adequate support and facilitate dyadic coping. 

 

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Dyadic effects of family-functioning and resilience on quality of life in advanced lung cancer patients and caregivers: An actor-partner interdependence mediation model

Background: Lung cancer as a stressful event profoundly impacts the entire family, especially patients and their family caregivers. Methods: This study uses a dyadic analysis approach to explore the dyadic effects of family functioning on the quality of life (QoL), and whether resilience acts as a mediator in advanced lung cancer patient-caregiver dyads. This was a cross-sectional study, and 287 dyads of advanced lung cancer patients and their caregivers were enrolled. Family-functioning, resilience, and QoL were assessed by the General Functioning subscale of the Family Assessment Device (FAD), the 10-item Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, and the Short Form-8 (SF-8) Health Survey, respectively. Data were analyzed using the actor-partner interdependence mediation model. Results: This study found that, for patients and caregivers, resilience mediates the actor effects of family-functioning on QoL. That is, family-functioning was positively related to their resilience, which improved QoL. Another important finding is that caregivers' family-functioning had significant indirect effects on patients' QoL through their resilience. Positive family functioning perceived by patients and caregivers can improve their QoL by developing their own resilience. Furthermore, family-functioning perceived by caregivers can also improve patients' QoL through their resilience. Medical staff should identify vulnerable patients and caregivers with poorer family-functioning and resilience, and make focused intervention to improve the QoL of both lung cancer patients and their family caregivers. Conclusions:  Positive family functioning perceived by patient-caregiver dyads can improve their QoL by developing their resilience.  Family-functioning perceived by caregivers can also improve patients' QoL through their resilience.

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Dyadic effects of family resilience on post-traumatic stress symptoms among breast cancer patients and their primary family caregivers: A cross-sectional study

Objectives: The aims of this study were to verify actor and partner effects, by examining the effects of family resilience on post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) among Chinese breast cancer patients and their primary family caregivers. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 104 breast cancer patients (age range 20–75, Mean = 47, Standard Deviation = 10), and their principal caregivers (n = 104), were recruited from a comprehensive cancer center of a public hospital in China. The patients and their caregivers self-reported sociodemographic, family resilience, and PTSS factors. The actor-partner interdependence model were adopted to examine whether the patients and caregivers' perceived family resilience could contribute to their own ("actor effect") and each other's ("partner effect") PTSS. Results: There were significant correlations between patients' and caregivers' shortened Chinese version of Family Resilience Assessment Scale scores (r = 0.58, p < 0.01) and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-Civilian Version scores (r = 0.69, p < 0.01). Caregivers' perceived family resilience was negatively related to their PTSS (actor effect), and the patients' PTSS (partner effect). However, the patients' perceived family resilience was not significantly related to their or the caregivers' PTSS. The primary caregivers' perceived family resilience had both actor and partner effects on patient/caregiver PTSS within the first year of breast cancer diagnosis. Conclusions: Family-based interventions should be designed to enhance family resilience to decrease PTSS within families dealing with cancer patients. Supportive care should focus on the primary family caregivers within the first year of breast cancer diagnosis. 

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Domains of quality of life in Alzheimer’s disease vary according to caregiver kinship

Introduction: Compared to other types of caregiver, spouse-caregivers tend to be closer to people with Alzheimer’s disease (PwAD) because of their different position in the relationship. We designed this study to compare the differences in caregivers’ quality of life (QoL) and domains of QoL according to the kinship relationship between the members of caregiving dyads. Methods: We assessed QoL of 98 PwAD and their family caregivers (spouse-caregivers, n = 49; adult children, n = 43; and others, n = 6). The PwAD and their caregivers completed questionnaires about their QoL, awareness of disease, cognition, severity of dementia, depression, and burden of caring. Results: The comparison between caregiver types showed that spouse-caregivers were older, with higher levels of burden and lower scores for cognition. Caregivers’ total QoL scores were not significantly different according to type of kinship. However, there were significant differences in the domains physical health (p = 0.04, Cohen’s d [d] = -0.42), marriage (p = 0.01, d = 1.31), and friends (p = 0.04, d = -0.41), and life as a whole showed a trend to difference (p = 0.08, d = -0.33). When QoL domains were analyzed within dyads, there were significant differences between members of spouse dyads in the domains energy (p = 0.01, d = -0.49), ability to do things for fun (p = 0.01, d = -0.48), and memory (p = 0.000, d = -1.07). For non-spouse dyads, there were significant differences between caregivers and PwAD for the QoL domains memory (p = 0.004, d = -0.63), marriage (p = 0.001, d = -0.72), friends (p = 0.001, d = -0.65), and ability to do chores (p = 0.000, d = -0.76). Conclusions: Differences were only detected between spouse/non-spouse-caregivers when QoL was analyzed by domains. We speculate that spouse and non-spouse caregivers have distinct assessments and perceptions of what is important to their QoL.

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A delicate balance between control and flexibility: Experiences of care and support among pre‐teenage children with type 1 diabetes and their families

Background: For children with type 1 diabetes, the period of adolescence is associated with higher blood glucose levels and increased psychological distress compared to other age groups. Focusing on pre‐teens (9‐12 years) with type 1 diabetes and their families has been suggested as key to understanding and reducing these challenges. The aim of this study was to explore: 1, how diabetes affects family life, 2, experiences of and needs for support and 3, how care responsibilities are negotiated among pre‐teens with type 1 diabetes and their families. Methods: Data were obtained from four interactive workshops with pre‐teens (n = 17), their parents (n = 26) and their siblings (n = 14). Dialogue tools, for example quotes and picture cards, were used to facilitate discussion and reflection concerning family life with type 1 diabetes. Findings: Data analysis resulted in three themes: 1, diabetes takes up 'a lot of space', 2, giving and receiving support and 3, balancing control and flexibility. While diabetes took up significant space in the families, family members protected each other from their respective frustrations. Conclusions: The findings point to the significance of considering all key family members and their interactions in diabetes interventions. This includes balancing control and flexibility, negotiating responsibilities and building trust.

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Daughters' experiences of shared caregiving to a parent with dementia

Background: Siblings often share in the care of parents with dementia, but little is known about how care is shared. Research suggests that in comparison with their brothers, sisters provide the majority of care to a parent with dementia and this can contribute to the sisters experiencing poorer health outcomes. There is limited knowledge about how to guide siblings who share in the care of a parent with dementia. Aim: Our qualitative descriptive study sought to explore the experiences of adult daughters sharing care responsibilities with their siblings. The study protocol was approved by institutional (University of Toronto and Baycrest Health Sciences) research ethics boards. Materials & methods: Thirty‐four daughters participated in an online qualitative survey. Data were analysed using Braun and Clarke's (Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3, 2006, 77) 6‐step process. Results: In an overarching theme, daughters expected shared caregiving with their siblings. They conceptualised this to be a practice of being equitable in dividing care responsibilities and fulfilling a supportive role for a parent with dementia; however, this expectation was not met by most daughters. Two subthemes were identified: (a) factors facilitating/constraining shared caregiving and (b) consequences of sharing care. The findings highlight the importance of understanding shared caregiving among siblings when caring for a parent with dementia. Discussion: Results from this study suggest that although shared caregiving is often the goal, factors such as gender roles, geographical proximity, caregiver expertise/skill set and work schedules affect caregivers' abilities to share caregiving. These factors affected whether daughters viewed the caregiving situation as being shared equitably or inequitably, and this led to feelings of acceptance or resentment of their sibling's contribution to the care of their parent. Conclusions: Healthcare providers can utilise these findings to better support adult–child caregivers negotiating care with their siblings.

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Could Caregivers’ Stressful Care Experiences Be Related to Their Attitudes towards Advance Care Planning? A Cross-Sectional Descriptive Study

Background: Previous research has shown that care experiences influence the willingness for advance care planning (ACP). Family caregivers have increased contact with medical providers and procedures in the process of caring, and they have also witnessed the disability and suffering of patients. However, few studies have focused on family caregivers to understand their attitudes towards ACP. Objective: The aim of this cross-sectional study was to acknowledge family caregivers’ attitudes towards ACP and the related factors, especially care stress and experiences during the care process. Methods: We interviewed 291 family caregivers, and the demographics of the caregivers and care recipients, the clinical condition of care recipients, and the caregivers’ stress and care experiences were collected via anonymous questionnaires. Multiple logistic regression was performed to determine the factors associated with the attitudes towards ACP. Results: We found that the caregiver having private health insurance (p < 0.001) and a completed DNR (p < 0.001) and the experience of recipients admitted to the ICU (p = 0.019) are associated with caregiver’s positive attitudes towards ACP. The greater the stress of conflict within a family over care decisions, the more participants think that ACP is important (p = 0.011). Conclusion: It is suggested that (1) in a family-centered culture, a public strategy for promoting ACP could be to emphasize the benefits of ACP in reducing family conflicts, and (2) when people make financial plans, they should also be provided with information about ACP to enable them to form a more integral plan for their future.

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Coping strategies mediate the association between family functioning and posttraumatic growth in family caregivers of people with dementia

Objectives: This study aimed to examine the mediating effect of coping strategies on the relationship between family functioning and posttraumatic growth in family caregivers of people with dementia (PwD). Methods: A total of 124 family caregivers of PwD from a memory clinic were investigated from July to October 2017. Family functioning, coping strategies, and posttraumatic growth of family caregivers of PwD were measured. Data were processed using descriptive statistics, correlation analysis, regression analysis, and structural equation modelling. Posttraumatic growth was observed in family caregivers of PwD. Results: The caregiver's gender, relationship with the patient, and difficulty balancing financial income and expenditures in the past month, as well as disease severity of PwD, are significant predictors of posttraumatic growth. There were significantly positive correlations among posttraumatic growth, family functioning and positive coping strategies (P<0.01). Positive coping strategies exert a complete mediating effect between family functioning and posttraumatic growth (β = 0.49, P < 0.05). Conclusions: A model of the posttraumatic growth of family caregivers of PwD can be established, and the relevant mechanisms can be explored. Healthcare providers should pay attention to the family functioning of caregivers and take effective measures to provide them with positive coping strategies to promote their posttraumatic growth.

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Contextual Therapy for Couples who are Primary Caregivers for a Parent(s) with Alzheimer's Disease

Background: The number of individuals experiencing Alzheimer's disease is increasing as the population ages. The majority of individuals experiencing Alzheimer's disease receive care from a family member, most often a spouse or adult child. Adult child caregivers have unique needs and life situations that put them at increased risk for caregiver burden and burnout. While both individual therapy and family therapy have been used with family caregivers, little scholarship has explored the role of couples therapy in improving caregiver outcomes. Methods: This article explores contributing factors to adult child caregiver burden and applies contextual therapy to treat these problems in couples therapy. We use a clinical vignette to illustrate the application of fairness, balance, loyalty conflicts, and constructive/destructive entitlement to caregiving. Conclusions: In all, we identify common dynamics in couples wherein one or both partners are primary caregivers for parents with Alzheimer's disease and provide clinical suggestions on how to assess and treat these challenges in couples therapy.

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Challenges and approaches to involving family caregivers in primary care

Objective: Older adults are commonly accompanied to routine medical visits. This study identifies challenges and explores approaches to managing patient-family interactions in primary care. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with primary care clinicians and staff (N = 30) as well as older adult patients and family caregivers (N = 40). Interviews were analyzed using content analysis. Results: Three major challenges to patient-family interactions were identified: navigating patient autonomy and family motivation to participate; adjudicating patient-family disagreements; and minimizing obtrusive behaviors by caregivers. Three approaches to managing patient-family interactions were identified. Collaborating involved non-judgmental listening, consensus-building, and validation of different perspectives. Dividing involved separating the patient and family member to elicit confidential information from one member of the dyad. Focusing involved re-directing the conversation to either the patient or family member while minimizing input from the other. Approaches varied by patients’ cognitive status and overall health condition. In general, patients and caregivers expressed the most positive attitudes toward collaborating and patient-directed focusing approaches. Conclusion: Primary care clinicians use varied approaches to managing their interactions with patient-family dyads. Patients and caregivers generally prefer those approaches that involve collaborative rather than individual discussions. Practice implications: Findings suggest the potential for the development of communication-focused interventions to promote positive clinician-patient-family interactions.

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Caring for a child with Epidermolysis Bullosa: a scoping review on the family impacts and support needs

Aims: Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) is a rare genetic disorder characterised by recurrent skin blistering. Wound care and nursing are critical to everyday lives of EB patients. The aim of this review was to identify the support needs of parents of a child with EB and to assess the impact EB has on the family unit, irrespective of subtype of condition severity. Methods: We conducted a scoping review comprising 11 studies (2005-2021) to examine the research literature related to the support needs of parents with a child with EB, and the impact on family unit wellbeing. Results: Most common needs identified were emotional needs, followed by practical needs, social needs and physical needs. Many parents also reported a lack of informational and psychological support. Common findings included emotional stress, lack of respite and physical strain on caring responsibility, financial stress, guilt and impact on relationships and family unit. Conclusions: Few studies exist that explore the support needs of parents of a child with EB. More attention should be paid to the support needs of parents to provide adequate care to those diagnosed with EB as well as their families.

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Carers of older Australians: unmet support needs and carer well-being

Background: Primary carers play an important role in supporting the Australian Government's policy of 'ageing in place' or encouraging people to receive care in their own homes or communities rather than in institutions. Supporting carers in their role is therefore an important aspect of the policy's success. Findings: Despite numerous programs in place, this study finds that among carers of older Australians, a relatively high proportion (39%) cite unmet needs in their carer role, including a need for financial support, physical assistance, emotional support, improvement in carer health and more respite care. Concerningly, unmet support needs were shown to be strongly associated with markers of poor carer well-being, including an almost 2-fold increase in odds of poor carer satisfaction (odds ratio (OR) 1.77, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.24-2.51), a 4- to 5-fold increase in the odds of changes to physical and emotional well-being (OR 5.29, 95% CI 3.83-7.31), deterioration in financial situation (OR 4.60, 95% CI 3.26-6.48) and strained carer-recipient relationship (OR 3.79, 95% CI 2.39-6.01).

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Caregivers of Frail Elders: Updating a National Profile

Purpose: Family caregivers comprise the backbone of long-term-care provision in the United States, yet little is known about how the composition and experience of family caregiving has changed over time. Design and Methods: Data are drawn from the 1989 and 1999 National Long-Term Care Survey and Informal Caregiver Survey to develop nationally representative profiles of disabled older adults and their primary informal caregivers at two points in time. Results: The proportion of chronically disabled community-dwelling older adults who were receiving informal assistance from family or friends declined over the period of interest, whereas the proportion receiving no human help increased. On average, recipients of informal care were older and more disabled in 1999 than in 1989. Primary caregivers were children (41.3%), spouses (38.4%), and other family or friends (20.4%); children were more likely and others less likely to serve as primary caregivers in 1999 relative to 1989. Primary caregivers provided frequent and high levels of help at both points in time. A striking increase was found (from 34.9% to 52.8%) in the proportion of primary caregivers working alone, without secondary caregiver involvement. Implications: In the context of projected demographic trends and budgetary constraints to public health insurance programs, these data underscore the importance of identifying viable strategies to monitor and support family caregivers in the coming years. 

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Caregiver's difficulty paying child's healthcare bills and bullying victimization of adolescents with physical disabilities

Objective: Guided by the ecological systems perspective, the objective of the study was to examine whether caregivers' difficulty paying their child's health‐care bills is associated with bullying victimization directly and indirectly through the mediating mechanisms of caregivers' frustration, adolescents' internalizing problems, and social difficulty focusing on adolescents with physical disabilities. Design: The 2019 National Survey of Children's Health dataset, which collected data on adolescents' and caregivers' demographic characteristics and health and well‐being, was used. The study sample consisted of 368 caregivers of adolescents, 12–17 years of age with physical disabilities. Results: No direct association between caregivers' difficulty paying their child's health‐care bills and bullying victimization was found. However, caregivers' frustration and adolescents' internalizing problems were shown to have an indirect association with bullying victimization, which was mediated by difficulty making friends. In addition, adolescents' difficulty making friends was positively associated with bullying victimization. Conclusions: Practitioners working with adolescents with physical disabilities are encouraged to foster collaborative processes across various ecological systems of the adolescent and family to address caregivers' frustration and promote positive social and emotional development of the adolescent with physical disabilities, which can decrease their risk of bullying victimization.

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The Caregiver Identity in Context: Consequences of Identity Threat From Siblings

Objectives: Although siblings represent central members of the networks of caregivers and their parents, there has been limited attention to how siblings affect one another's well-being during caregiving. In this article, we draw from theories of identity and stress to examine the impact that siblings have on caregivers' psychological well-being. Specifically, we employ a mixed-methods approach to explore whether caregivers' perceptions that their siblings are critical of the care they provide their mother are associated with higher depressive symptoms and the mechanisms underlying this association. Methods: Using quantitative data collected from 404 caregivers nested within 231 families as part of the Within-Family Differences Study, we conduct mediation analyses to examine whether perceived sibling criticisms are associated with caregivers' depressive symptoms (a) directly and/or (b) indirectly through sibling tension. We then analyze qualitative data collected from the same caregivers to gain insight into the processes underlying statistical associations. Results: Quantitative analyses revealed that there was no direct relationship between perceived sibling criticisms and depressive symptoms; there was, however, an indirect relationship such that perceived sibling criticisms were associated with greater sibling tension, which in turn was associated with higher depressive symptoms. These quantitative findings were corroborated by qualitative analyses, which demonstrated that, in an effort to mitigate the negative impact of sibling criticisms, caregivers often employed strategies that may have fueled sibling tension. Discussion: These findings demonstrate how identity processes, as well as the family networks in which caregiving takes place, shape the experiences and consequences of parent care.

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Are mothers and daughters most important? How gender, childhood family dissolution and parents’ current living arrangements affect the personal care of parents

Background: This study examines adult children’s propensity to provide personal care to older mothers and fathers. The theory of intergenerational solidarity facilitates the understanding of commitment and support between adult children and parents. Solidarity may depend on childhood events as well as the current situation, and we therefore focus on whether there was a parental breakup in childhood and the parent’s current living arrangements. We also focus on the gendered aspects of the relations as earlier research has found stronger matrilinear relationships. Method: The propensity for personal care was analyzed with regression analysis using the 2012 Swedish Generations and Gender Survey. Results: The results show that daughters are more likely than sons to provide personal care to both parents. Parental breakup in childhood does not change the propensity of personal care to any parent. The probability of receiving care is higher for lone mothers than for mothers living with the father, but not for repartnered mothers. Adult children’s care provision does not differ for lone fathers and fathers living with the mother, but children are more likely to provide care to lone fathers than to repartnered fathers. We interpret this to indicate that repartnering weakens ties to fathers but not mothers. The results indicate that the child’s gender and the parent’s living arrangements operate differently with regard to care for mothers and fathers. The most common pattern is care provided from daughters to mothers. For example, daughters of lone mothers are more likely to provide care than sons in the same situation. Conclusion: We conclude that intergenerational solidarity is not affected by parental breakup in childhood but that present living arrangements affect such solidarity in gendered ways. 

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Actor and partner effects of self-rated health on life satisfaction among family caregiver couples

Objectives: This study examined the dyadic effects of self-rated health on the life satisfaction of family caregivers. The effects of the use of long-term care services were also explored to investigate whether support through care services is associated with the life satisfaction of family caregivers. Methods: The data were drawn from the sixth wave (2016) of the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging. Caregivers who used long-term care services for older family members, and spouses of the caregivers, were identified. A total of 81 married caregiver couples were analyzed using the actor-partner interdependence model. Results: The study showed that better self-rated health of caregivers was associated with higher levels of life satisfaction (B = 8.87, p < 0.001). Better self-rated health of the caregivers was also associated with higher life satisfaction of their spouses (B = 6.01, p < 0.05). In addition, the results suggested that the use of long-term care services for patients was associated with the life satisfaction of both caregivers (B = 14.57, p < 0.01) and their spouses (B = 12.51, p < 0.05). Discussion: Our findings suggested mutual influences among family caregivers on their life satisfaction. In addition, long-term care services for patients may improve the life satisfaction of other family members. More support through long-term care services for people with care needs is required to increase the life satisfaction of family caregivers. The diverse relationships among family caregivers should be taken into consideration when developing policies and interventions.

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Family understanding and communication about an adult relative's mental health problem: A systematic narrative review

WHAT IS KNOWN ON THE SUBJECT?: Adults who support an adult family member with a severe and enduring mental health problem often experience carer burden. Over time, this often negatively affects their mental and physical health and social well-being. Understanding and communicating about mental health problems in families can help to improve resilience and coping among both adults and children. WHAT DOES THIS PAPER ADD TO EXISTING KNOWLEDGE?: We conducted a review of studies looking at how adult relatives understand and communicate about an adult family member's mental health problem. The findings highlight that how relatives make sense of MHP is related to historical family relationships, their mental health literacy and whether they see themselves as a "carer" or not. The findings also show that little research to date has explored how adult relatives talk with children about their parent's difficulties, and how the adults' understanding might affect what children learn about the MHP. WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE?: There is a research gap to be addressed regarding family communication with children about parental mental health problems. This knowledge gap likely impacts family-focused mental health nursing and therapy provision. Mental health nursing, therapeutic and support workers and advocates are ideally positioned to assist relatives with improving their mental health literacy and confidence communicating about mental health, and to promote inclusion of relatives and children in interventions.

ABSTRACT: Introduction Relatives are profoundly affected by an adult family member's severe and enduring mental health problem (MHP). The burdens of caring impact on adult relatives' emotional, physical and social well-being. How relatives make meaning and communicate about the MHP is thought to affect family talk about mental health, and this can impact family coping and well-being. Aim No review has yet drawn together research about how adult relatives of people with severe and enduring MHP make meaning and communicate about their relatives' difficulties. We aimed to address this gap. Method We conducted a systematic review of peer-reviewed primary research. SCOPUS, PubMed, Psychnet, SCIE, Cochrane and CINAHL+ databases were searched. Results Nineteen papers qualified for inclusion. Findings are organized under four themes: making meaning about the MHP and affected individual; conceptualizing the self in the presence of the MHP; meaning-making processes underlying relatives' well-being outcomes; and relatives' perspectives on family talk about the MHP. Discussion Historical relationships, caregiver identity and mental health literacy moderate relatives' understanding and talk about the MHP. Implications for practice Psychoeducation and communication support for relatives should be provided by mental health practitioners. Future research should address familial communication about MHP, including with children. 

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Caregiving Choice and Caregiver-Receiver Relation: Effects on Psychological Well-being of Family Caregivers in Canada

The psychological well-being of family caregivers is influenced by their relations with care receivers, and whether they have choice in becoming a caregiver. Limited study has explored the interaction effect of caregiver-receiver relations and caregiving choice on caregivers' psychological well-being. This study examines whether the caregiver's perceived choice moderates the association between caregiver-receiver relation and psychological well-being. Using population-based data from the 2012 Canada General Social Survey - Caregiving and Care Receiving (n = 5,285), this study applies regression and ANCOVA analyses. Results show family caregivers for spouses and children report significantly worse psychological well-being, whereas having choice to become a caregiver is associated with better psychological well-being. There was a significant moderation effect of caregiving choice on the association between caregiver-receiver relation and psychological well-being. Findings suggest that more services should be targeted for family caregivers without choice for caregiving as well as those who provide care for their children.

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Relationship Satisfaction and Depression After Traumatic Brain Injury: An Actor-Partner Interdependence Model of Patients and Caregivers in Mexico and Colombia

Objective: Traumatic brain injury represents a major public health concern, particularly in low- and middle-income countries like in Latin America. Family members are often caregivers for individuals with traumatic brain injury, which can result in significant stress. Research is needed to examine depression and quality of the caregiving relationship in these dyads. This study examined relationship quality and depression longitudinally after traumatic brain injury within the caregiving relationship. Design: Dyads (N = 109) composed of individuals with traumatic brain injury and their caregivers were recruited from three hospitals in Mexico and Colombia. They self-reported depression and relationship satisfaction during hospitalization and at 2 and 4 mos after hospitalization. Results: A 2-lag Actor Partner Interdependence Model demonstrated that patients and caregivers reporting high relationship satisfaction at baseline experienced lower depression 2 mos later, which then predicted higher caregiver relationship satisfaction at 4 mos. Moreover, patients with high relationship satisfaction at baseline had caregivers with lower depression at 2 mos, which was then associated with patients' higher satisfaction at 4 mos. Conclusions: Within individuals with traumatic brain injury and caregivers, depression and relationship satisfaction seem to be inversely related. Furthermore, patients' and caregivers' depression and relationship satisfaction impact each other over time, demonstrating interdependence within the caregiving relationship. 

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Five Phases of Dyadic Analysis: Stretching the Boundaries of Understanding of Family Relationships

In the last decade, an increasing number of qualitative studies sought to investigate the dynamics of various dyads by conducting in‐depth, multiple family member interviews. The emphasis in the methodological literature dealing with this type of research is primarily on the data collection process, and much less on the development of methods suitable for the analysis of the data thus derived, especially with regard to dyads consisting of family members belonging to different systems: families of origin or nuclear families. The purpose of this paper is to propose a model for dyadic analysis based on examining the dynamics of the evolving relationships between key caregivers of a family member with brain injury. The model includes inductive and abductive phases of analysis, and it is based on an ecological‐systemic perspective. The benefits of this model are highlighted, and its potential contribution is further discussed. 

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Quality of the caregiving relationship and quality of life in mild Alzheimer's dementia

Background: The present study aims to investigate the quality of the dyadic relationship between mild Alzheimer patients and their caregivers. The main objective is to evaluate the consistency, agreement and validity of the German version of the Scale for Quality of the Current Relationship in Caregiving (SQCRC). The secondary objective was to examine the association of relationship quality with quality of life (QOL) in patients with mild Alzheimer's disease (AD) and their caregivers. Methods: In this study, a sample of 50 patients diagnosed with mild AD and their primary caregivers were included. Participants underwent a full neuropsychological evaluation. The quality of the relationship between persons with AD and their caregivers was assessed using the SQCRC. Furthermore, other scales of relationship quality, well‐being of the person with AD, and well‐being of the caregiver were used. Results: The results showed that the SQCRC has a good internal consistency and high validity. Also, relationship quality as rated by the AD patients (r = 0.37, P < 0.1) and their caregivers (r = 0.51, P < 0.1) was significantly correlated with QOL. Conclusions: The findings suggest that many persons with mild AD can rate their relationship quality and that the patient's self‐rated relationship quality is a substantial predictor of their QOL.

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Identity, relationship quality, and subjective burden in caregivers of persons with dementia

The aim of the current study was to examine the associations between informal caregivers' perception of identity change in their care-partner, the quality of the caregiver/care-recipient relationship, and caregiver burden in a sample of 56 informal caregivers of persons with dementia. Most (96.4%) of the caregivers of persons who received a dementia diagnosis reported a perceived change in the identity of their care-partner. Caregivers' perception of relationship satisfaction was measured with the Burns Relationship Satisfaction Scale for premorbid relationship and current relationship quality, and caregiver burden was measured with the Zarit Burden scale. After controlling for variance due to dementia severity, premorbid relationship satisfaction, and current relationship satisfaction, caregivers' perceived change in the identity of the person with dementia accounted for significant variance in caregiver burden. Using a mediational model, we found support for a direct effect between perceived change in identity and caregiver burden, but we also found support for an indirect effect of relationship quality on the relation between perceived identity change and caregiver burden. The demonstrated model provides an empirically supported theoretical framework for guiding potential research and development of future interventions, which we suggest should emphasize dyads.

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Family Relationships and Alzheimer's Disease: A Systematic Review

Background: Family caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease are the most important support in concrete personal and economic terms. Family dynamics play a fundamental role in the provision of informal caregiving benefits. Objective: This review aims to identify factors related to the family caregiving of relatives with Alzheimer's disease, taking specifically into account the construct of coping and expressed emotion. Methods: This is a systematic review including articles selected using search terms including "caregivers," "Alzheimer's," "family," and "relationship" in research databases. Findings were synthesized and categorized into themes. Results: A total of 454 abstracts were identified. Following screening, lateral searches, and quality appraisal, 36 studies were included for synthesis. A total of 5 themes were identified: burden; demographics; coping strategies; caregiver mental health; and family dynamics and expressed emotions. Conclusion: The quality and level of evidence supporting each theme varied. We need further research into family dynamics ameliorating the caregiving and how to measure it. 

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Dementia care-giving from a family network perspective in Germany: A typology

Sustaining informal care-giving for people living with dementia (PWD) is a common objective of societies worldwide. Families can contribute substantially to the support of care-giving relatives. However, a deeper understanding of the impact of informal care-giving for PWD on family life is needed. Interviewing of multiple family network members-in addition to the primary carer-provides more insight into familial contexts of care-giving. This pilot study aims to explore how informal carers reconcile dementia care-giving and family life from a family network perspective. Therefore, we conducted 14 narrative interviews with family carers from seven care-giving networks in Germany, which we interpreted using the documentary method. The yielded relational typology describes five types of family carers of PWD. These types reflect the way the families deal with dementia care-giving based on the interrelation between relationship quality and the distribution of care-giving tasks within the family. Depending on the constellation of this interrelationship, family carers either experience care as a joint project, as co-operation with external support or within the family, as disappointment or as a predicament without alternatives. Finally, if the care-giving tasks are not shared, or if the distribution is perceived as unequal, relationship break downs can occur, especially in family ties that are already strained. However, joint care-giving and strong ties can also bring the family closer together and enhance care experiences. Care professionals and social workers should be aware of the family network of dementia carers and support the development of a sense of family unity. This can contribute to positive care experiences among family carers and thus increase the maintenance of informal dementia care. 

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Carer burden and dyadic attachment orientations in adult children-older parent dyads

• Anxious-avoidant attachment pairings predict increased burden in adult-child carers. • Similar attachment insecurity in parent-child dyads do not predict burden. • Taking a dyadic approach to examining attachment in ageing families is critical.

This study takes an interpersonal approach to the study of carer burden in families where adult children care for older parents. The aim of the study was to determine whether different pairings of attachment insecurity in older parent-adult child dyads are predictive of carer burden. Seventy dyads whereby adult children provided weekly care to their older parents completed self-report measures of attachment. Adult children also completed a measure of carer burden. Anxious-avoidant attachment insecurity pairings in parent-child dyads were associated with increases in carer burden. However, anxious-anxious and avoidant-avoidant attachment insecurity pairings were not associated with burden. The attachment insecurity of the care-recipient was found to moderate the association between a carer's attachment insecurity and burden, but only when the care-recipient's attachment insecurity differed to that of the carer's. These findings have implications for research, policy, and practice in aged care. The findings highlight the importance of focusing on attachment insecurity in aging families as well as taking a dyadic perspective when studying caregiving outcomes such as carer burden. The findings suggest that carers who may require the greatest support are those whose parents demonstrate contrasting orientations of attachment insecurity. 

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Applying Relational Turbulence Theory to Adult Caregiving Relationships

Although the quality of the relationship between caregivers and care recipients predicts the well-being of both people, gaps exist in understanding the interpersonal dynamics of adult caregiving. We introduce relational turbulence theory as a conceptual framework for understanding how caregivers and care recipients relate to each other. We searched for research on relational turbulence theory as well as research on the relationships of adult care partners. Then, we integrated the two bodies of work. Our review suggests initial support for the theory's three central tenets: (a) transitions, including the transition to caregiving, are key periods within relationships; (b) relational uncertainty and interdependence are relationship parameters that complicate relating during transitions; and (c) relational turbulence predicts outcomes. Recommendations for practice include (a) helping care partners focus on relationship continuity, (b) gearing clinical services toward both people, (c) educating them about relational uncertainty and interdependence, and (d) teaching them communication strategies for diminishing relational turbulence. Making care partners aware of interpersonal challenges may bolster relationship satisfaction. 

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"I've always been the one who drops everything": the lived experiences and life-course impacts of young adult women carers

Based on findings from a Canadian-based study, this article examines the stories of young adult women carers. Young adult women caring for a parent or grandparent were interviewed using social network maps, participant-driven photography and care timelines. The findings reveal numerous impacts on the women's lives, which we categorise according to three temporal periods: the past (how they came to be carers); the present (their daily realities of care); and the future (how they imagine what is ahead). We conclude with a discussion regarding the tensions between the women's personal stories and the social forces that shape young women's caring.

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Relational satisfaction of spousal/partner informal caregivers of people with multiple sclerosis: Relational commitment, caregiving burden, and prorelational behavioral tendencies

Background: Relational satisfaction of spousal/partner informal caregivers of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) is important for continued care and support. Previous studies have examined relational satisfaction in terms of well-being and quality of life of informal caregivers. Based on the Rusbult investment model, we directly studied the relational satisfaction of spousal/partner informal caregivers of individuals with MS. In doing so, we investigated possible effects that commitment to relationship, caregiving burden, and prorelational behavioral tendencies might have on relational satisfaction. Methods: Nine hundred nine adult spousal/partner informal caregivers of people with MS completed measures of relational satisfaction (Kansas Marital Satisfaction Scale), commitment to relationship (15-item commitment measure), caregiving burden (Zarit Burden Interview), and prorelational behavioral tendencies (adapted Prosocial Tendencies Measure). Participants also provided demographic information (age, sex, duration and type of relationship [spouse, partner]). Results: Structural equation modeling highlighted commitment to the relationship as the strongest predictor of relational satisfaction. Caregiving burden was found to affect relational satisfaction directly and through commitment to relationship. Prorelational behavioral tendencies were found to affect less relational satisfaction. Conclusions: Commitment to relationship, namely, intent to persist, had the highest positive effect on satisfaction. Caregiving burden was found to have a two-way negative relationship to commitment to relationship. These findings suggest that specialists should enhance the intent-to-persist aspect of commitment because it seems to have an alleviating effect regarding caregiving burden (which itself negatively affects relational satisfaction). 

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Longitudinal evaluation of the effects of illness perceptions and beliefs about cardiac rehabilitation on quality of life of patients with coronary artery disease and their caregivers

Background: Patients' negative illness perceptions and beliefs about cardiac rehabilitation (CR) can influence uptake and adherence to CR. Little is known about the interpartner influence of these antecedent variables on quality of life of patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) and their family caregivers. The aims of the study were: 1) to assess differences in illness perceptions, beliefs about CR and quality of life between patients with CAD and their family caregivers upon entry to a CR programme and at 6 months follow-up; and 2) to examine whether patients' and caregivers' perceptions of the patient's illness and beliefs about CR at baseline predict their own and their partner's quality of life at 6 months. Methods: In this longitudinal study of 40 patient-caregiver dyads from one CR service, patients completed the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire and Beliefs about Cardiac Rehabilitation Questionnaire at baseline and 6 months; and caregivers completed these questionnaires based on their views about the patient's illness and CR. The Short-Form 12 Health Survey was used to assess patients' and caregivers' perceived health status. Dyadic data were analysed using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model. Results: Most patients (70%) were men, mean age 62.45 years; and most caregivers (70%) were women, mean age 59.55 years. Caregivers were more concerned about the patient's illness than the patients themselves; although they had similar scores for beliefs about CR. Patients had poorer physical health than caregivers, but their level of mental health was similar. Caregivers' poorer mental health at 6 months was predicted by the patient's perceptions of timeline and illness concern (i.e. partner effects). Patient's and caregiver's illness perceptions and beliefs about CR were associated with their own physical and mental health at 6 months (i.e. actor effects). Conclusions: Overall, the patients and caregivers had similar scores for illness perceptions and beliefs about CR. The actor and partner effect results indicate a need to focus on specific illness perceptions and beliefs about CR, targeting both the individual and the dyad, early in the rehabilitation process to help improve patients and caregivers physical and mental health (outcomes). 

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The value of “us”—Expressions of togetherness in couples where one spouse has dementia

Background: Living with dementia involves both illness and health, and self-care and care from others. As most persons with dementia live in their own homes, dementia affects not only the person with the disease, but also family, commonly the partner. Research shows that spousal carers feel as though they are losing their partners since they can no longer share thoughts, feelings and experiences as a couple. Aim: The aim of the study was to describe the sense of togetherness of the spouses when one spouse has dementia. Method: The sample consists of 18 recorded conversations between 15 persons with dementia and their spouses. The filmed conversations were transcribed verbatim and then analysed using qualitative content analysis. Findings: One overarching theme arose: Dementia preserved and challenged the value of “us.” It can be challenging for a couple in which one partner has dementia to preserve a sense of togetherness and to have the relationship they wish for. Conclusion: Based on our results, we suggest that practitioners should help couples to strengthen their bond as a couple so as to maintain a sense of well-being. Future studies should examine couplehood under differing conditions, such as long- versus short-term relationships. Prior relationship quality may also be a factor that influences the sense of couplehood following a serious health challenge, such as dementia. Implication for practice: When spouses were able to live together, their relationship was enriched at many levels. Their love for each other strengthened them as a unit – as an “us” – where togetherness seemed to be strong. Future studies need to examine whether the sense of couplehood varies depending on the length of the relationship (i.e., a relationship of many years or a relatively new relationship). 

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Estranged relations: Coercion and care in narratives of supported decision-making in mental healthcare

Supported decision-making has become popular among policymakers and mental health advocates as a means of reducing coercion in mental healthcare. Nevertheless, users of psychiatric services often seem equivocal about the value of supported decision-making initiatives. In this paper we explore why such initiatives might be rejected or ignored by the would-be beneficiaries, and we reflect on broader implications for care and coercion. We take a critical medical humanities approach, particularly through the lens of entanglement. We analyse the narratives of 29 people diagnosed with mental illness, and 29 self-identified carers speaking of their experiences of an Australian mental healthcare system and of their views of supported decision-making. As a scaffolding for our critique we consider two supported decision-making instruments in the 2014 Victorian Mental Health Act: the advance statement and the nominated person. These instruments presuppose that patients and carers endorse a particular set of relationships between the agentic self and illness, as well as between patient, carer and the healthcare system. Our participant narratives instead conveyed 'entangled' relations, which we explore in three sections. In the first we show how ideas about fault and illness often coexisted, which corresponded with shifting views on the need for more versus less agency for patients. In the second section, we illustrate how family carers struggled to embody the supported decision-making ideal of the independent yet altruistic nominated person, and in the final section we suggest that both care and coercion were narrated as existing across informal/formal care divisions. We conclude by reflecting on how these dynamic relations complicate supported decision-making projects, and prompt a rethink of how care and coercion unfold in contemporary mental healthcare. 

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Intergenerational Relationships, Family Caregiving Policy, and COVID-19 in the United States

Families and intergenerational relationships are important sources of risk for COVID-19 infection, especially for older adults who are at high risk of complications from the disease. If one family member is exposed to the virus they could serve as a source of transmission or, if they fall ill, the resources they provide to others could be severed. These risks may be especially heightened for family members who work outside the home and provide care, or for those family members who care for multiple generations. Policies have the potential to help families bear the burden of these decisions. This essay argues that policies that address health, employment, and other social issues have implications for families, and that policies aimed at families and caregivers can affect the health, employment, and the general well-being of the nation.

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The Mental Well-Being of Informal Carers of Adults on the Autism Spectrum: a Systematic Review

Carers of autistic adults may experience increased day-to-day stress relating to their caring role. This review aims to (1) summarise the current literature on factors that affect mental well-being in carers of autistic adults and (2) map these results to an existing conceptual model of carer psychological well-being for individuals with developmental disabilities. Twenty-three studies met inclusion criteria. Some factors, such as adaptive skills and the quality of the caring relationship, were consistently associated with carer mental well-being. Conflicting or weak associations were found with several factors, including carer age and formal services received. These findings may be mapped to the King et al. (Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 24(1), 41–53, 1999) model, and adaptations to this model are discussed. 

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“I Know Who I Am; the Real Me, and That Will Come Back”: The Importance of Relational Practice in Improving Outcomes for Carers of People With Dementia

Effective support to carers of people with dementia can be critical to maintain quality of life for people with dementia and their families and to sustain the future of health and care systems. Qualitative interviews were undertaken with 14 carers of people with dementia across Scotland, and the data were analysed to identify the outcomes important to the carers. The importance of relationships emerged as the core theme, including relationship with the person with dementia, family members, other carers, and professionals. Although not evident in the literature, the authors noted that the concept of self-relationship was important to carers in the context of changing relationships with others. A multilayered approach to understanding relationships, and an approach to engagement that enables carers to define and express their priorities, is necessary to fit with the relational nature of care. 

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Carer experience of end-of-life service provision: a social network analysis

Objective To identify the position of formal service providers in the networks of those providing end-of-life care in the home from the perspective of the informal network. Methods Using third-generation social network analysis, this study examined the nature and strength of relationships of informal caring networks with formal service providers through individual carer interviews, focus groups of caring networks and outer network interviews. Results Service providers were usually highly valued for providing services, equipment, pain management and personalised care for the dying person plus support and advice to the principal carer about both caring tasks and negotiating the health system. However, formal service providers were positioned as marginal in the caring network. Analysis of the relative density of relationships within networks showed that whereas relationships among family and friends had similar density, relationships between service providers and family or friends were significantly lower. Conclusion The results supported the Circles of Care model and mirror the perspective of formal service providers identified in previous research. The research raises questions about how formal and informal networks might be better integrated to increase their effectiveness for supporting in-home care. 

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The Impact of Lifelong Family Care on Family Caregivers’ Perceptions of the Sexuality of Young Adults with Intellectual Disabilities in the Western Cape of South Africa

This paper presents findings of a constructivist grounded theory study conducted within the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The study explored how family caregivers respond to sexuality issues of their young adults with intellectual disabilities (ID). Indepth interviews and focus group discussions were used as methods of data collection. Twenty-five family caregivers participated in the study. The family caregivers’ perceptions highlight how the lifelong care relationship and the living arrangements attached to it may become a hindrance to people with ID exercising sexual autonomy. The family caregivers felt responsible for the young adults’ behavior and determined what was appropriate or not with regards to the young adults’ sexuality. Concerns about the young adults’ future care were central in the family caregivers’ responses. We conclude that without the appropriate forms of support for both the young adults and their caregivers, the young adults will continue to be policed by the family caregivers and not have choices and opportunities to enjoy and express their sexuality. The support interventions needed should alleviate the burden of care from the family caregivers and also ensure independent living and more choices for the young adults with ID. 

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Caring for older people: relational narratives of attentiveness, commitment and acceptance

Informal care evolves from an existing relationship with the care recipient. This study aims to understand the relational nature of such care. Six participants caring for a spouse or parent chose their own methods of data collection, including keeping a journal, telephone interviews or face-to-face interviews. Participants drew on personal narratives to reveal different identities, which included a guardian, a partner, a coper, and a campaigner on behalf of the person receiving care. These findings demonstrate how providing good care is part of each carer’s relational identity. Acknowledging the relational nature of care will enable better support for carers.

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Interpersonal relationship challenges among stroke survivors and family caregivers

A strong interpersonal relationship after stroke is important for the well-being of survivors and family caregivers. However, as many as 54% of families experience relationship problems after stroke and as many as 38% of couples experience overt conflict. The purpose of this study is to enhance understanding about relationship challenges among stroke dyads and to identify implications for direct practice in social work. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with N = 19 care dyads. Qualitative data were analyzed through an interpretive description lens. Seven themes about relationship challenges were identified. Findings highlight areas to consider in promoting strong relationships between survivors and family caregivers. Social workers may have the opportunity to assist dyads with disrupting negative communication cycles, strengthening empathy and collaboration, and achieving a balance so that each person's needs are met.

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Family Caregiver-Receiver Mutuality: A Concept Analysis

There are more than 43 million family caregivers in the United States. In studies of family caregivers and receivers, evidence suggests that family caregiver-receiver mutuality is linked to health. Lack of a clear definition of family caregiver-receiver mutuality is an obstacle that prevents scientific progress and effective operationalization of the concept. To address this issue, the authors applied Walker and Avant's method for concept analysis and clarified the concept of family caregiver-receiver mutuality. A standardized definition of caregiver-receiver mutuality is presented along with antecedents, consequences, defining attributes, empirical referents, and case illustrations.

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Factors associated with family functioning among people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and primary family caregivers

Introduction: Families provide frontline caregiving support for people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. However, research primarily addresses correlates of family functioning from primary family caregivers' perspectives.; Aim: To examine perceived family functioning, particularly its concordance within patient-caregiver dyads, and associated factors in families of people living with schizophrenia.; Methods: A cross-sectional, descriptive correlational design was used. A total of 133 dyads of patients and primary family caregivers from inpatient psychiatric rehabilitation services participated. Descriptive statistics, independent sample t test, one-way ANOVA, Pearson's correlation coefficients, Intraclass correlation coefficient, and stepwise multiple linear regression analyses were applied.; Results: Family functioning was perceived as impaired by patient-caregiver dyads, and there existed a concordance in this regard. Patients' and family caregivers' education levels, patients' suicidality, number of previous hospitalisations, and quality of family-centred care correlated with patients' and primary family caregivers' family functioning.; Discussion: Findings highlight the importance of patient- and family-reported family functioning with implications to address individual and collective concerns.; Implications For Practice: Evidence-based family interventions are crucial for assisting vulnerable families in promoting family functioning. Mental health nurses should facilitate collaboration and open dialogue concerning perspectives of patients and families to improve delivery of comprehensive mental health care.

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Coping with cognitive impairment and family caregiving: Introduction to the special section

Consistent with the long history within Psychology and Aging of publishing high impact articles on family caregiving, the current Special Section includes 5 articles that provide important advances, in knowledge and in methodological sophistication, to the study of cognitive difficulty, impairment and family caregiving. One study used daily diary data over 14 days to conduct microlongitudinal analyses of the prospective impact of everyday memory failures on negative affect and marital interactions in older couples. Also relying on dyadic data, 2 other articles addressed the impact of caregiving on family members, including a study of the effects of transitioning to family caregiving over time on well-being in older husbands and wives, and a comparison of primary and secondary caregivers. Together, these articles represent important methodological advances in terms of the use of longitudinal data to study the effects of transition to cognitive impairment and spousal caregiving within the couple, and the inclusion of multiple caregivers to illustrate the impacts of caregiving in the broader family. In addition, two articles examined issues in clinical intervention for caregivers. Both articles offer new insights about the effectiveness of caregiver interventions, with the former focusing on the relative merits of offering intervention components in a flexible way over the manualized approach, and the latter a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis to tease out the relative utility of different intervention characteristics and approaches, with a new lens to look at psychoeducational programs. The implications of these articles for family caregiving and further research advances are discussed. 

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Changes in Family Dynamics in Caregiving for People With Dementia in South Korea: A Qualitative Meta-Synthesis Study

Living with a person with dementia considerably affects the lives of both the primary caregiver and the entire family. This study aimed to synthesize the findings of qualitative studies that explored dementia caregivers' experiences, to further understand the impact of dementia caregiving on family dynamics. Thirty-seven qualitative studies were analyzed and synthesized according to the meta-synthesis methods suggested by Sandelowski and Barroso. Four themes were identified to describe the impact of dementia caregiving on the family: cracked foundation of the family caused by dementia, voluntary or involuntary setup of a marked boundary of care, family as supportive foreground versus reluctant or interfering background, and re-established relationships within and outside the family. The findings illuminate that dementia caregiving has a destructive impact on the entire family, and therefore, it is imperative to develop interventions and infrastructures for both the caregiver and the entire family of individuals with dementia. 

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The Care of "Small Things": Aging and Dignity in Rwanda

In Rwanda, disruptions to family and social life as a result of the 1994 genocide, and the economic transformations in its aftermath, have complicated the fabric of elder care across the country. In this article, I focus on how elderly Rwandans are reconfiguring their care networks - many of which were destroyed during the genocide - by acting as caregivers and care receivers for each other on a daily basis. Although emotionally and physically taxing, elderly Rwandans emphasize that the "small things" embedded in the giving and receiving of care are intricately connected to how personal and collective dignity is cultivated. 

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Buffer or Blade: Perceived relationship closeness in couples navigating Alzheimer's

Given the paucity of support from the welfare state, the lion's share of care for American seniors with memory loss is shouldered by their spouses who tend to be older and sometimes are frail themselves. Previous research has bifurcated attention to either accounts from diagnosed individuals or carers rather than understanding the experience within a socio-relational context of sometimes half-century long relationships. The present study was a qualitative investigation of 11 community-dwelling dyads (N = 22) living in the Greater Boston Area to understand how married heterosexual couples experience Alzheimer's. They were predominately white, highly educated individuals with mild to moderate AD and their spouses. Grounded theory methodologies were used to collect, code, and analyze all narrative study data. The data from these spousal dyads reveal that most couples approached AD as a joint challenge and were committed to maintaining their prior roles and lives for as long as possible, including shared outlooks, approaches, and activities. By showing how some couples navigate AD together rather than separately, these data provide an important counter narrative to the burden-based framing of AD in our social imagination. Regardless of perceptions of relationship closeness, all dyads employed strategies to live life positively with Alzheimer's. Despite being a highly privileged sample, or an “ideal type,” these data reveal the importance of studying AD as a coupled or family event; that is, a social and relational matter, rather than simply an individual medical problem. They also highlight the importance of relationship-centered care in meeting families “where they are” in terms of existing social roles. Universalizing all AD experiences leads to an over-reliance on reductionist tropes such as “stress” and “burden” and exacerbates the very real threat to social disenfranchisement. 

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"Everybody Takes Care of Everybody": Care Circulation and Care Relations in Three-Generation Cohabitation

Demographic changes in Western societies have enabled long-term relationships between more generations and have significantly affected the structure and dynamic of family lives and contemporary families. This article presents a case study of three-generation cohabitation, the situation in which three generations live together in the same place at the same time. Drawing on in-depth interviews with three generations—grandparents, parents, and adult grandchildren—the article illuminates the characteristics of intergenerational caregiving and care-receiving. It uses the concept of care circulation to explore the everyday repeated exchanges of care among all family members and the caregiving constellations, arrangements, and distributions across the generations. We argue that the care is not unidimensional and unidirectional; rather, the care circulates among the family members cohabiting in three-generation households who are at the same time both caregivers and care-receivers. 

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The impact of relationship quality on life satisfaction and well-being in dementia caregiving dyads: findings from the IDEAL study

Objectives: The quality of the relationship between people with dementia and their informal caregiver maybe an important determinant of life satisfaction and well-being for both members of the dyad. Taking a dyadic perspective, the aim of this study was to examine whether self- and partner-rated relationship quality influences life satisfaction and well-being for both people with dementia and their caregivers. Design and methods: Using data from 1283 dyads in the Improving the Experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life (IDEAL) cohort, we examined the impact of current relationship quality on life satisfaction and well-being in dementia caregiving dyads. Data were analysed using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM) framework. Results: Self-rated relationship quality was associated with own life satisfaction and well-being for both people with dementia and caregivers. Partner-rated relationship quality did not influence own life satisfaction or well-being for either member of the dyad. Conclusion: This study is the first to use the APIM framework to explore the dyadic associations between relationship quality and life satisfaction and well-being in a large cohort of dementia caregiving dyads. The obtained findings suggest that the individual perception of the quality of the caregiving relationship held by each member of the caregiving dyad is an important factor for that member's life satisfaction and well-being, while the partner's perception of relationship quality is not. The findings highlight the importance of considering the individual perspective of both the person with dementia and the caregiver and enabling each to maintain positive perceptions of relationship quality.

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Development and validation of a quality of relationship intervention for stroke survivor-family caregiver dyads

Background: The relationship between stroke survivors and family caregivers is critical for the well-being of both dyad members. Currently, there are few interventions targeted at dyads and focused on strengthening the relationship between survivors and family caregivers. Objectives: This study reports on the development of a customizable, strengths-based, relationship-focused intervention driven by the real-world experience and advice of stroke dyads. It also describes the "tips" that survivors and family caregivers offered for dealing with relationship challenges after stroke. Methods: Content of the intervention, including relationship tips, was derived from semi-structured interviews with N= 19 stroke dyads. A modified Delphi process with a national panel of 10 subject matter experts was used to evaluate and refine the content of the intervention and the associated screening tool. Results: Seventeen domains of relationship challenges and tips were identified. Consensus was reached among experts that the intervention content was relevant to the goal of helping survivors and family caregivers maintain a strong relationship after stroke; (2) clear from the perspective of stroke survivors and family caregivers who would be using it; (3) accurate with respect to the advice being offered, and; (4) useful for helping stroke survivors and family caregivers improve the quality of their relationship. Conclusions: This study extends the limited body of research about dyadic interventions after stroke. The next steps in this line of research include feasibility testing the intervention and evaluating its efficacy in a larger trial.

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“Ours is the Strangest Situation, Ours is Different from Most Peoples”: Spousal Caregiver Perspectives on the Complex Challenges of Dementia Caregiving in Late-Life Marriage

The relationship between the person with dementia with family caregivers is a key factor in maintaining a sense of self and personhood. Spousal caregiving in particular can create a world of shared meaning, and in the context of the presence of cognitive decline in one spouse, couple hood is essential to a full understanding of how spouses live with and respond to the impact of dementia. While much research has focused on the strengths of long-term married couples caring for a spouse with dementia, there is currently little research on how dementia impacts couples in late-life marriage. This qualitative case study focusses on two female caregivers in late-life marriages negotiating the challenges of caregiving for a spouse with dementia. Spouse 1 returned to live with her ex-husband in order to care for him through his dementia journey and they recently remarried. Spouse 2 married a close friend of the family prior to his dementia diagnosis. While participant shared perspectives include: (1) family dynamics, (2) isolation, (3) financial concerns, and (4) acceptance of their role in their spouse’s dementia journey, their long-term outlooks are divergent due to the complexity of their motives for entering in to late-life marriage. 

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Understanding the psychosocial impact of oral cancer on the family caregivers and their coping up mechanism: A qualitative study in Rural Wardha, Central India

A family caregiver is the one who provides care to their near and dear one who is suffering from some debilitating disease like oral cancer. Apart from providing physical care, they also provide emotional and financial support to their close relatives. They can be the patient's spouse, children, and siblings. This study was, hence, designed to understand the psychosocial impact of caregivers of oral cancer patients. Methodology: This was a qualitative study using in-depth interviews of 24 purposively chosen family caregivers irrespective of age, sex, and relationship with patients, who provided deep insight into the psychosocial impact of the disease on themselves during caregiving of their loved ones and how they coped with it. Interviews were taken in Hindi, in the houses of caregivers. Care was taken to maintain utmost privacy while taking the interviews, which were either audio recorded or noted down. Informed written consent was obtained from participants before the start of the study. Themes were evolved from the interviews and content analysis was performed using ATLAS.ti. Results: Six themes emerged after data analysis. Those were the impact on physical health and lifestyle, emotional impact, impact on family and social relationship, impact on financial and work status, improvement of hospital services, spiritual concern, and acceptance of the disease. A concept map was made to provide a vivid explanation of how oral cancer caused these impacts on caregivers and their interrelationship. Conclusion: Caregiving is not an easy job. This study recommends extra care to be taken in preparing them for caregiving to the oral cancer patients with adequate knowledge of the disease process and its consequences along with counseling facilities in the hospital to address the different psychosocial needs of the patients. 

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Relationship and communication characteristics associated with agreement between heart failure patients and their Carepartners on patient depressive symptoms

Objectives: Informal caregivers who recognize patients’ depressive symptoms can better support self-care and encourage patients to seek treatment. We examined patient-caregiver agreement among patients with heart failure (HF). Our objectives were to (1) identify distinct groups of HF patients and their out-of-home informal caregivers (CarePartners) based on their relationship and communication characteristics, and (2) compare how these groups agree on the patients’ depressive symptoms. Method: We used baseline data from a comparative effectiveness trial of a self-care support program for veterans with HF treated in outpatient clinics from 2009-2012. We used a cross-sectional design and latent class analysis (LCA) approach to identify distinct groups of patient-CarePartner dyads (n = 201) based on relationship and communication characteristics then evaluated agreement on patients’ depressive symptoms within these groups. Results: The LCA analysis identified four groups: Collaborative (n = 102 dyads, 51%), Avoidant (n = 33 dyads, 16%), Distant (n = 35 dyads, 17%), and Antagonistic (n = 31 dyads, 15%). Dyadic agreement on the patients’ depressive symptoms was highest in the Distant (Kappa (κ) = 0.44, r = 0.39) and Collaborative groups (κ = 0.19, r = 0.32), and relatively poor in the Avoidant (κ = –0.20, r = 0.17) and Antagonistic (κ =–0.01, r = 0.004) groups. Patients in Avoidant (61%) and Antagonistic groups (74%) more frequently had depression based on self-report than patients in Collaborative (46%) and Distant (34%) groups. Conclusion: Caregiver relationships in HF tend to be either Collaborative, Avoidant, Distant, or Antagonistic. Patients’ depressive symptoms may negatively affect how they communicate with their caregivers. At the same time, improved patient-caregiver communication could enhance dyadic consensus about the patient’s depressive symptoms.

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Time to move? Factors associated with burden of care among informal caregivers of cognitively impaired older people facing housing decisions: Secondary analysis of a cluster randomized trial

Background: Making health-related decisions about loved ones with cognitive impairment may contribute to caregiver burden of care. We sought to explore factors associated with burden of care among informal caregivers who had made housing decisions on behalf of a cognitively impaired older person. Methods: We conducted a secondary analysis within a cluster randomized trial (cRT) conducted in 16 publicly-funded home care service points across the Province of Quebec. The cRT assessed the impact of training home care teams in interprofessional shared decision making (IP-SDM). We assessed burden of care with the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI) scale. We adapted Pallett's framework to inform our data analysis. This framework posits that factors influencing burden of care among caregivers fall within four domains: (a) characteristics of the caregiver, (b) characteristics of the cognitively impaired older person, (c) characteristics of the relationship between the caregiver and the cognitively impaired older person, and (d) the caregiver's perception of their social support resources. We computed the ZBI score and performed multilevel linear regression modelling. Results: Among 296 caregivers included in the dataset, the mean ZBI score was 29.8 (SD = 17.5) out of 88. The typical participant was 62.6 years old (SD = 11.7), female (74.7%), and caring for a mother or father (61.2%). Using multivariate analysis, factors significantly associated with caregiver burden mapped onto: caregiver characteristics (caregivers with higher burden were female, experienced higher decision regret and decisional conflict, preferred that their loved one move into the caregiver's home, into a private nursing home or a mixed private-public nursing home, and had made the decision more recently); relationship characteristics (spouses and children experienced higher burden); and caregiver's perception of social support resources (caregivers who perceived that a joint decision making process had occurred had higher burden). Conclusion: In line with the proposed framework used, we found that caregiver characteristics, relationship characteristics and caregiver's perception of social support resources were associated with burden of care. Our results will help design interventions to prevent and/or reduce caregivers' burden of care. Trial registration: NCT02244359. Date of registration: September 18, 2014. 

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Investigating the relationship between formal and informal care: An application using panel data for people living together

There is limited evidence on the relationship between formal and informal care using panel data in a U.K. setting and focused specifically on people living together (co-residents). Using all 18 waves of the British Household Panel Survey (1991-2009), we analyse the effect of informal care given by co-residents on the use of formal home care and health care services more generally. To account for endogeneity, we estimate models using random effects instrumental variable regression using the number of daughters as a source of exogenous variation. We find that a 10% increase in the monthly provision of informal care hours decreases the probability of using home help (formal home care) by 1.02 percentage points (p < .05), equivalent to a 15.62% relative reduction. This effect was larger for home help provided by the state (β = -.117) compared with non-state home help (β = -.044). These results provide evidence that significant increases in the supply of informal care would reduce the demand for home-help provision.

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Accuracy of Adult Children's Perceptions of Mothers' Caregiver Preferences

Background and Objectives Most older mothers have strong preferences regarding which offspring will serve as their future caregivers, and violation of these preferences has been found to have consequences for mothers' psychological well-being. However, no study has examined the accuracy of adult children's perceptions of their mothers' caregiver preferences. In this article, we compare mothers' stated preferences for particular caregivers with their adult children's perceptions of their mothers' preferences. Research Design and Methods Data were collected from 675 adult children and their mothers nested within 285 families as part of the Within-Family Differences Study. Results Only 44.6% of adult children accurately reported their mothers' preferences for particular offspring as caregivers. Consistent with our hypotheses, accuracy was higher when mothers and children shared values regarding filial piety, and lower when children were parents, had poor health, and lived further away. Surprisingly, primary caregivers were substantially less likely to accurately report mothers' caregiver preferences than were noncaregivers. This counterintuitive pattern can be explained by the finding that most mothers were cared for by children whom they did not prefer and may have therefore been reluctant to share their preferences with those caregivers. Discussion and Implications Given the negative psychological consequences for mothers whose caregiver preferences are violated, the high level of inaccuracy found among adult children has important implications when mothers face serious health events. These findings underscore the need for intervention efforts to encourage practitioners and clinicians to collect information directly from mothers regarding preferences for particular offspring as caregivers.

[Correction: In “Accuracy of Adult Children’s Perceptions of Mothers’ Caregiver Preferences,” DOI: 10.1093/geront/gny064, the sentence: “Seventy-five percent of the adult children for whom contact information was available agreed to participate, resulting in a final sample of 833 children nested within 277 families.” should read: “Seventy-five percent of the adult children for whom contact information was available agreed to participate, resulting in a final sample of 826 children nested within 360 families.”]

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Predictors of Secondary Role Strains Among Spousal Caregivers of Older Adults With Functional Disability

Background and Objectives: Aging spouses commonly care for a partner with functional disability, but little is known about how spousal caregiving may impact different life domains. This study evaluated how caregiving characteristics are associated with secondary role strains among spousal caregivers. Research Design and Methods: This cross-sectional study examined 367 spousal caregivers and their partners from the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study and National Study of Caregiving. Hierarchical regressions were estimated to determine how caregiver background factors (sociodemographics, health conditions) along with primary objective (care activities, care recipient health conditions, and dementia status) and subjective (emotional caregiving difficulties, role overload) stressors are linked to care-related valued activity restriction, negative caregiving relationship quality, and care-related family disagreements. Gender differences were considered. Results: After accounting for all predictors, older caregivers and caregivers providing more help with activities of daily living and health system interactions (e.g., scheduling appointments) were more likely to report activity restriction, whereas caregivers with more emotional difficulties reported higher negative caregiving relationship quality. Role overload was positively associated with all three secondary strains. For husbands only, caring for a partner with more chronic conditions was linked to higher negative caregiving relationship quality and caring for a partner with dementia was associated with a greater likelihood of family disagreements. Discussion and Implications: Secondary role strains may develop through similar and unique pathways for caregiving wives and husbands. Further research is needed to identify those who could benefit from support in managing their care responsibilities alongside other life areas.

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Re-building relationships after a spinal cord injury: experiences of family caregivers and care recipients

Background: Following spinal cord injury (SCI), family members are often called upon to undertake the caregiving role. This change in the nature of the relationship between the individuals with SCI and their families can lead to emotional, psychological, and relationship challenges. There is limited research on how individuals with SCI and their family caregivers adapt to their new lives post-injury, or on which dyadic coping strategies are used to maintain relationships. Thus, the objectives of this study were to obtain an in-depth understanding of 1) the experiences and challenges within a caregiving relationship post-SCI among spouses, as well as parents and adult children; and 2) the coping strategies used by caregivers and care recipients to maintain/rebuild their relationships.; Methods: A qualitative descriptive approach with an exploratory design was used. Semi-structured face-to-face and telephone interviews were conducted. Thematic analysis was used to identify key themes arising from individuals with SCI's (n = 19) and their family caregivers' (n = 15) experiences.; Results: Individuals with SCI and family caregivers spoke in-depth and openly about their experiences and challenges post-injury, with two emerging themes (including subsequent sub-themes). The first theme of deterioration of relationship, which reflects the challenges experienced/factors that contributed to disintegration in a relationship post-injury, included: protective behaviours, asymmetrical dependency, loss of sex and intimacy, and difficulty adapting. The second theme of re-building/maintaining the relationship, which reflects the strategies used by dyads to adjust to the changes within the relationship brought upon by the injury, included: interdependence, shifting commonalities, adding creativity into routine, and creating a new normal.; Conclusions: These findings should alert healthcare professionals and peer support groups as to the need for possible education and training (e.g., coping strategies, communication skills training) as well as counseling prior to discharge to assist individuals with SCI and family caregivers with adaptation to a new life post-injury.

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Motivations for being informal carers of people living with dementia: a systematic review of qualitative literature

Background: Informal, often family carers play a vital role in supporting people living with dementia in the community. With ageing populations, the part played by these carers is increasing making it important that we understand what motivates them to take on the role. This systematic review aimed to identify and synthesise qualitative literature describing what motivates people to care for someone with dementia.; Methods: The review followed the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) guidelines. Six electronic databases were searched from their first records until August 2018. Synthesis was narrative.; Results: Twenty-six studies fitting the inclusion criteria were identified. Carers described multiple, inter-related motives for caring for someone with dementia. Caring was generally described as a reflection of long-standing family relationships between carers and the care recipients, whether by blood or marriage. Commonly offered motivations included love, reciprocity, filial piety, duty and obligation.; Conclusions: Perhaps the most striking finding was the similarity in these motivations irrespective of gender or relationship with the care recipient. Family relationship and shared history underlay most motivations. Future research should include more longitudinal studies incorporating within study comparisons between different demographic groups to give greater confidence in identifying similarities and differences between demographic groups.

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Informal care provision across multiple generations in China

With increasing life expectancy, changes in family structure and, most recently, the relaxation of the hitherto strict family planning policies, understanding how mid-life individuals support multiple generations, particularly their older parents and younger grandchildren, is of increasing research and policy significance in China. This paper analyses data from the 2011 China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) to examine the characteristics of Chinese mid-life individuals aged 45–64 who are potentially being ‘sandwiched’ between providing care to older parents/parents-in-law and/or younger grandchildren (under age 16). Binary logistic and multinomial regression models shed light on the factors associated with providing support to one generation or multiple generations. The results highlight that amongst the Chinese mid-life sandwich generation, 58 per cent only provide care to their young grandchildren, 23 per cent only provide care to their parents/parents-in-law, whilst 15 per cent are simultaneously supporting both generations. Rather than acting as competing demands upon the mid-lifers’ time, the multivariate analysis provides evidence that the provision of intergenerational care is complementary, with caring for grandchildren increasing the probability of also supporting one's parents/parents-in-law, and vice versa. However, an increase in the number of younger grandchildren has a negative impact on the care provided to older parents/parents-in-law, indicating that at higher care intensities there may be competing demands across the generations.

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Dyadic construction of dementia: meta-ethnography and behaviour-process synthesis

Objectives: Good interaction with family caregivers helps maintain positive identity in people with dementia. However, research in this area is limited. We aimed to systematically review the dyadic experience of dementia caring. Method: We searched on five databases: MedLine, EMBASE, PsycInfo, ASSIA, and CINAHL. Eligible studies employed qualitative or mixed method design, reported the experience of dyads of dementia with no comorbid organic or psychiatric disorders. No restrictions were made on language, year of publication, sex or age of participants. Two independent researchers conducted the quality appraisal of studies. We synthesise data through meta-ethnography and developed a behavioural model to explain dyadic interaction. Results: Seventeen studies were included in the review. The meta-ethnography generated two third-order constructs: Personal orientation and noises. When people with dementia and their carers have dyadic-oriented goals, their behavioural responses may promote positive interaction. When only one partner has dyadic goals, context-related stress may affect the interaction, because of no perceived shared understanding of the situation. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that unequal power distribution within dyads, can cause significant stress, when coping strategies are impaired. We discussed implications for family carers, people with dementia, and health professionals deriving from greater understanding of dyadic dynamics to care.

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Perceived reliability of assistance among American older adults: a study of kin and non-kin help

As a neglected dimension of the quality of care, assessments of caregiver reliability by older adults receiving help contributes to the better understanding of unmet needs for assistance in everyday life. This study examines how the numbers and composition of helpers - both potential and actual - relate to older Americans' reports of the reliability of assistance. According to the 2008 US National Elder Mistreatment Study (<i>n</i> = 2,176), the potential network, proxied by marital status and household size, was not a significant predictor of unreliable care, nor was the actual number of caregivers. We distinguish four types of helping sources: kin-only; exclusively informal non-kin (eg friends, neighbours); exclusively formal (paid); and mixed type. There was a higher risk of unreliable care among respondents relying exclusively on informal non-kin assistance compared with exclusively kin help. Kin-only provided more reliable care than informal non-kin but were no more reliable than formal or mixed types.

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The availability of carers for older disabled people in Spain: demographic insights and policy implications

The growth of the older population with care needs, together with the decrease of the population traditionally providing such care, are the most frequently cited consequences of demographic change affecting long-term care policies. This study examines the changes in the availability of carers in Spain (1998-2018) using survey data. Results point to a decrease of potential carers in terms of intergenerational care, but also to an increase of potential carers among older people of the same generation.

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Personhood, identity and care in advanced old age by Paul Higgs and Chris Gilleard

How does society collectively envision what ‘old age’ looks like, and what does this vision mean for how we plan for, support and conceptualise care? This book explores the concepts and practices of care in relation to what Higgs and Gilleard describe as the social imaginary of the fourth age: a collective representation of later life composed of those elements most feared about ‘extreme’ older age, namely, physical and cognitive decline, infirmity, and, ultimately, failure. They begin by outlining how the social imaginary of the fourth age has emerged in contrast to that of a third age of ‘successful aging’, wherein an older individual is imagined to be able to exert autonomy, retain productivity and continue an active lifestyle.

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Caregiver burden and family functioning in different neurological diseases

Aim of this study is to examine caregiver burden and family functioning in different neurological conditions. Forty-two primary caregivers of patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia (AD), Parkinson’s Disease (PD), Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) were administered scales for the evaluation of caregiver burden (CBI) and family functioning (FACES IV). Caregiver burden was overall high, with caregivers of patients with ALS and ABI having exceeded the CBI cut-off score for possible burn-out. The average scores of caregivers of patients with AD or other dementia and PD were close to the cut-off score, whereas those of caregivers of patients with MS were significantly lower than the others. Family cohesion, family satisfaction and the quality of family communication were associated with reduced levels of caregiver burden, whereas disengagement was associated with a higher burden. The data from the present study confirm that caregiver burden is a relevant issue in the context of neurological diseases, especially for those causing higher degrees of impairment. Significant correlations with family functioning emerged as well, highlighting the importance of studying and treating caregiver burden within the context of family relations

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Family dynamics in young adult cancer caregiving: "It should be teamwork"

Purpose/objectives: Young adult cancer patients undergo stress at a time when their primary source of psychosocial support may be changing. Our goal was to provide insight into the expectations young adult patients and their family caregivers for types of psychosocial support.; Research Approach: Semi-structured interviews.; Participants: Fifteen patients, 9 caregivers recruited from an AYA clinic. Methodological Approach: Thematic content analysis using the constant comparison method.; Findings: Two themes were identified. First, families described coordinating support around strengths to determine who would take on caregiving roles/tasks. Second, families described the importance of patient-caregiver relationship status/history in determining trust and expectations.; Interpretation: Family strengths and existing relationships can impact caregiving roles and expectations for families of young adult cancer patients. Implications for Psychosocial Providers: Cancer clinics may need to involve members of the psychosocial provider team to better understand the family dynamics of their patients and how these relate to support.

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Using photo-elicitation to explore the lived experience of informal caregivers of individuals living with dementia

Objectives: This study aims to explore the subjective lived experience of informal caregivers supporting an individual with dementia.; Design: This study uses the interpretive phenomenological approach utilizing the method of photo-elicitation and in-depth semi-structured interviews.; Methods: Six individuals were given a disposable camera to capture photographs which they felt illustrated their own lived experiences of being a caregiver of an individual living with dementia. Photographs were printed and used to form discussion within an in-depth semi-structured interview. The photographs provided an innovative way of capturing the lived experiences of formal dementia caregivers and allowed the interview data to be grounded in their daily living, centring around their own lived experiences.; Results: Three themes emerged from data analysis: 'conceptualising the role of informal caregiver', 'support for the informal caregiver', and 'the caregivers own needs'.; Conclusions: Findings demonstrated the complexity of the relationship between the caregiver and the person living with dementia, and the shift in this relationship specifically due to the role of carer, with notable differences between spousal caregivers and adult-child caregivers. The importance of social, emotional, and practical support for caregivers was highlighted, as well as significance of the caregiver's individual needs. Statement of contribution What is already known on this subject? Informal caregivers of individuals living with dementia cover much of the associated health care costs. Informal caregiving of individuals living with dementia can lead to negative health outcomes of the carer. Health outcomes of informal caregivers living with dementia are grounded in culture and are influenced by multiple factors. What does this study add? The complexity of the transition from family member to informal caregiver has both a physical and emotional impact on caregivers. The transition, and experiences of informal caregiving, is dependent on the relationship to the individual living with dementia. Caregiver support and recognizing the caregiver's individual needs were imperative to caregiver well-being.

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Intergenerational Ambivalence and Dyadic Strain: Understanding Stress in Family Care Partners of Older Adults

Objectives: The present study used Pearlin, Mullan, Semple & Skaff's (1990) caregiving stress process model as a framework to examine the comparative influence of two stressors: (a) intergenerational ambivalence as a unified construct and (b) dyadic strain, which is one isolated component of intergenerational ambivalence. Methods: Participants were 120 women providing healthcare and medication assistance to an earlier generation family member with physical and/or cognitive impairments. Results: Hierarchical regression confirmed that intergenerational ambivalence explained perceived stress in family care partners, beyond the variance accounted for by other commonly reported stressors such as length of caregiving experience, memory/cognitive and functional impairments of the care recipient, caregiver overload, family conflict and financial strain. Further analyses revealed that examining dyadic strain apart from intergenerational ambivalence may more accurately explain the influence of ambivalence scores on care partners' perceived stress. Conclusions and Clinical Implications: The comparative influence of dyadic strain versus ambivalence suggests that stress-reducing interventions may benefit from a focus on reducing care partners' experiences of negative strain in the dyadic relationship rather than managing ambivalence.

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Male partners' experiences of caregiving for women with cervical cancer—a qualitative study

Aims and objectives: This study aimed to develop knowledge on the experiences of male partners of women with cervical cancer during and after the illness. We explore men's experiences of becoming caregivers as well as how the illness trajectory affects or has affected the relationship. Background: Receiving a cancer diagnosis has a significant impact on the lives of both the cancer patient and their family members. However, studies of male partners' experiences with cancer patients are scarce. Additionally, cervical cancer and its impact on male caregivers are less explored than how other cancer diagnoses impact male caregivers. The theoretical concept of caring masculinities is helpful to interpret men's experiences as caregivers and partners. Design: The study employs a qualitative design with semi‐structured interviews with six men/partners recruited through the gynaecological section at a hospital. COREQ reporting guidelines have been applied. Findings: Based on our analyses, we find that men's experiences of being caregivers and partners of women treated for cervical cancer are multifaceted, comprising emotional and practical aspects. However, three main findings stand out as particularly significant for men in the context of cervical cancer: loneliness, an altered sexual relationship and shared feelings of vulnerability. Conclusions: The men describe an interdependence in the relationship with the women but also how the relationships have been seriously altered, particularly when it comes to sexuality. These findings resonate with hegemonic as well as caring masculinities. Relevance to practice: Complex issues of intimacy and sexuality should be a pivotal element in educating future healthcare professionals. We strongly suggest that issues such as dealing with masculinity and caregiving roles should be on the agenda and reflected upon in teaching and supervising in clinical practice. A broader approach to sexual health and relationships is needed in the patient–clinician relationships, including information about human papillomavirus. 

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Preparedness for caregiving: A phenomenological study of the experiences of rural Australian family palliative carers

The care of people with life-limiting illnesses is increasingly moving away from an acute setting into the community. Thus, the caregiver role is growing in significance and complexity. The importance of preparing and supporting family caregivers is well established; however, less is known about the impact of rurality on preparedness and how preparedness shapes the caregiving continuum including bereavement. The aim of this study, conducted in 2017, was to explore how bereaved rural family palliative carers described their preparedness for caregiving. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was employed following semi-structured interviews with four women and six men (N = 10, aged 55-87 years). Participants were recruited voluntarily through past engagement with a Regional Specialist Palliative Care Consultancy Service in Australia. The experiences of caregivers illustrated a lack of preparedness for the role and were characterised by four major themes: Into the unknown, Into the battle, Into the void and Into the good. The unknown was associated with a lack of knowledge and skills, fear, prognostic communication, exclusion, emotional distress and grief experience. Battles were experienced in a number of ways: intrapsychically (existing within the mind), through role conflict and identity; interpersonally with the patient, clinician and family; and systematically (against health, financial and legal systems). The void was felt during isolation in caregiving, in relinquishing the role, in bereavement and in feeling abandoned by service providers. Positive experiences, such as being valued, included and connected to supports, and the fostering of closer relationships and deeper meaning, occurred less frequently but temporarily buffered against negative aspects. Implications from this study for policy and practice centre on the frequent, purposeful and genuine engagement of caregivers. Services and clinicians are encouraged to enhance communication practices, promote meaningful inclusion, address access issues and enhance support at role relinquishment.

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Reconstruction of Masculine Identities Through Caring Practices: The Experiences of Male Caregivers in Hong Kong

The purpose of this study was to explore from a gender perspective how masculinities might be reworked into identities of care through men taking on the role of family caregiver. A qualitative method was adopted for this research. Twenty Chinese men in Hong Kong who were the main caregivers in their families were invited for in-depth interviews to understand their views on caring and their experiences as caregivers. We identified four types of male caregiver: (a) conforming caregivers, (b) traditional caregivers, (c) transitional caregivers, and (d) transforming caregivers. Based on our findings, we argue that when men engage in caring, changes can occur in their perceptions of the value of care, their relationships with family members, and their male identities. The involvement of men in caring may lead to social change for men and transform gender relations.

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Relational aspects of mastery for frail, older adults: The role of informal caregivers in the care process

Frail, older care recipients are often thought of as individuals with a decreased mastery of everyday life skills. Various authors have proposed to acknowledge a relational dimension of mastery, defined as the ability to maintain control over one's life with the help of others. This study explores how frail, older adults experience relational aspects of mastery and the role of their informal caregivers in maintaining these aspects of mastery over the care process. Qualitative interviews (N = 121) were conducted in 2016 with potentially frail, community-dwelling older adults participating in the Detection, Support and Care for Older people: Prevention and Empowerment (D-SCOPE) project. A secondary analysis of 65 interviews reveals that, according to frail, older adults, informal caregivers contribute in various ways to the preservation of their mastery. This differs across the four elements of care: caring about (attentiveness), taking care of (responsibility), care-giving (competence), and care-receiving (responsiveness). However, in some cases, older adults experienced a loss of mastery; for example, when informal caregivers did not understand their care needs and did not involve them in the decision, organisation, and provision of care. A relational dimension of mastery needs to be acknowledged in frail, older care recipients since stimulating mastery is a crucial element for realising community care objectives and person-centred and integrated care.

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Experience of companionship among family caregivers of persons with dementia: A qualitative study

We examined how caregivers experienced the influence of dementia on their relationships with afflicted family members. Family caregivers (n = 15; 11 women and four men; age 39–92 years) of people with dementia participated in semi-structured interviews. The data were analyzed according to Kvale and Brinkman. The analysis identified one overarching theme, experiences of companionship, and four subthemes, namely experiences of loss and loneliness; role change; communication alteration; and caring considerations and coping resources. The caregivers described their companionship with the family member, including warm feelings of reciprocity, as well as contradictory feelings, such as feelings of being burdened. They expressed a desire to continue caring for their relative and emphasized the positive aspects of their relationship. Knowledge about dementia, together with a good relationship with their ill family member, facilitated the caring role. These results highlight the importance of receiving information about dementia-related challenges and the implications of being a caregiver.

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Relationship continuity and person-centred care: An exploratory mixed-methods investigation of spousal partners’ responses to the challenging care needs of those with acquired brain injury

Some partners of people with an acquired brain injury experience the person with the injury and their relationship as continuous with the pre-injury person and relationship, but others experience the person and relationship as very different to what went before. Previous qualitative research has suggested that the experience of continuity may promote a more person-centred approach to how partners respond to challenging care needs. Given the value of triangulating evidence, this exploratory study used a mixed-methods design to investigate this suggestion. Twenty-six partners of people with an acquired brain injury completed the Birmingham Relationship Continuity Measure and a semi-structured interview about their response to challenging care needs. Interviews were coded and scored to provide a measure of the extent to which the participants’ understanding, management and emotional responses showed a person-centred approach. The findings supported the hypothesis. Greater continuity was significantly correlated with a more person-centred approach. Associating relationship continuity and person-centred care is a novel approach to the issue of how family relationships may impact on care quality. Person-centred care can have important benefits for both the giver and receiver of care. Whether it can be promoted through fostering a sense of continuity in the relationship merits further investigation. 

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Relationship quality and sense of coherence in dementia: Results of a European cohort study

Objective: Quality of life of people with dementia and their family carers is strongly influenced by interpersonal issues and personal resources. In this context, relationship quality (RQ) and sense of coherence (SOC) potentially protect and promote health. We aimed to identify what influences RQ in dyads of people with dementia and their carers and to examine differences in their perspectives. Methods: Cross-sectional data were used from the Actifcare cohort study of 451 community-dwelling people with dementia and their primary carers in eight European countries. Comprehensive assessments included the Positive Affect Index (RQ) and the Orientation to Life Questionnaire (SOC). Results: Regression analyses revealed that RQ as perceived by people with dementia was associated with carer education, stress, and spouse caregiving. RQ as perceived by carers was associated with carer stress, depression, being a spouse, social support, reported neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia, and carer SOC. Neuropsychiatric symptoms and carer stress contributed to discrepancies in RQ ratings within the dyad. The only factor associated with both individual RQ ratings and discrepancies was carer stress (negative feelings subscore). No significant differences in the overall perception of RQ were evident between spouses and adult children carers, but RQ determinants differed between the two. Conclusions: In this European sample, carer SOC was associated with carer-reported RQ. RQ determinants differed according to the perspective considered (person with dementia or carer) and carer subgroup. A deeper understanding of RQ and its determinants will help to tailor interventions that address these distinct perspectives and potentially improve dementia outcomes. 

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Family cohesion, burden, and health-related quality of life among Parkinson's disease caregivers in Mexico

Background: Informal caregivers of individuals with Parkinson's disease face a range of responsibilities that increase as the disease progresses. As a result of these stressors, caregivers are vulnerable to decreased health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Guided by the stress process model of caregiving, the present study examined the relations between family cohesion, perceived burden, and mental and physical HRQOL among Parkinson's disease caregivers in Mexico. It was hypothesized that perceived burden would mediate the relations of family cohesion and mental and physical HRQOL.; Methods: Ninety-five family caregivers of individuals with Parkinson's disease in Mexico City, Mexico, participated in the study. Multiple regression was utilized to conduct mediation analyses.; Results: Results indicated that burden fully mediated the relation between family cohesion and mental HRQOL, and family cohesion was not associated with physical HRQOL.; Conclusions: Findings extend the stress process model cross-culturally and lend support for the importance of family cohesion and perceived burden in determining caregiver mental HRQOL. Clinical health promotion interventions should target perceived burden and family cohesion together to improve mental HRQOL among familial caregivers in Mexico.

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Family assessment of elderly patients with liver disease

Objective: to analyze the structure, development and operation of families of elderly patients with liver disease. Method: this is a qualitative-field study, which used the Calgary Family Assessment Model. The study had as its backdrop of research a philanthropic hospital. The study population consisted of five families of elderly hospitalized patients with liver disease. Results: from the five females families evaluated, two were characterized as extensive, one rebuilt, one was composed of brothers without ties of consanguinity and only one as the nuclear family. It was also possible to verify that the relatives presented themselves as the main caregiver, and that all families presented the monthly average of two minimum wages. Conclusion: taking into consideration that the family participation in the process of illness presents itself as a determinant factor for the satisfactory prognosis of patients, the role of nursing before the evaluation and intervention in the family context will contribute significantly to improved health status and wellbeing of patients and their families.

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"Neither a wife nor a widow": an interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experiences of female family caregivers in disorders of consciousness

Disorders of consciousness (DoC) disrupt close relationships. This study investigated the experience of a DoC in the family. Four main themes were identified from semi-structured interviews with nine females and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA): (1) Loss without a name, (2) Relationship without a title, (3) Symbiotic relating and (4) Frozen futures. Participants' accounts showed complex losses and relationship transformations that were challenging to cope with. Participants embodied the person and experienced reductions in rehabilitation and social visits as personally abandoning and led to strong advocacy with professionals. The uncertainty created by the DoC meant participants lived in the present moment and struggled to make plans for their future. Psychological support to demonstrate a sensitivity and validation of this unique complex loss, a framework for naming the loss, provision of education about the condition and enhancing coping with a chronic situation are needed.

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Mediators of burden and depression in dementia family caregivers: Kinship differences

Objectives: To investigate kinship differences in the caregiver stress process by developing multiple mediation models for two distinct caregiver subgroups (spouses and adult children of older adults living with dementia). The effect of four potential mediating variables (mastery, self-efficacy, satisfaction with social support, positive caregiving appraisals) on the relationship between perceived burden and depression was evaluated.; Method: Family caregivers of a person living with dementia were recruited through national dementia and carer organisations. Participants completed a paper-based or electronic version of the study survey. A bias-corrected, accelerated bootstrapping method was used to test the effect of the four proposed mediating variables on the relationship between perceived burden and depression in each caregiver subgroup (spouses and adult children).; Results: Perceived burden was directly and significantly related to depression for both spouse caregivers and adult child caregivers. The mediation models explained approximately 50% of the variance in the burden-to-depression pathway for both caregiver subgroups. Mastery and social support (but not self-efficacy, nor positive caregiving appraisals) were found to individually significantly influence the impact of perceived burden on depression in spouse caregivers. All four proposed mediators failed to reach statistical significance as individual mediators of the burden-to-depression pathway in adult child caregivers.; Conclusion: These findings demonstrate differences in the dementia caregiver experience according to kinship, and that certain mediating variables are more relevant for some subgroups of caregivers than others. Implications for the design of psychosocial interventions are discussed.

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Family Caregiving and the Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty

The United States relies on uncompensated family caregivers to provide most of the long-term care required by older adults as they age. But such care comes at a significant financial cost to these caregivers in the form of lower lifetime earnings and diminished (or even no) Social Security retirement benefits, ineligibility for Medicare coverage of their healthcare costs, and minimal retirement savings. To reduce the impact of uncompensated caregiving on the intergenerational transmission of poverty, this paper discusses three possible mechanisms of compensating family caregivers: public payments, deemed wage credits under Social Security, and income tax incentives.

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Correlating the Physical Activity Patterns of People with Moderate to Severe Multiple Sclerosis Disability and Their Family Caregivers

Purpose: People with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) and their family caregivers often react to the impact of the disease as an interdependent dyad. The aim of this exploratory study was to examine interdependence in the physical activity (PA) patterns of dyads affected by moderate to severe MS disability. Method: A total of 15 pairs of PwMS and their family caregivers wore accelerometers for 7 days. By collecting data simultaneously from both partners, we tested interdependence using the dyad as the unit of analysis. Results: PwMS and caregivers averaged 4,091.3 (SD 2,726.3) and 6,160.2 (SD 1,653.0) steps per day, respectively. The mean number of minutes per day of sedentary, light, and moderate to vigorous activity for PwMS was 566.3 (SD 97.7), 167.4 (SD 94.0), and 7.6 (SD 12.4), respectively, and 551.9 (SD 92.4), 199.6 (SD 63.4), and 21.4 (SD 18.2), respectively, for caregivers. Interdependence between dyads for sedentary, light, moderate to vigorous activity, and step count was low and non-significant (rs=0.20, 0.26, 0.13, and –0.27, respectively; p>0.05). Conclusions: Although our findings do not support the interdependence of PA between caregivers and care recipients with MS, they do show that both partners are not engaging in sufficient PA to achieve important health benefits. These findings are important because they indicate that the dyads are likely to benefit from interventions for changing PA behavior.

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Health Behavior Among Men With Multiple Family Roles: The Moderating Effects of Perceived Partner Relationship Quality

Men in the United States are increasingly involved in their children's lives and currently represent 40% of informal caregivers to dependent relatives or friends aged 18 years and older. Yet much more is known about the health effects of varying family role occupancies for women relative to men. The present research sought to fill this empirical gap by first comparing the health behavior (sleep duration, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise, fast food consumption) of men who only occupy partner roles and partnered men who also fill father, informal caregiver, or both father and informal caregiver (i.e., sandwiched) roles. The moderating effects of perceived partner relationship quality, conceptualized here as partner support and strain, on direct family role-health behavior linkages were also examined. A secondary analysis of survey data from 366 cohabiting and married men in the Work, Family and Health Study indicated that men's multiple family role occupancies were generally not associated with health behavior. With men continuing to take on more family responsibilities, as well as the serious health consequences of unhealthy behavior, the implications of these null effects are encouraging - additional family roles can be integrated into cohabiting and married men's role repertoires with minimal health behavior risks. Moderation analysis revealed, however, that men's perceived partner relationship quality constituted a significant factor in determining whether multiple family role occupancies had positive or negative consequences for sleep duration, alcohol consumption, and fast food consumption. These findings are discussed in terms of their empirical and practical implications for partnered men and their families.;

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Psychometric characteristics of the mutuality scale in heart failure patients and caregivers

Background Higher patient-caregiver mutuality is associated with improved patient and caregiver outcomes, but no studies have tested the psychometric characteristics of the mutuality scale (MS) in heart failure (HF) patient and caregiver population. Objectives To test the validity and reliability of the MS. Methods A cross-sectional design. The MS validity and reliability were tested with confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and hypothesis testing, and with Cronbach's alpha and model-based internal consistency index, respectively. Results CFA supported the validity of the MS in the HF patient and caregiver versions. Hypothesis testing showed significant correlations between both versions of the MS and anxiety, depression, quality of life, and self-care. Also, MS caregiver version scores correlated significantly with caregiver preparedness. Cronbach's alphas and the model-based internal consistency index ranged between 0.72 and 0.94 in both versions. Conclusions The Mutuality Scale showed supportive validity and reliability for HF patients and caregivers.

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Ambivalence, families and care

Although research shows that most parents and adult children report generally positive and supportive ties, there is also evidence that negative interactions and emotions are common in intergenerational relationships. To investigate this complexity, researchers have moved beyond simple models to orientations and approaches that recognise contradictory emotions and attitudes regarding family relationships in later life. These efforts have given rise to what has come to be termed the 'intergenerational ambivalence' perspective. In this article, we explore the applicability of this perspective to the issue of family caring. We begin by reviewing recent developments in the intergenerational ambivalence perspective. We then discuss a paradox: although caring appears to be a situation particularly prone to conflicting emotions, little research has focused specifically on ambivalence among carers. We present results from our work that shed light on the measurement of carer ambivalence, as well as substantive findings regarding sources of ambivalence for carers.

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Sharing lives: Adult children and parents by Marc Szydlik (2016)

No relationships last longer than connections between parents and children, particularly in the era of ever-growing life expectancy. Low fertility and the small number of siblings mean that modern families include fewer members of the same generation and more of a previous one, recasting the balance of exchange between parents, children and grandchildren in terms of space, money and time/care. This book presents and discusses the key findings of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), focusing on intergenerational relations.

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Exploring intergenerational, intra-generational and transnational patterns of family caring in minority ethnic communities: the example of England and Wales

We investigated family caring using established questions from national surveys of 1,206 adults aged 40+ from six minority ethnic communities in England and Wales. We included in our analysis factors that predisposed caring (age, sex, marital status and household composition) and enabled caring (health, material resources, education, employment and cultural values). In the general population, 15% of adults are family carers. Three groups reported lower levels of caring (Black African [12%], Chinese [11%] and Black Caribbean [9%]) and three reported higher levels of caring (Indian [23%], Pakistani [17%] and Bangladeshi [18%]). However, ethnicity predicted caring independent of other factors only for the Indian group.

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The meaning of care: The social construction of care for elderly people by Bernard Weicht

Weicht’s latest book represents a profound reflection on informal care for elderly people from a social-constructivist perspective – a reflection that also provides a thorough account of gendered practices, power relations and contextual constraints in how care norms, practices and relationships are discursively constructed. 

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Home Alone Revisited: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Care

The AARP Home Alone study in 2012 was the first national look at how families, neighbors, and friends are managing medical/nursing tasks—that is, the complex care associated with administering multiple medications, changing dressings, handling medical equipment, and providing many other kinds of help that were formerly offered by trained professionals.  (See www.aarp.org/homealone.) Seven years later, this Home Alone Revisited study sought a deeper understanding of what family caregivers who perform medical/nursing tasks experience. Employing an oversampling of multicultural groups, it took a closer look at specific difficult tasks, such as managing incontinence, pain, and special diets. It also offered greater attention to resources and outcomes as well as multicultural, gender, and generational experiences. A nationally representative, population-based, online survey of 2,089 family caregivers provided the basis for our analyses. An organizing framework, qualitative findings, and multivariate analyses provided further insights into the stories these family caregivers told us. Their voices led to our recommendations, found in these pages, for professionals, health care organizations, policy makers, and private-sector stakeholders.

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Intergenerational Caregivers of Parents With End-Stage Heart Failure

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to longitudinally explore the experiences of young adult, adult, and older adult intergenerational caregivers caring for a parent with end-stage heart failure (HF). Design: This study was a secondary analysis of qualitative data collected during a longitudinal study that sought to determine the palliative care needs of individuals with end-stage HF and their family caregivers. Methods: Longitudinal interviews from 23 young adult, adult, and older adult children who were caring for a parent with end-stage HF were selected for thematic analysis. Researchers individually analyzed the interviews and then, as a group, came to a consensus about themes. Findings: Five major themes were identified: caregiver resources, role management, caregiver–parent relationships, filial responsibility , and personal benefits and challenges. Conclusions: These intergenerational caregivers struggled to balance their busy lives and caregiving roles. However, most felt supported by other family members or external resources. Longitudinal findings support a need for improved employer-based support for intergenerational caregivers and special attention to young carers in research and practice. Recognition of and advocacy for intergenerational caregivers providing care for a chronically ill parent is needed.

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The Relationship Between Mutuality and Health-Related Quality of Life in Adult Child Caregivers in China

The strain inherent in caregiving relationships between adult children and aging parents is a prominent issue in contemporary China due to a combination of demographic and socioeconomic changes. The purpose of this study was to explore how mutuality, a positive quality of caregiving relationships, contributes to the physical health and mental health (health-related quality of life [HRQoL]) of adult child caregivers [ACCs] of parent stroke survivors. A cross-sectional correlational study was conducted on a nonproportional quota sample of 126 ACCs, using questionnaires of demographics, the 15-item Mutuality Scale, and the Second Version of the Standard 12-Item Health Survey (SF-12v2). Higher mutuality was found to be correlated with better caregiver physical health and mental health. However, after adjusting for the covariates, mutuality significantly explained 4.6% of the variance of caregiver physical health (β = .22, ΔR 2 = .046, p < .01) but it did not significantly explain the variance of caregiver mental health. Although multiple factors correlate with Chinese family caregivers' HRQoL, this was the first study exploring the impact of caregiver-care receiver dyadic relationships on caregiver HRQoL in mainland China by using a mutuality scale with SF-12v2. Despite the fact that the Chinese tradition of filial piety can facilitate mutuality, socioeconomic changes and legislation that require adult children to care for aging parents appear to create high stress among family caregivers. Higher levels of mutuality contribute to better physical health in Chinese family caregivers. Therefore, culturally appropriate family nursing strategies and social policies in China could enhance caregiver mutuality and potentially promote their HRQoL, in particular physical health.

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Structural relationship between emotional and social support for young adult carers towards intergenerational care of the multi-ethnic elderly

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the structural relationship between the emotional and social support provided for individuals with caring responsibilities for elderly relatives, and the quality of care actually delivered. In addition, the moderating role of gender is explored. Design/methodology/approach A quantitative research design was utilised in which 200 usable questionnaires were collected from 250 respondents comprised of young adults who adopt a caregiving roles in respect of elderly parents or other close elderly relatives. The structural equation modelling (SEM) technique was selected for data analysis, and the Analysis of moment structure software version 21 was used. Findings The SEM results revealed that emotional support for caregivers was the most important predictor affecting the intergenerational care of multi-ethnic elderly people. Additionally, a moderation analysis revealed that the relative influence in this connection was more pronounced among female caregivers. An increase in the emotional support received by the recipient was found to enhance the level of the relationship, and to result in closer intergenerational ties in the care of the multi-ethnic elderly. Furthermore, the receipt of social support positively influences the judgement of an individual, and expands that person's social network, which can subsequently have a favourable impact on the way in which one fulfils their caring role. The significant effect of social support provided for intergenerational caregivers in the context of the multi-ethnic elderly was higher in the group of male caregivers than in the group of female caregivers. Practical implications This study sends a strong message to policy-makers in developing countries about the need to consider within their National Policy for the Elderly, improvements in the national action plan for a holistic and integrated approach to ensure the well-being of caregivers and the elderly. Originality/value The results of the study help young adults to understand the importance of emotional and social support in boosting their relationships with parents and families and motivating intergenerational efforts in the care of the multi-ethnic elderly. Harmony within families is an important ideal in any circumstance, but in the scenario of ageing family members it may be even more essential to try to achieve it.

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Quality of family relationships and outcomes of dementia: A systematic review

Objectives To evaluate the association between the quality of relationship between a person with dementia and their family carer and outcomes for the person with dementia. Design Systematic review. Eligibility criteria Cohort studies of people with clinically diagnosed dementia and their main carers. Exposures of interest were any elements of relationship quality, for example, attachment style, expressed emotion and coping style. Our primary outcome was institutionalisation, and secondary outcomes were hospitalisation, death, quality of life and behavioural and psychiatric symptoms of dementia ('challenging behaviour'). Data sources MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science, PsycInfo, the Cochrane Library and Opengrey were searched from inception to May 2017. Study appraisal and synthesis methods The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale was used to assess risk of bias. A narrative synthesis of results was performed due to differences between studies. Results Twenty studies were included. None of the studies controlled for all prespecified confounding factors (age, gender, socioeconomic status and severity of dementia). Reporting of results was inadequate with many studies simply reporting whether associations were statistically significant' without providing effect size estimates or CIs. There was a suggestion of an association between relationship factors and global challenging behaviour. All studies evaluating global challenging behaviour provided statistical evidence of an association (most P values below 0.02). There was no consistent evidence for an association for any other outcome assessed. Conclusions There is currently no strong or consistent evidence on the effects of relationship factors on institutionalisation, hospitalisation, death or quality of life for people with dementia. There was a suggestion of an association between relationship factors and challenging behaviour, although the evidence for this was weak. To improve our ability to support those with dementia and their families, further robust studies are needed. PROSPERO registration number CRD42015020518. 

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Depression in Family Caregivers of Mexican Descent: Exacerbated by Stress and Mitigated by Mutuality

Despite common assumptions that non-paid family caregivers of Mexican descent benefit spiritually from their roles according to cultural familistic norms, there is also evidence of caregiver stress resulting in depression. Depression has the potential to seriously affect caregivers' health and their ability to continue to provide care. The current study's purpose was to examine the relationships among depression, stress, and mutuality (i.e., the quality of the caregiver-care recipient relationship) ( N = 74 caregivers of Mexican descent in the southwestern United States). Multiple regression models and exploratory mediational analyses indicated that the stress-depression relationship can be significantly mediated by mutuality. Results support culturally appropriate interventions to decrease caregiver stress and depression by promoting mutuality. In addition, with changing trends in outside work roles and mobility of caregivers of Mexican descent, policy should make services truly accessible to support caregiving families of Mexican descent.

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It’s all about the relationship: cognitively intact mother–daughter care dyads in hospice at home

Purpose of the Study: Adult daughters providing care to aging, ill mothers comprise the most prevalent caregiving dyad. Little is known, however, regarding relationship quality and its impact on care in these dyads, particularly in the context of cognitively intact patients at end of life in hospice. This interpretive descriptive work privileges voices of terminally ill mothers and care-partnering daughters in the home hospice context. Specific aims were to describe and interpret how mothers and daughters: (a) perceive relationship quality and (b) perceive how relationships have developed over time through health, chronic illness, and hospice. Design and Methods: Semi-structured interviews were used to explore interdependent perceptions of relationship quality in 10 terminally-ill mother–adult daughter care dyads. A novel method of qualitative dyadic analysis was developed to analyse dyads in close parallel at both individual/descriptive and dyadic/interpretive levels, staying true to qualitative rigor. Results: A relationship quality spectrum emerged, from Close Friendship to Doing My Duty dyads. Women in Close Friendships revealed concordant narratives and emotionally satisfying relationships; women in neutral or troubled relationships revealed discordant relational stories. In these latter dyads, mothers reported more positive narratives; daughters spoke of relational problems. Implications: This work suggests deeper exploration of mother–daughter dyads within the hospice context and interventions at both individual and dyadic levels to serve relational needs of the dying and their families. The qualitative dyadic approach also offers utility for relational investigations of any dyad.

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Relationship continuity and emotional well-being in spouses of people with dementia

Objectives: Qualitative research has suggested that spousal experiences of discontinuity in their relationship with a person who has dementia (i.e. the relationship is experienced as radically changed) may contribute to heightened feelings of burden, entrapment, isolation, guilt and intolerance of behaviours that challenge. By contrast, continuity in the relationship may contribute to a greater sense of achievement and gratification from providing care. The present study served as a quantitative test of these suggestions. Method: A convenience sample of 71 spouses of people with dementia completed three questionnaires - the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI), the Positive Aspects of Caregiving measure (PAC) and the Birmingham Relationship Continuity Measure (BRCM). Results: In accordance with the hypotheses, the experience of greater relationship continuity (higher BRCM scores) was correlated with fewer negative emotional reactions to caregiving (lower ZBI scores; rho = −.795) and more positive emotional reactions (higher PAC scores; rho = .764). Conclusions: The study provided some quantitative support for suggestions arising from qualitative research about how perceptions of continuity/discontinuity in the relationship may impact on the caregiving spouse's emotional well-being. Helping couples to maintain a sense of continuity and couplehood may assist their emotional adjustment to dementia.

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Intergenerational flows of support between parents and adult children in Britain

Understanding patterns of intergenerational support is critical within the context of demographic change, such as changing family structures and population ageing. Existing research has focused on intergenerational support at a given time in the individuals' lifecourse, e.g. from adult children towards older parents and vice versa; however, few studies have focused on the dynamic nature of such support. Analysing data from the 1958 National Child Development Study, this paper investigates the extent to which the receipt of parental help earlier in the lifecourse affects the chances of adult children reciprocating with support towards their parents later in life. The findings show that three-quarters of mid-life adults had received some support from their parents earlier in life, and at age 50 more than half were providing care to their parents. Patterns of support received and provided across the lifecourse differ markedly by gender, with sons being more likely to have received help with finances earlier in the lifecourse, and daughters with child care. The results highlight that care provision towards parents was associated with support receipt earlier in life. However, the degree of reciprocity varies according to the type of care provided by children. Such findings have implications for informal care provision by adult children towards future cohorts of older people, and by extension, the organisation of social care.

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Episodic memories of relationship quality, procedural knowledge of attachment scripts, and the experience of daughters caring for a parent with dementia

A caregiver’s attachment history with their parents may affect the thoughts, feelings, and behaviour they now have as they care for a parent with dementia. Participants were 77 daughters of a parent with dementia. The nature of participant conscious episodic memories of their parental figures and unconscious procedural knowledge of caregiving processes (secure base script knowledge) were identified as two aspects of the caregiver’s relationship history that may impact their involvement in care, relationship conflict, critical attitudes, and strain. The authors findings indicated that the nature of episodic memories of the caregiver relationship history with parental figures were significantly associated with stress and criticism of their parent. Greater unconscious procedural knowledge of the secure base script was associated with caregiver report of less conflict and less involvement in the caregiving tasks. Potential clinical implications of this pattern are also discussed.

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Dignity in people with frontotemporal dementia and similar disorders - a qualitative study of the perspective of family caregivers

Background Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) constitutes on average 10-15% of dementia in younger persons (≤65 years old), but can also affect older people. These patients demonstrate a decline in social conduct, and/or language aphasias, apathy, and loss of insight that is gradual and progressive. Preservation of dignity seems to be highly relevant both before and after admission to different types of institutionalized care, but the research is scant. From the perspective of close relatives, this study aims to develop knowledge related to dignified or undignified care of patients with FTD and similar conditions. Methods A qualitative, descriptive, and explorative design were employed to address the aims of this study. We interviewed nine relatives of people with FTD and similar conditions living in nursing homes, and two relatives of people living at home but attending day center 5 days a week. Results Relatives described the transition from being a close relative to someone who had little influence or knowledge of what constituted the care and the daily life of their loved ones. According to relatives’ descriptions, patients are deprived of dignity in various ways: through limited interaction with peers and close relatives, limited confirmation of identity through staff who know them well, lack of possibilities for making autonomous decisions or entertaining meaningful roles or activities. Examples provided from the day care centres show how dignity is maintained through identity-strengthening activities conducted in different places, under various kinds of supervision and care, and together with people representing different roles and functions. Conclusions Maintaining a link with the world outside the institution, through closer cooperation between the institution and family members, and/or by the use of day care centres, seems to facilitate prevention of many of the factors that may threaten dignified care.

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‘I couldn’t just entirely be her sister’: the relational and social policy implications of care between young adult siblings with and without disabilities

Research has commonly explored siblings of people with disabilities’ roles in care for their brothers or sisters with disabilities. Social policy has also commonly framed young adult siblings of people with disabilities as ‘young carers’. However, there has been less consideration of the implications of care for the relationship shared between young adult siblings with and without disabilities and of what this may mean for social policy. What do different types of care mean for sibling relationships? What are the relational and social policy implications of care between siblings? Drawing on a qualitative study of 25 siblings with disabilities and 21 siblings without disabilities aged 15–29, this article explores how young adult siblings perceive, talk and act with regard to the different types of care enacted between them. The article identifies how, during young adulthood, some types of care can endanger siblings’ capacity to feel like siblings and discusses ways that young adult siblings talk and act in order to – as best they can – keep their role within the bounds of a normative sibling relationship. The findings are discussed in light of implications for social policy, particularly with regard to seeing siblings of people with disabilities as ‘young carers’.

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It's Interpersonal: Family Relationships, Genetic Risk, and Caregiving

My research program considers family relationships across the life course: in early life, with a focus on disease prevention -- leveraging genetic risk information and relationships to motivate health-promoting behaviors -- and in later life, with a focus on informal caregiving -- identifying characteristics of those most vulnerable to, or resilient from, caregiver stress. It is fortuitous, if not tragic, then, that my research and personal worlds collided during my mother's final 8 months of life. Here, I discuss how this experience has shifted my thinking within both arms of my research program. First, I consider the state of the science in family health history, arguing that the current approach which focuses on an individual's first- and second-degree relatives does not take us far enough into the relational landscape to activate communal coping with disease risk. Second, I discuss caregiving from a family systems perspective. My family's experience confirmed the importance of using a systems approach and highlighted a need to identify underlying variability in members' expectations of caregiving roles. In so doing, I capture the significance of understanding the multiple perspectives that frame a context in which families adapt and cope with risk and disease diagnoses.

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Social consequences of family care of adults: a scoping review

The power of social connections is a contemporary focus of research across world regions. Yet, evidence of challenges to carers' social relationships remains fragmented and underexplored. The authors conducted a scoping review of 66 articles to create a state-of-knowledge review of the social consequences of caring. Findings indicate evidence of consequences for relationships with care receivers, with other family members and with broader social networks. Knowledge gaps include changes in relationships across time and in understanding diversity in the types and extent of consequences. Evidence challenges assumptions related to caregiving families and to the sustainability of family care.

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Reconciling Marriage and Care after Stroke

Most research on stroke's impact on couples has focused on the transition to caregiving/receiving. Despite considerable evidence that marriage is the primary source of support in the face of chronic conditions, little is known about what happens to marriage in the context of care after stroke. To address this gap, we undertook a qualitative grounded-theory study of 18 couples in which one partner had experienced a stroke. Findings revealed two interrelated themes of the couple processes: working out care, which involved discovering and addressing disruptions in day-to-day activities; and rethinking marriage, which involved determining the meaning of their relationship within the new context of care and disability. Three distinct types of marriages evolved from these processes: reconfirmed around their pre-stroke marriage; recalibrated around care; and a parallel relationship, "his" and "her" marriage. Our findings highlight the need to consider relationship dynamics in addition to knowledge about stroke and care.

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"Shared Destiny": The Dynamics of Relationships in Families of Patients With Brain Injury

This qualitative research focused on the relationships between family members of patients with acquired brain injury (ABI). The aim was to explore the dynamics between caregivers of the family member with a brain injury during rehabilitation hospitalization, and the relationships between them and the rest of the extended family. Twenty semistructured interviews were conducted with family members. In each family, the spouse of the patient and another family member involved in caregiving were interviewed. The importance of the relationships between family members during rehabilitation hospitalization justifies the examination undertaken in this research. Findings point at the change that took place in the relationships between family members because of the need to cope with a relative's injury. It is possible that direct intervention in the dynamics of the relationship, especially between the family of origin and the nuclear family of the injured person, can benefit extended families in coping with the crisis.

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Relationship continuity and person-centred care in how spouses make sense of challenging care needs

Objectives: Some spouses providing care for a partner with dementia experience continuity in the relationship: Despite the changes that have occurred, the person with dementia and the relationship are felt to be essentially the same as they were before the dementia. Others experience discontinuity: The person and the relationship feel very different. Previous qualitative research has suggested that continuity may be linked with the delivery of more person-centred care. Using a mixed-methods approach, the present study aimed to provide a more robust test of this claim. Method: Twenty-six spousal carers completed the Birmingham Relationship Continuity Measure and the Caregiver Hassles Scale, and took part in an interview about their response to challenging care needs. Attributions about the causes of those needs were extracted from the interviews and coded. Codes referred either to dementia as a cause, or to a range of other causes that reflected a more person-centred focus. A measure of person-centred care was obtained by calculating the percentage of the total number of attributions that fell into these more person-centred categories.  Results: Consistent with the hypothesis that continuity and person-centred care are linked, those who reported greater continuity reported a significantly higher percentage of person-centred attributions. Conclusions: Person-centred care is important for the well-being of those giving and those receiving the care. Little is currently known about how to support families to be more person-centred. The possibility of supporting person-centred care through enhancing the experience of continuity merits investigation.

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Do attachment anxiety and hostility mediate the relationship between experiential avoidance and interpersonal problems in mental health carers?

Carers of people with mental illness frequently report interpersonal difficulties in their caring relationship, and experiential avoidance likely contributes to these problems. This study aimed to examine the relationship between experiential avoidance and eight interpersonal problem domains amongst lay mental health carers, and tested the mediating role of attachment anxiety and hostility. In addition, an alternative (reverse) mediation was tested in which experiential avoidance played the mediating role. A cross-sectional community-based sample of 145 mental health carers completed a questionnaire containing demographics and measures of interpersonal problems, experiential avoidance, attachment anxiety and hostility. Results indicated the relationship between experiential avoidance and interpersonal problems was fully mediated for the interpersonal problem domains of cold/distant and socially inhibited. Partial mediation was evident for the vindictive/self-centered, non-assertive, overly accommodating, self-sacrificing and intrusive/needy domains. No mediation occurred for the domineering/controlling domain. Alternative (reverse) model findings indicated partial/full mediation for the overly accommodating, domineering/controlling and vindictive/self-centered domains, and no mediation for the remaining five domains. Although tentative, findings suggest a mechanism for the relationship between experiential avoidance and particular domains of interpersonal problems that warrants further investigation. The importance of our data is highlighted by the burden and difficult relationships experienced by mental health carers, that requires targeted and effective psychological treatment.

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Experiences of giving and receiving care in traumatic brain injury: An integrative review

Aims and objectives: To synthesise the literature on the experiences of giving or receiving care for traumatic brain injury for people with traumatic brain injury, their family members and nurses in hospital and rehabilitation settings. Background: Traumatic brain injury represents a major source of physical, social and economic burden. In the hospital setting, people with traumatic brain injury feel excluded from decision‐making processes and perceive impatient care. Families describe inadequate information and support for psychological distress. Nurses find the care of people with traumatic brain injury challenging particularly when experiencing heavy workloads. To date, a contemporary synthesis of the literature on people with traumatic brain injury, family and nurse experiences of traumatic brain injury care has not been conducted. Design: Integrative literature review. Methods: A systematic search strategy guided by the PRISMA statement was conducted in CINAHL, PubMed, Proquest, EMBASE and Google Scholar. Whittemore and Knafl's (Journal of Advanced Nursing, 52, 2005, 546) integrative review framework guided data reduction, data display, data comparison and conclusion verification. Results: Across the three participant categories (people with traumatic brain injury/family members/nurses) and sixteen subcategories, six cross‐cutting themes emerged: seeking personhood, navigating challenging behaviour, valuing skills and competence, struggling with changed family responsibilities, maintaining productive partnerships and reflecting on workplace culture. Conclusions: Traumatic brain injury creates changes in physical, cognitive and emotional function that challenge known ways of being in the world for people. This alters relationship dynamics within families and requires a specific skill set among nurses. Relevance to clinical practice: Recommendations include the following: (i) formal inclusion of people with traumatic brain injury and families in care planning, (ii) routine risk screening for falls and challenging behaviour to ensure that controls are based on accurate assessment, (iii) formal orientation and training for novice nurses in the management of challenging behaviour, (iv) professional case management to guide access to services and funding and (v) personal skill development to optimise family functioning.

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Caregiving as mobility constraint and opportunity: married daughters providing end of life care in northern Ghana

In the global south where care services are sparse and familial care remains practically and socially important, end of life care often occurs within families. Furthermore, in health care related policy development, care is often assumed to be ensured by ‘traditional’ norms of extended family relationships. In this context, the demands of providing care may require care providers to relocate, as well as reorganize their everyday responsibilities. This article contributes to geographies of care by offering an examination of the mobility constraints experienced by married and externally-resident daughters seeking to provide end of life care to a parent in northern Ghana. Drawing on ethnographic research, I examine how particular familial relationships are embedded with socially constructed labour obligations, leading to conflicting responsibilities at a parent’s end of life. I then consider how a woman as a daughter works to overcome these constraints to provide end of life care. I conclude that understanding the mobility of care providers can contribute to avoiding potentially damaging assumptions of ‘traditional’ norms of care and is an important consideration towards understanding the geographies of care in the rural global south.

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Extraordinary normalcy: Home, relationships and identities in narratives of unpaid care

Based on audio diaries and narrative interviews with family carers, this paper suggests care can be understood as an experience of ‘extraordinary normalcy’, meaning that profound shifts in home, relationships and identities take place whilst caring, yet these become part of the normalcy of family life. To maintain and understand a sense of normalcy, our participants utilise professional and technological interventions in the home and draw on notions of responsibility, reciprocity and role-reversal as frameworks for explaining why they continue to care, despite the challenges it brings. The paper considers how domestic activities performed in the home can both highlight the extraordinary aspects of care and help maintain the normalcy of the everyday. Extraordinary normalcy is a concept that problematises definitions of care that remove it from the relational and everyday, yet acknowledges the challenges people face when performing care. This paper contributes to a call for a narrative based development of social policy and makes recommendations for policy and practice based on the in-depth accounts of family carers.

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Caring for a family member or friend with dementia at the end of life: A scoping review and implications for palliative care practice

Background: Although people with dementia receive substantial care from informal sources, there is limited research available that investigates how these carers experience end-of-life care. Aim: This review aimed to identify what is currently known about carers’ experiences of providing end-of-life care to a family member or friend with dementia and draw implications for palliative care policy and service provision. Design: A scoping literature review was conducted, first using a targeted key word search, followed by assessments of eligibility based on title and then abstract content. Data sources: Records were sourced through PsycINFO, PubMed and CINAHL databases. Peer-reviewed papers published between 2000 and 2016, reporting on data collected directly from carers, were included for review. Results: Carers’ experience centred on relationships (with care recipients, family and friends and health care professionals) and the specific context of caring for someone with dementia. These broad categories of carers’ experiences had clear influences on them personally, particularly in relation to their sense of self and their wellbeing. Conclusion: Palliative care services would benefit from ensuring holistic approaches to supporting people with dementia, their carers and wider family networks. Tailoring services to the specific context of dementia would enable effective, personalised support throughout extended periods leading up to care recipient death as well as through the challenges faced beyond bereavement.

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Challenges in intergenerational caregiving for frail older people: A multiple case study

Families in Taiwan are considered central in caring for frail older people. However, rapid social changes are reshaping Taiwanese family values and structures. In this study, we explored the challenges of intergenerational families in caring for frail older people in Taiwan. Using a multiple-case study, 32 participants representing 12 families comprising three or more generations participated in individual, semistructured interviews. A grounded theory technique was used for the data analysis. Four themes emerged in the findings: intergenerational and intragenerational disharmony, restrictions in the physical environment, financial caregiving burdens, and lack of support from the healthcare system. The findings can help raise awareness of filial caregiving obligations of aging family members that have shifted from a parent-child dyad to being shared across multiple generations in Taiwan. Intergenerational caregiving for frail older people has become a challenge for policies aimed at keeping the aging population in the community.

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Impact of Behavioral Symptoms in Dementia Patients on Depression in Daughter and Daughter-in-Law Caregivers

Background: One caregiver relationship that has been neglected in caregiver depression research is the daughter-in-law. Compared with Western countries, in which those who are closer in familial relationships such as the spouse or child usually take care of the patient, in many Asian countries, the daughter-in-law often assumes the caretaker role. However, not much research has been done on how this relationship may result in different caregiver outcomes. We sought to identify whether the association between patient characteristics and caregiver depressive symptoms differs according to the familial relationship between caregiver and patient. Materials and Methods: Ninety-five daughter (n=47) and daughter-in-law (n=48) caregivers of dementia patients were asked to report their own depressive symptoms and patient behavioral symptoms. Patients' cognitive abilities, daily activities, and global dementia ratings were obtained. Hierarchical linear regression was employed to determine predictors of depressive symptoms. Results: Daughters-in-law had marginally higher depressive scores. After adjusting for caregiver and patient characteristics, in both groups, greater dependency in activities of daily living and more severe and frequent behavioral symptoms predicted higher caregiver depressive scores. However, greater severity and frequency of behavioral symptoms predicted depression to a greater degree in daughters compared with daughters-in-law. Conclusions: Although behavioral symptoms predicted depression in both caregiver groups, the association was much stronger for daughters. This suggests that the emotional relationship between the daughter and patient exacerbates the negative effect of behavioral symptoms on caregiver depression. The familial relationship between the caregiver and dementia patient should be considered in managing caregiver stress. 

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Well-being of Sibling Caregivers: Effects of Kinship Relationship and Race

Purpose of the Study: This study examined whether caregiving has a differential effect on the well-being of sibling caregivers relative to other caregiving groups and whether race moderates this effect. Design and Methods: Using the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States, 631 family caregivers (including 61 sibling caregivers) and 4,944 noncaregivers were identified. Hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to estimate the effect of the caregiver-care recipient relationship and its interaction with race on caregivers’ well-being (i.e., depressive symptoms, self-rated health, life satisfaction, and perceived control over life). Results: Caregivers in general reported poorer well-being than noncaregivers, but sibling caregivers were less affected by caregiving than parent or spouse caregivers. Among sibling caregivers, caregiving took a significantly greater toll on non-Hispanic White caregivers than those from minority groups with respect to depressive symptoms and life satisfaction. Implication: The findings suggest that the experience of sibling caregivers is significantly shaped by their cultural background.

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Effect of caregiving relationship and formal long-term care service use on caregiver well-being

Aim: Despite efforts to revise the traditional long‐term care (LTC) model, informal caregivers continue to provide a substantial amount of support to older adults as front‐line care providers. The present study aimed to understand the effect of informal caregiving on caregivers’ well‐being in Singapore with respect to different types of patient–caregiver relationships. Second, this study examined the association between formal LTC service use and caregivers’ well‐being. Methods: Two waves of data for 781 dyads of patients with LTC needs and their caregivers from a longitudinal study were analyzed. Multilevel regression models were used to examine the association between caregivers’ well‐being (self‐rated general health, stress level and quality of life) and LTC service use among different patient–caregiver relationships. Results: Spousal caregivers reported significantly lower quality of life compared with adult children caregivers. Non‐immediate family caregivers showed better overall well‐being compared with spouse and adult children caregivers. Caregivers of patients referred to nursing homes reported higher levels of stress and poorer self‐rated general health compared with caregivers of patients referred to community‐based services. Spouse and non‐immediate family caregivers of patients who utilized nursing home or home‐based services presented poorer self‐rated general health than caregivers of the patients who did not use any formal services. Conclusions: Developing a better understanding of the associations between well‐being and formal LTC service use for different types of patient–caregiver relationships is critical for policy makers and healthcare providers who aim to create holistic systems of care. 

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Dyadic effects of gratitude on burden, conflict, and contribution in the family caregiver and sibling relationship

Family caregivers are a quickly growing population in American society and are potentially vulnerable to a number of risks to well-being. High stress and little support can combine to cause difficulties in health and personal relationships. Siblings are, however, a possible source of protection for the at-risk caregiver. This study examines the relationships between caregiver burden, relational conflict, individual contribution, and gratitude exchange between caregivers and their siblings as they attend to the issue of caring for aging parents. Dyadic data were collected through an online survey and were analyzed using a series of actor–partner interdependence models. Dimensions of gratitude related to reduced caregiver burden, improved care-related conflict, and promotion of greater contribution to caregiving.

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Personal meaning in relation to daily functioning of a patient in physical therapy practice: narratives of a patient, a family member, and physical therapist

Purpose: To get insight into personal meaning of a person involved in a physical therapy intervention.; Methods: Mrs. A, a 76-year-old woman is referred to a physical therapist (PT) for assessment of functioning and training before total hip arthroplasty (THA). The patient, her daughter, and PT were asked to write a story about their daily life. Stories were analyzed according to the narrative scheme based on a method to find meaning in daily life, which consists of four phases: 1. Motivation; 2. Competences; 3. Performance; and 4.; Results: Mrs. A was mainly motivated by her will to do enjoyable social activities and stay independent. Although she tried her best to undertake activities (performance) that made her proud (evaluation), her pain and physical limitations were anti-competences that motivated her to attend healthcare. Although the PT seemed to be aware of personal participation goals, her main motivation was to improve and evaluate functions and activities. The daughter was motivated by good relationships and did not see herself as informal caregiver.; Conclusions: The narrative method was a valuable tool to clarify motivations, competences, and values in the process of creating personal meaning related to functioning. This knowledge could help caregivers in applying patient-centered goal-setting and treatment on a participation level. Implications for rehabilitation Personal meaning of people's functioning within their daily context can be clarified from daily life stories. This case report demonstrates that motivations and goals may differ between patient and therapist; the PT seems to focus on improving and evaluating functions and activities, while the patient seems to focus her motivations and personal meaning on participation. This approach may help in patient-centered goal-setting at the level of activities and participation.

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Caregiver Self-Esteem as a Predictor of Patient Relationship Satisfaction: A Longitudinal Study

Objective: Longitudinal assessment of patient-caregiver relationships will determine whether caregiver self-esteem determines patient relationship satisfaction at end of life.; Background: Research on close relationships and caregiving supports the idea that informal caregivers' self-esteem may influence their relationships with their terminally ill loved ones. However, this connection has not yet been investigated longitudinally, nor has it been applied specifically to care recipients' relationship satisfaction.; Methods: A sample of 24 caregivers and 24 patients in a hospice home care program were recruited. Multiple patient and caregiver interviews were used to conduct a longitudinal study to measure fluctuations in patient health, changes in patient and caregiver relationship satisfaction, and self-esteem over a three-month period.; Results: An interaction between caregiver self-esteem and patient relationship satisfaction demonstrated the role that self-esteem plays between caregivers and patients enrolled in hospice care. Specifically, for patients with caregivers with low self-esteem, patient relationship satisfaction significantly decreased as the patient's physical health decreased, whereas for patients whose caregivers had high self-esteem, patient relationship satisfaction marginally increased during poorer physical health.; Discussion: High self-esteem may allow caregivers to overcome feelings of burden and maladaptive anticipatory grief to remain satisfied in their relationship with the patient. Caregiver self-esteem appears to play a role in fostering patient relationship satisfaction at the end of life.

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Caregiving and mutuality among long-term colorectal cancer survivors with ostomies: qualitative study

Purpose: The cancer caregiving literature focuses on the early phases of survivorship, but caregiving can continue for decades when cancer creates disability. Survivors with an ostomy following colorectal cancer (CRC) have caregiving needs that may last decades. Mutuality has been identified as a relationship component that can affect caregiving. This paper discusses how mutuality may affect long-term ostomy caregiving.; Methods: We conducted semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 31 long-term CRC survivors with ostomies and their primary informal caregivers. Interviewees were members of an integrated health care delivery system in the USA. We used inductive theme analysis techniques to analyze the interviews.; Results: Most survivors were 71 years of age or older (67%), female (55%), and with some college education (54%). Two thirds lived with and received care from spouses. Caregiving ranged from minimal support to intimate assistance with daily ostomy care. While some survivors received caregiving far beyond what was needed, others did not receive adequate caregiving for their health care needs. Low mutuality created challenges for ostomy caregiving.; Conclusions: Mutuality impacts the quality of caregiving, and this quality may change over time, depending on various factors. Emotional feedback and amplification is the proposed mechanism by which mutuality may shift over time. Survivorship care should include assessment and support of mutuality as a resource to enhance health outcomes and quality of life for survivors with long-term caregiving needs and their caregivers. Appropriate questionnaires can be identified or developed to assess mutuality over the survivorship trajectory.

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Informal care relationships and residential aged care recommendations: evidence from administrative data

Background: The Australian government recognises the importance of informal care to enable ageing in place. Yet, few multivariable studies have examined aspects of informal care that alter the probability of entry to residential care in Australia. Existing Australian and international studies show differing effects of informal care on entry to residential care.; Methods: We utilise unique administrative data on aged care assessments collected from 2010 to 2013, consisting of 280,000 persons aged 65 and over. Logistic regression models were fitted to measure the propensity to be recommended care in a residential care setting, disaggregated by characteristics of informal care provision.; Results: Providing some explanation for the divergent findings in the literature, we show that close familial carer relationships (partner or child) and coresidence are associated with recommendations to live in the community. Weaker non-coresidential friend or neighbour carer relationships are associated with recommendations to live in residential care for women, as are non-coresidential other relatives (not a child, partner or in-law) for both males and females. Non-coresident carers who are in-laws (for females) or parents have no impact on assessor recommendations. Despite these significant differences, health conditions and assistance needs play a strong role in assessor recommendations about entry to residential care.; Conclusion: Co-resident care clearly plays an important protective role in residential care admission. Government policy should consider the need for differential supports for co-resident carers as part of future aged care reform.

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Keeping the person with dementia and the informal caregiver together: a systematic review of psychosocial interventions

Background: Social support, relationships, and closeness are emphasized as important by both people with dementia and their informal caregivers. Psychosocial interventions might be helpful to reinforce the relationship between a person with dementia and his or her informal caregiver. Therefore, this review explores what types of psychosocial interventions have been provided for people with dementia and their informal caregivers together, and the effectiveness of these interventions.; Methods: PubMed, PsychInfo, Cinahl, and references of key papers were searched for studies describing a psychosocial intervention for people with dementia and their informal caregivers together. Psychosocial interventions were defined as focusing primarily on psychological or social factors.; Results: A total of seven publications describing six studies were identified as eligible for inclusion in this review. Interventions ranged in focus from skills training to viewing/making art. The methodology of the studies varied, especially regarding the outcome measures used. The results of individual studies were mixed. A narrative synthesis of the included studies is given.; Conclusion: Although caregiving dyads emphasize the importance of their relationship, this is mostly not taken into consideration in the design and effect evaluations of the interventions. Improved research is needed on this subject, which focuses on people with dementia living in the community and those living in nursing homes.

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Dyadic incongruence in chronic heart failure: Implications for patient and carer psychological health and self-care

Aims and Objectives: To examine whether chronic heart failure patient-carer dyads who disagree about the division of illness management tasks (incongruent) experience poorer psychosocial health and self-care, than those who agree (congruent).; Background: Informal carers often assist patients with chronic heart failure in the complex management of their illness, but little is known about how relationship dynamics may affect psychosocial health.; Design: A prospective cross-sectional study was adopted with a purposeful sample of 25 chronic heart failure patient-carer dyads residing in Australia.; Methods: Data were collected via mail-out questionnaires. Dyads were classified as congruent or incongruent using the Heart Failure Care Assessment Scale. Depression, anxiety, stress and quality of life were assessed in patients and carers. Additionally, self-care and relationship quality were assessed in patients; and burden and esteem were assessed in carers. Differences in congruent and incongruent patient and carer outcomes were examined.; Results: Dyads were predominantly spousal and around a third demonstrated incongruence. No significant differences were found between congruent (n = 16) and incongruent (n = 9) dyads, although patients in incongruent dyads tended to have been diagnosed more recently.; Conclusion: In chronic heart failure patient-carer dyads incongruence exists even for patients with relatively mild chronic heart failure symptoms. These findings indicate that dyadic incongruence in illness management might not affect high-functioning chronic heart failure heart failure patients or their carers.; Relevance To Clinical Practice: Given the prevalence of dyadic incongruence and the possibility of further negative outcomes with disease progression, it is important to examine factors such as length of time since diagnosis or type of carer relationship. By implementing self-care education and management strategies that focus on the dyad, rather than the individual, nurses have the potential to improve both patient and carer outcomes.

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A longitudinal study looking at and beyond care recipient health as a predictor of long term care home admission

Background: The unpaid care provided by informal caregivers allows care recipients to live longer in their homes, which often results in fewer unnecessary long term care home (LTCH) admissions. Although the relationship between care recipient's health characteristics and institutionalization is well known, the influence of caregiver distress and caregiving coresidence and relationship on this outcome is less clear. This study examines the association of care recipient care needs, caregiver distress and caregiving coresidence and relationship with care recipient long term care home admission.; Methods: A total of 94,957 resident assessment instruments-home care (RAI-HC), completed between April 01st 2013 and April 01st, 2014 as part of a clinical practice by 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) in Ontario, Canada, were linked to LTCH admissions within 1 year after completion of the first RAI-HC assessment. Cox models were used to examine whether care recipient health care needs, caregiver distress and caregiving characteristics such as coresidence and relationship were associated with LTCH admission. Age, marital status and gender of the care recipient were included as covariates in the model.; Results: Care recipient health care needs and age were the strongest predictors of LTCH admission followed by caregiver distress and caregiving coresidence and relationship. Care recipient marital status was not significant in the survival model. Interestingly, care recipients who were cared for by a coresiding adult child caregiver were less likely to be admitted to a LTCH than care recipients cared for by a spouse caregiver coresiding or not with care recipient. Hazard rates (HR) of admission for care recipients cared for by caregivers coresiding and with other type of relationship with care recipient were not significantly different than HR of care recipients cared for by coresiding child caregivers.; Conclusions: These results emphasize the influence of caregiver distress in LTCH admission and highlight the impact of caregiving relationship and coresidence on this outcome. Policy and decision makers should consider these findings when developing and evaluating interventions aiming to avoid LTCH admissions. Moreover, caregiving coresidence and relationship should be explored in future studies with similar aims, as this information has been neglected in past research.;

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Young carers and young adult carers in Switzerland: Caring roles, ways into care and the meaning of communication

Although there is already general recognition of the fact that many relatives provide unpaid care for family members, there is still little awareness that children, adolescents and young adults under 25 also provide such care. Until recently, the situation of young carers and young adult carers, as those young persons are referred to in international research, has not been in the focus of professionals, research and the public in Switzerland. Between September 2015 and October 2016, 30 interviews in seven cantons were conducted with 16 young carers aged 10–17 and 14 young adult carers aged 18–25. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed following a grounded theory approach. This paper now presents the first qualitative data on Swiss young carers and young adult carers. It explores their sociodemographic backgrounds, the nature and intensity of caring tasks they carry out, their pathways into caring as well as the role of communication with family members, extended family, professionals and peers. Our findings provide a first insight in the lives of young carers and young adult carers in Switzerland and illustrate, as well, the challenges they face.

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A bittersweet relationship: What does it mean to be the caregiver of a patient with bipolar disorder?

Background: As with most of the chronic illnesses, the changes and consequences brought on by bipolar disorder (BD) are not exclusive to the patient and often spread to those around them, especially for direct caregivers of these patients. It is known that there is a significant emotional and physical toll among persons who coexist daily with those who suffer from this disorder. Objective: Aware of the importance of the role played by informal caregivers (especially the family) in the stability and evolution of patients with bipolar disorder, this study seeks to explore the perception that family members responsible for bipolar persons have of themselves as caregivers of these patients. Method: This is a qualitative study using a phenomenological design, for which the technique of focused or semi-structured interviews was employed. Ten caregivers of people with diagnosis of BD agreed to participate. Results: Within the family, it is a single individual who has the role of caregiver. Experiences and meanings that are generated into the nucleus of the patient–caregiver relationship are full of ambivalence and involve many aspects worthy of analysing, such as the development of identities, the feminization of patient care, the process of therapeutic decision-making and the evolution of the disease. Conclusions: It is necessary to integrate evaluation and attention for patients’ caregivers, recognizing them as individuals and elucidating their constructed meanings and the dynamics established in their relationship with patients. In this way, there would be a more integrative clinical approach of the patient–caregiver relationship, considering not only the necessary pharmacological treatments but also accompanying both patient and family, along the path they travel as they experience BD. 

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I just can't please them all and stay sane: Adult child caregivers’ experiences of family dynamics in care‐giving for a parent with dementia in Australia

Family caregivers of people with dementia who live within the community often experience stress and poor quality of life due to their care‐giving role. While there are many factors that affect this, one influential factor is the family context. This study focussed on adult child caregivers. It examined the specific ways that family dynamics contribute to adult child caregivers’ distress in the context of caring for a parent with dementia. Semi‐structured interviews were conducted with 17 participants who were adult child primary caregivers for a parent with dementia who was living within the community. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis. Four themes were identified that represented areas of particular concern and distress for the caregivers: family expectations and caregivers’ lack of choice in adopting the care‐giving role; denial and differential understandings of dementia among family members; differential beliefs and approaches to care‐giving among family members; and communication breakdown between family members. The findings demonstrate several avenues for further research including the development of interventions to support adult child caregivers and address problematic family dynamics within the context of caring for a parent with dementia.

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Incongruent perceptions of the care values of hospitalized persons with dementia: a pilot study of patient-family caregiver dyads

Objective: Many difficult decisions are made in the inpatient hospital setting regarding the daily care of persons with dementia (PWDs). Incongruent perceptions of the PWD's care values limit the family caregiver's ability to make surrogate decisions. The objectives of this pilot study were to describe and identify determinants of incongruent perceptions in the hospital setting. Methods: Using multilevel modeling (MLM), we examined cross-sectional data collected from 42 PWD-family caregiver dyads. Results: There was a significant amount of incongruence, on average, for all four subscales representing the PWD's care values: autonomy = −0.33 (p< .001); burden = −.49 (p< .001); safety/quality of care = −.26 (p< .001); and social interactions = −.21 (p= .004). Family caregivers (CG) rated the importance of care values to the PWD as lower than the PWD rated the importance. Determinants of greater incongruence included higher relationship strain and fewer positive dyadic interactions. Conclusion: Our findings reveal significant levels of incongruence in perceptions of the PWD's values among dementia care dyads in the hospital setting. Our analysis suggests a potential impact of relationship variables on incongruence. Further research is needed around this overlooked interpersonal context for supporting the dementia care dyad in the hospital setting. 

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For better or worse: Factors predicting outcomes of family care of older people over a one-year period. A six-country European study

Objectives: Demographic change has led to an increase of older people in need of long-term care in nearly all European countries. Informal carers primarily provide the care and support needed by dependent people. The supply and willingness of individuals to act as carers are critical to sustain informal care resources as part of the home health care provision. This paper describes a longitudinal study of informal care in six European countries and reports analyses that determine those factors predicting the outcomes of family care over a one-year period. Methods: Analyses are based on data from the EUROFAMCARE project, a longitudinal survey study of family carers of older people with baseline data collection in 2004 and follow-up data collection a year later in six European countries (Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom), N = 3,348. Descriptive statistics of the sample characteristics are reported. Binary logistic random-intercept regressions were computed, predicting the outcome of change of the care dyad’s status at follow-up. Results: Where care is provided by a more distant family member or by a friend or neighbour, the care-recipient is significantly more likely to be cared for by someone else (OR 1.62) or to be in residential care (OR 3.37) after one year. The same holds true if the care-recipient has memory problems with a dementia diagnosis (OR 1.79/OR 1.84). Higher dependency (OR 1.22) and behavioural problems (OR 1.76) in the care-recipient also lead to a change of care dyad status. Country of residence explained a relatively small amount of variance (8%) in whether a care-recipient was cared for by someone else after one year, but explained a substantial amount of variance (52%) in whether a care-recipient was in residential care. Particularly in Sweden, care-recipients are much more likely to be cared for by another family or professional carer or to be in residential care, whereas in Greece the status of the care dyad is much less likely to change. Discussion: The majority of family carers continued to provide care to their respective older relatives over a one-year period, despite often high levels of functional, cognitive and behavioural problems in the care-recipient. Those family carers could benefit most from appropriate support. The carer/care-recipient relationship plays an important role in whether or not a family care dyad remains intact over a one-year period. The support of health and social care services should be particularly targeted toward those care dyads where there is no partner or spouse acting as carer, or no extended family network that might absorb the caring role when required. Distant relatives, friends or acquaintances who are acting as carers might need substantial intervention if their caregiving role is to be maintained. 

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Allocating Family Responsibilities for Dependent Older People in Mexico and Peru

This paper applies different analytical frameworks to explore processes of family bargaining about providing care for dependent older people in Mexico and Peru. These frameworks include cultural norms, life course effects and material exchange. The paper is based on 19 in-depth qualitative family case studies, which are linked to a wider set of quantitative survey data. Care arrangements and bargaining processes are revealed to be highly gendered, and largely conform to prevailing cultural norms. Rather than neutral and objective, the self-identified role as main carer is found to be subjective and potentially ambiguous. The few men who self-identify as main carers are more likely to play an indirect, organisational role than engage directly in daily care. As such, bargaining mainly relates to which woman performs the main care role, and large family networks mean that there is usually more than one candidate carer. Bargaining can occur inter-generationally and conjugally, but bargaining between siblings is of particular importance. Bargaining is framed by the uncertain trajectory of older people's care needs, and arrangements are sometimes reconfigured in response to changing care needs or family circumstances. Taking the narratives at face value, the influence of life course effects on bargaining and care arrangements is more obvious than material exchange. There are, however, indications that economic considerations, particularly inheritance, still play an important behind the scenes role. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

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Intergenerational transfers and informal care for disabled elderly persons in China: evidence from CHARLS

Aiming at 'ageing healthier and ageing better', a certain amount of highquality informal care should be available for elderly persons with physical disability as formal care is barely accessible in China. The demographic transition and family structural changes have dramatically weakened traditional norms of filial piety and the structure of intergenerational transfers. This article employed nationwide representative data from the first wave (2011) of Chinese Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) in order to identify the duration of informal care provision at home for frail elders (1122 in rural areas and 577 in urban areas, total 1699), measured in monthly hours, before estimating the associations between intergenerational transfers and the received time of informal care with Tobit Model analysis. Results showed that financial support from the younger generation was unexpectedly negatively associated with the monthly hours of care, implying a reduction of caring support along with increasing financial transfers towards older parents. The lack of informal care could not be compensated by having more children, co-residing with children, or increasing the parent-to-child/grandchild transfers. Spouses were shown to replace children as the major caregivers. In addition, the communitybased long-term care system needs to be promoted to sustain and develop informal care, as the latter will become increasingly important with changing family dynamics. Finally, the received time of informal care, rather than the severity of physical disability measured by difficulty with ADLs or IADLs, was introduced to identify the actual demand for care by elders. The paper argues that it is important to reconceptualise and re-investigate the duration of care provision in the Chinese context in order to develop standards of payment as part of long-term care policies. 

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Discussion Paper 7: Romancing the Carer - Intimate Relationships and Family Caring

This is the seventh paper in the Care Alliance Ireland Discussion Paper Series. The papers in this series are not intended to present a definitive account of a particular topic, but to introduce a less-discussed, sensitive or perhaps controversial topic for discussion  within the wider community of academics, not-for-profit organisations and other interested parties. 

The relative unavailability of studies specifically addressing the issue of the impact on intimate relationships of Family Carers is worth noting. The majority of studies that have been undertaken often focus exclusively on the impacts of the disability on the relationship, rather than the impact of caring on the partner/spouse providing care, or on the partner/spouse of a Family Carer. Consequently, this paper is exploratory in nature, and is based on discussions with professionals and Family Carers. Where reference material is available, it has been included; however, material was not available for all topics under discussion in this paper.

The inspiration for the paper has been drawn from conversations with some of our member organisations and a number of Family Carers. These Family Carers have indicated that while this topic may not be of relevance to all Family Carers, it is a topic which those supporting carers must be aware of, and not be afraid to address if necessary.

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Communication between nurses and family caregivers of hospitalised older persons: a literature review

Aims and Objectives: To review the literature concerning the feelings, thoughts and behaviours of nurses and family caregivers of hospitalised older persons when they communicate with one another.; Background: Communication between nurses and family caregivers of hospitalised older persons is not always optimal. Improving the frequency and quality of this communication might be a way to make the most of available human capital in order to better care for hospitalised older people.; Design: A literature review was carried out of qualitative, quantitative and mixed-design studies relating to communication between nurses and family caregivers. Findings were analysed thematically.; Results: Family caregiver thoughts, feelings and behaviours relative to nurse control and authority, nurse recognition of their contribution, information received from and shared with nurses and care satisfaction could influence communication with nurses. Nurse thoughts regarding usefulness of family caregivers as care partners and their lack of availability to meet family caregiver demands could influence communication with family caregivers.; Conclusions: The thoughts, feelings and behaviours of family caregivers and nurses that might create positive or negative circular patterns of communication are evidenced. Further research is required to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon.; Relevance To Clinical Practice: Nurses must be trained in how to communicate with family caregivers in order to form a partnership geared to preventing complications in hospitalised older persons. Results could be used to inform policy regarding the care of hospitalised older persons.

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Carer-related research and knowledge: Findings from a scoping review

The review discussed in this paper provides a unique synthesis of evidence and knowledge about carers. The authors adopted a scoping review methodology drawing on a wide range of material from many different sources published between 2000 and 2016. It offers key insights into what we know and how we know it; reinforces and expands evidence about carers’ profile; shows knowledge is uneven, e.g. much is known about working carers, young carers and carers of people with dementia but far less is about older carers or caring for someone with multiple needs. A striking feature of much research is a focus on caring as a set of tasks, rather than a dimension of an, often dyadic, relationship. While there is substantive evidence about the negative impact of caring, the review suggests that links between caring and carer outcomes are neither linear nor inevitable and vary in depth and nature. A reliance on cross-sectional studies using standardised measures is a major weakness of existing research: this approach fails to capture the multidimensionality of the caring role, and the lived experience of the carer. Although research relating to formal support suggests that specific interventions for particular groups of carers may be effective, overall the evidence base is weak. There is a tension between cost-effectiveness and what is valued by carers. Developing robust evaluative models that accommodate this tension, and take account of the dyadic context of caring is a critical challenge. A fundamental deficit of carer-related research is its location in one of two, largely separate, paradigmatic frameworks: the “Gatherers and Evaluators” and the “Conceptualisers and Theorisers.” The authors suggest that developing an integrated paradigm that draws on the strengths and methods of existing paradigms, has considerable potential to generate new knowledge and new evidence and extend understanding of care and caring.

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A study of dyadic interdependence of control, social participation and occupation of adults who use long-term care services and their carers

Purpose: Unpaid care is an important source of support of people with long-term conditions. Interdependence of carers’ and care recipients’ quality of life would be expected due to the relational nature of caregiving. This study aims to explore interdependence of quality of life in carer/care-recipient dyads, especially in relation to mutual interdependence due to social feedback in the caregiving relationship and also the partner effects of one partner’s experience of long-term care support on the other’s outcomes. 

Methods: Using data collected in an interview survey of 264 adults with care support needs and their unpaid carers in England, we employed regression analysis to explore whether there is mutual interdependence of care-related quality of life within carer/care-recipient dyads for three quality of life attributes: Control over daily life, Social participation and Occupation. The influence of factors, including satisfaction with long-term care, were also considered on individuals’ and dyad partners’ care-related quality of life. 

Results: We found mutual interdependence of quality of life at the dyad-level for Control over daily life, but not Occupation or Social participation. A partner effect of care recipients’ satisfaction with long-term care on carers’ Control over daily life was also observed. Higher care recipient satisfaction with care services was associated with higher Control over daily life. By contrast, for Social participation and Occupation, there were only significant effects of care recipients’ satisfaction with long-term care and their own quality of life.

Conclusions:These findings highlight the importance of considering the wider impact beyond the individual of long-term care on quality of life in the evaluation of long-term care policy and practice.

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Relationship Quality and Distress in Caregivers of Persons With Dementia: A Cross-Sectional Study

This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the relationship between caregivers and care receivers, defined as home-dwelling family members with dementia. We used a self-rating questionnaire, the Felt Expressed Emotion Rating Scale (FEERS; 6 simple questions), to measure caregiver perceptions of the care receiver's criticisms (CCs) and emotional overinvolvement (EOI) toward the caregiver. We performed factor analyses to rank single items on the FEERS pertaining to CC and EOI. We included 208 caregiver/care receiver pairs. Logistic regression analyses tested associations between FEERS items and caregiver and care receiver variables. The main contributors to caregiver perceptions of CC were the caregiver's own distress and the amount of time spent with the care receiver. Socially distressed caregivers perceived the care receiver as emotionally overinvolved. When offering a psychosocial intervention, a tailored program should target the caregiver's perceived relationship with the family member and the caregiver's distress. The program should also endeavor to give the caretaker more opportunities for leisure time.

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The Experience of Caring For or Living with an Individual with an Eating Disorder: A Meta-Synthesis of Qualitative Studies

Eating disorders (ED) has the highest mortality rate of psychiatric disorders and a high incidence of comorbidity. Because of the average age of onset, care typically befalls family members. However, despite the severity of the disorder and the burden placed on the family, research into the caregiving experience is still developing. Studies have shown caregivers of individuals with ED to experience high levels of distress, burden and expressed emotion. Recent theoretical models have underscored the importance of caregivers' responses as a maintenance factor for the ED, and family therapy has proved efficacious. However, the literature pertaining to the experience of family members living with or caring for an individual with an ED has not been systematically reviewed. This review aimed to synthesize qualitative studies relating to the caring experience and its impact, thereby gaining an understanding from the perspective of the individuals themselves. Relevant search terms were utilized to systematically search key databases. Twenty studies, with a total sample of 239 participants, met the inclusion criteria. Nine core themes emerged from the synthesis, forming the basis of an explanatory theory. The ED was found to have a pervasive impact upon family members, mediated by a number of factors. Cognitive appraisals affected the caregiving experience and responses to the individual. The experience of caregiving was continually reappraised leading to a process of adaptation. The majority of studies identified unmet carer needs. The implications of the findings are discussed with reference to existing theoretical models and in terms of clinical practice. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Key Practitioner Messages Carers experience a significant amount of guilt and distress once they have found out about their loved one's eating disorder., Across the studies, there were many themes of unmet need for carers., Siblings have often been overlooked by both clinicians and researchers., Interventions for people with eating disorders should also acknowledge carers and close family members.

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Inform with care: ethics and information in care for people with dementia

Good care is often positioned as a natural by-product of the widespread availability of good information (‘inform to care’). This paper contests this association through empirical investigation of the information–care relationship in the context of dementia care. It combines critiques of the ‘informatisation’ of care with insights from the epistemological dimension of care ethics to argue that information is better understood as ‘situated knowledge’ and that the relational practices of care involve the mobilisation and negotiation of different types of knowledge that are specific to caring relationships and contexts. The argument is illustrated through the three cases of caring relationships taken from a qualitative evaluation of an information and support course for carers of people with dementia. These cases highlight the specificity of caring relationships and the very different consequences of introducing new forms of knowledge into each relationship and provide evidence for the need for a paradigm shift where the idea of informing to care is replaced by a process of informing with care. In the former, information is understood as separate and outside of care, while nevertheless acting upon it to produce care; in the latter, information is understood as inextricably linked to care (with care) but not in any predetermined or uni-directional sense. The paper identifies key interlinked components of the ‘inform with care’ approach derived from the cases discussed.

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Carers' experiences of assertive outreach services: an exploratory study

Background: Recent government policy has highlighted the needs of family and friends who provide support to mental health service users. Carers of assertive outreach (AO) service users may be particularly in need of support. However, little is known about their experiences and how services can support them. Aim: To explore the experiences of carers of individuals receiving an AO service. Method: Ten participants were interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results: Participants were positive about the service they and their relatives received from AO teams. They described the service as flexible and responsive to their needs and they had developed close collaborative relationships with AO workers. AO workers were considered by carers to be an extension of their family system. AO interventions helped their relatives to regain independence and enabled participants to feel less burdened by their caring role, thereby improving the carer's quality of life. Conclusions: The unique way in which AO teams engage and work alongside service users and their families is greatly valued by carers.

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Talking about care: two sides to the story

Despite its familiarity, the realities of care are both complex and contested. This book offers a unique approach to scrutinising the co-existence of both care and abuse in relationships. It demonstrates ways of increasing critical reflexivity when working with people involved in difficult care relationships. The book emphasises that when talking about care, we need to care about talk. Discourse analysis is introduced as a method of investigating relationships, policy and literature in informal care. Analytic tools are considered alongside case studies to illustrate how both carer and caree construct their relationship and account for difficulties with each other. The book addresses key questions, including: What can we learn by muddying the false polarities between `care/abuse' and `carer/caree'? How do carers and carees use life histories to explain troubled relationships? What can discourse analysis add to how we make sense of individual carer/caree accounts? How can health and social care practitioners [...]

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Family carers in stroke care: examining the relationship between problem-solving, depression and general health

Aims and objectives.  The purpose of this article is to describe the problem-solving abilities of Hong Kong family carers looking after a stroke patients at home and report the relationships between their perceived problem-solving abilities with their depression level, general health status, and the functional recovery of stroke patients.

Background.  Previous research on supportive interventions for caregiving in stroke care suggests that enhancing carers’ problem-solving abilities is useful. Nevertheless, not much is known about the relationship between carers’ problem-solving abilities and their physical and psychosocial health and there is notably little work that has been done with the Chinese population.

Design.  A cross-sectional and correlational design was used.

Methods.  A convenience sample of 70 family carers, who were the main carers of stroke patients at home, during the first three months poststroke was recruited to complete a self-report questionnaire.

Result.  Significant correlations were found between the family carers’ global perceived problem-solving abilities and higher level of depressive symptoms (r = 0·35, P = 0·01) and poorer perceived health (r = 0·50, P = 0·01) as measured using the Center for Epidemiological Studies – Depression Scale and General Health Questionnaire. Among the three subscales of the Problem-Solving Inventory, problem-solving confidence showed the highest correlation with these variables. The functional ability of the stroke patients as measured using the Modified Barthel Index (MBI) was not associated with any variables.

Conclusion.  Findings of this study suggest that perception of confidence is a key factor in appraisal of problem-solving among Chinese family carers, which raises questions for future research about the impact of cultural influences on designing and measuring interventions.

Relevance to clinical practice.  The study has implications for nursing and health care practice and for developing interventions targeted at building self-confidence among Chinese carers.

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Sleep-wake disturbances in patients with cancer and their informal caregivers: A matter of dyads

Background: Changes in habitual sleep are among the most remarkable and important concerns of both patients with cancer and their informal carers. A dyadic approach in the assessment and management of sleep problems in patients and carers is a promising method of exploring concurrent sleep disturbances and establishing associations between sleep and sleep-impairing factors that may co-vary in the members of the dyad. The purpose of the present mini-review article was to discuss the current evidence, as well as highlight areas where future research is warranted. Patients & Methods: An electronic search for original peer-reviewed articles published between January 1990 and July 2011 in three research and evidence databases (MedLine, CINAHL, EMBASE) was carried out using a wide range of keywords and free-text terms. Cancer care-related evidence was complemented by additional data derived from studies conducted with married couples or in the context of other chronic illnesses. Results: Concurrent and comparable nocturnal sleep disruptions might be evident, where poor sleep quality, decreased sleep duration, and multiple awakenings may correlate with each other within the dyad. Care recipients’ and caregivers’ night and day rest patterns can be synchronised, as caregivers organise their sleep around the patient. Conclusion: More systematic, dyadic research is warranted to enhance development of intervention protocols for the comprehensive management of sleep disorders in this population throughout the illness experience. These interventions will ensure that sleep patterns are assessed in depth and are managed in a concurrent manner to achieve a concurrent increased level of well-being of patient-caregiver dyads.

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The impact of location on satisfaction with dementia services amongst people with dementia and their informal carers: a comparative evaluation of a community-based and a clinic-based memory service

Background: The development of effective medication for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease led to an expansion in the use of memory clinics ther clinic-based services for the delivery and monitoring of the drugs. In contrast, there is an increased emphasis on providing home and community based service delivery for a range of illnesses including dementia.

Methods: This paper reports the findings of an evaluation study comparing a clinic-based and a community service. A convenience sample of 10 service users and carer dyads took part in in-depth qualitative interviews. Service users were diagnosed with mild to moderate dementia of Alzheimer's type. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and subsequently analyzed using template analysis.

Results: Service users and carers were satisfied with both services, with determinants of satisfaction differing between the two services. Issues relating to the location and spatial design of services, comfort, familiarity, communication with staff, and ease of use are highlighted as important determinants of satisfaction amongst service users and their carers.

Conclusion: This study has implications for person-centred care practices in service delivery and for the future design of mental health services for people with dementia.

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Family caregiving and congestive heart failure. Review and analysis

BACKGROUND: There is increasing evidence that discharge planning and post-discharge support for CHF patients can contribute greatly to the medical management of heart failure (CHF) in the community and that the quality of the CHF patient's close personal relationships can influence outcome in CHF. However, there has been little research on the impact of CHF on the family or the role of the family in the management of the condition. In this paper, we provide a review and analysis of studies that have explicitly investigated these issues in the informal carers of CHF patients.

RESULTS OF THE REVIEW: Sixteen papers were identified that examined the role and/or impact of informal caregiving for CHF patients. Our main findings were: demands specific to CHF caregiving were identified, e.g., monitoring complex medical and self-care regimen, disturbed sleep and frequent hospitalisation of patients. Relatively high levels of emotional distress were identified in CHF caregivers. Few studies explicitly investigated the role of informal carers in the management of CHF. Studies were limited in number, scope and quality.

CONCLUSION: Caring for a family member with CHF can affect the well-being of those responsible for care, which may have consequences for the CHF patient's health. Further studies are needed to clarify these issues and to examine the role of informal caregivers in the management of CHF in the community.

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Carer knowledge and perception of healthy lifestyles for adults with intellectual disabilities

Carers can have a significant impact supporting people with intellectual disabilities to make healthy lifestyle choices. This study examines carers' training needs on diet and physical activity. A cross-sectional survey was undertaken of the knowledge and perceptions of carers supporting adults with intellectual disabilities. An interviewer administered questionnaire was used to examine carer knowledge of public health recommendations on diet and physical activity; perceptions of the benefits of healthy diets and physical activity levels; and the carer views on the barriers to change experienced by individuals with intellectual disabilities. Sixty-three carers took part in the study. They generally had a low level of knowledge around public health recommendations on diet and physical activity. Greater importance was attributed to the health benefits of diet than physical activity. Carers rated intrapersonal barriers to change within the person with intellectual disabilities as more important, than interpersonal or external barriers to change, with significant differences in perceived barriers relevant to diet and physical activity. Carers supporting adults with intellectual disabilities have significant training needs relevant to promoting healthy lifestyles. This highlights the opportunity to promote health improvement via the development, and provision, of effective training initiatives.

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No effects of a combination of caregivers support group and memory training/music therapy in dementia patients from a memory clinic population

Objectives: To evaluate the impact of a combination of caregiver support group and memory training/music therapy in dementia patients on behavioural and psychological symptoms (BPSD) and caregiver burden compared to a control group.

Method: Eighteen patient-carer-dyads in the treatment group and 18 patient-carer-dyads as controls were studied in the setting of a memory clinic of a psychiatric university hospital over a period of 2 years. Controls were matched for age, gender, diagnosis, dementia severity, living arrangement and medication. The interventions were conducted once per week for 1 hour run by a clinical psychogeriatric team. Outcome measures were patients' cognitive and functional status as well as BPSD and caregivers subjective burden and depression measured by validated scales. Data were obtained 6, 12 and 24 months after baseline.

Results: There were no significant differences between the intervention and control group neither after 6, 12 nor after 24 months treatment.

Conclusions: The lack of a positive impact in alleviating caregiver burden or BPSD after intensive psychological interventions may result from extensive care in the routine clinical management including individual counselling for patients and families. The effect of ‘treatment as usual’ needs to be taken into account when comparing an intervention and control group, as well as the dosage of the intervention. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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A bulletin on the personal well-being of people who need care and support and carers who need support, 2014-15

This bulletin provides a picture of the wellbeing of people who received care and support, and carers who received support in the last 12 months, and where possible, provides a comparison to the rest of the respondents in the survey (those that had not received any care and support services). Due to the small number of respondents receiving help from care and support services, results are published at a Wales level only. 

Summarises findings from the 2014-15 National Survey for Wales and responses to questions designed to measure the personal well-being of people who need care and support and carers who need support. Respondents were shown a list of services offered by care and support services in Wales and were asked whether they had received any help from these services in the last 12 months. 9 per cent of all respondents had received care and support for themselves) or had received help to care for or arrange care for another person.

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Who's there and who cares: age as an indicator of social support networks for caregivers among people living with motor neurone disease

This paper explores the social support networks available to the informal carers of people living with motor neurone disease (MND). An ethnographic case study was undertaken using ecomapping, observation and conversational interviews to collect data from 18 primary carers of people living with MND. Interviews took place in participants’ homes in metropolitan, regional and rural locations. Participants discussed the content of their support network and drew lines between individuals to indicate the type and strength of relationship. Changes to the network were depicted on ecomaps during subsequent interviews. While health policy-makers assume that healthy social capital exists in Australian communities and that social cohesion will ensure active and available support networks in times of illness or disability, data from this exploratory study indicated that this was not consistently the case. Support networks varied in size and composition; however, age was identified as a discriminator of the availability and consistency of support. People in older age groups identified more diverse but consistent support systems while people in younger age groups reported more fluctuations in the strength of relationships and declines in support as caregiving became more demanding. Individual assessment of support networks at regular intervals in the caregiving trajectory is vital for all carers. However carers in younger age groups may need specific support to manage the psychological crises that occur and more access to paid care. Older carers may need consistent support to handle more of the instrumental aspects of care and assistance to mobilise their support networks. Community workers should be alert to the possible need for crisis intervention when tensions in relationships threaten carers’ ability to provide effective care.

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How involuntary commitment impacts on the burden of care of the family

Little research has examined how, or if, involuntary commitment has impacted on the burden experienced by the family. This paper reports a qualitative study which explored how involuntary commitment under the Mental Health Act (MHA) 2000 in Queensland, Australia impacted on families of people with mental illness. Family members of a person with a mental illness, under involuntary commitment at the time or in the previous 12 months, participated in focus groups. Thematic analysis was used to determine the themes. It was apparent from the views of the family that the use of the involuntary commitment was influenced greatly by the pressures experienced by the mental health services (MHS). The MHA did little to assist the family in gaining access to MHS. It was not until after the family made repeated attempts that they were taken seriously. Often the family had few options other than to use deceit and threats to obtain the necessary treatment required. In view of this, the inherit nature of what involuntary commitment implies for persons under it, such as refusing treatment and management difficulties, indicates the family with such an individual experience more hardship in trying to obtain assistance for that person. Thus, the MHA in Queensland has not met its goals of increasing access to MHS. Family members perceive that they were not being listened to and their concerns were not acted upon. The current culture of the MHS appears to serve, to a large degree, to estrange the family from the consumer making relationships difficult and time-consuming to repair. The mental health profession is urged to consider the culture within their workplace and move towards constructive involvement of the family.

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Memories, identity and homeliness: the social construction of mealtimes in residential care homes in South Wales

Mealtimes in residential care homes are fundamentally social occasions, providing temporal structure to the day and opportunities for conversation and companionship. Food and drink are imbued with social meanings and used to express and create relationships between people. There is a dearth of research exploring care home residents' mealtime experiences in the United Kingdom. This paper reports on particular findings from a qualitative study which investigated factors influencing nutritional care provided to residents in two different types of residential care settings in South Wales, UK. Data were generated through focus group interviews with relevant staff members (N = 15), individual interviews with managers (N = 4) and residents (N = 16) of the care homes and their informal carers (N = 10), observation of food preparation and mealtimes throughout the day, and analysis of appropriate documents. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. This paper's focus is on the ways in which care home residents' experiences and understandings of mealtimes were influenced by various environmental factors, such as the home's geographical location, physical lay-out and ambience. Moreover, the shared meaning of mealtimes for residents, informal carers and staff was constructed from each group's socio-cultural background, family experiences and memories, and was integral to residents' sense of normality, community and identity.

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Well-being among employed and non-employed caregiving women in Taiwan

This study addressed various groups of non-employed/employed and non-caring/caring women in Taiwan. Data from the 2006 National Taiwanese Women Survey (at age 16–64, n= 6,017) were analysed to determine whether there are differences in terms of well-being, as measured by self-rated health and family life satisfaction, between women who work and/or care and between different carer groups. Other factors associated with well-being of carers of young children (n= 1,697) were also analysed. The results showed that non-employed carers of disabled adults stood out as the most disadvantaged group. However, the importance of work has been replaced by support among carers of young children. This study suggests that unpaid carers, particularly carers of disabled adults who are non-employed, ought to be supported by policies. To improve carers' well-being, care–work reconciliation among working-age women needs to be included in the future care scheme in Taiwan.

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Participation: (re)interpretation of a core value in the Czech social care of the frail elderly

A variety of non-fiscal input could be brought into discussion regarding the redesign and/or reform of the social care system for the frail elderly in the Czech Republic. It should be based on a deeper understanding of different stakeholders' interpretations of "Participation" one of the core values of the European social model. The study was based on secondary data collected through semi-structured interviews with "informal carers" (family members, non-professionals), secondary data collected through international focus-groups; participants were recruited from master-degree students of "social and health care management" using qualitative content analysis and data collected through document content analysis. With an aging European population, the intergenerational participation appears disputable (not axiomatic) with two generations of frail seniors in one family. Redesigned and/or new kinds of "prevention" services should be in place, possibly refocusing its effort to different target groups to support the perspective of “qualified customer behaviour”. It offers possible direction of further research.

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Home support workers perceptions of family members of their older clients : a qualitative study

Background: Health care discourse is replete with references to building partnerships between formal and informal care systems of support, particularly in community and home based health care. Little work has been done to examine the relationship between home health care workers and family caregivers of older clients. The purpose of this study is to examine home support workers’ (HSWs) perceptions of their interactions with their clients’ family members. The goal of this research is to improve client care and better connect formal and informal care systems.

Methods: A qualitative study, using in-depth interviews was conducted with 118 home support workers in British Columbia, Canada. Framework analysis was used and a number of strategies were employed to ensure rigor including: memo writing and analysis meetings. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and sent to a professional transcription agency. Nvivo 10 software was used to manage the data.

Results: Interactions between HSWs and family members are characterized in terms both of complementary labour (family members providing informational and instrumental support to HSWs), and disrupted labour (family members creating emotion work and additional instrumental work for HSWs). Two factors, the care plan and empathic awareness, further impact the relationship between HSWs and family caregivers.

Conclusions: HSWs and family members work to support one another instrumentally and emotionally through interdependent interactions and empathic awareness. Organizational Care Plans that are too rigid or limited in their scope are key factors constraining interactions.

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Prepared to care? Exploring the impact of caring on people's lives

The Carers Week partnership wanted to find out from the UK’s carers how prepared as a society we are and what could make a difference to carers’ lives and the people they care for. Prepared to Care? explored the impact that caring has on people’s lives. In particular it focused on carers’ relationships, career, finances and health and well-being. The following are the findings of the survey of over 2,100 carers and their experiences. It concludes with recommendations from carers. 

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A practical guide for disabled people or carers: where to find information, services and equipment

Guide giving information about services for disabled people available from government departments and agencies, the NHS, local government, and voluntary organisations. Covers every need, including housing, money, opportunities for holidays and leisure, and many more. Includes phone numbers, publications and a list of organisations.

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Towards a more inclusive vision of dementia care practice and research

Drawing on recent literature this article explores the development of research with family carers and people with dementia and identifies a number of themes that have emerged over time. It raises fundamental questions about the nature and purpose of research and the balance of power between researchers, family carers and people with dementia. Existing notions of expertise and knowledge are called into question and the article concludes with a call for a more empowering and inclusive model of research and practice based upon a relationship-centred approach to care.

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Commissioning care services for older people in England : the view from care managers, users and carers

One of the key objectives of the community care reforms of 1990 in the United Kingdom was the development of a flourishing independent sector alongside good quality public services. The aims of the reforms were to increase the available range of options, widen consumer choice and promote independence. The purpose of the study reported here was to examine – from the perspective of older service users, their carers and care managers – experiences at the operational level of arranging, delivering and receiving care services. The findings are based on data gathered in seven local authorities including reviews of case files, policy documents and face-to-face, in-depth interviews with 55 users, 37 carers and 28 care managers. There is evidence of a pronounced emphasis on procedure-based systems of care management. Potentially this has two significant consequences. First, the fostering of personal relationships may be subordinated to the organisation of short-term tasks and thereby may threaten patterns of trust and accountability. Second, the associated fragmentation of the assessment and care management process which in turn can lead to discontinuities of care for users and their carers. The paper concludes that there is still some way to go before care managers as micro-commissioners have sufficient and reliable information or available service capacity to match providers' capabilities with users' and carers' needs.

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Alexander technique

Reports on how Durham's Carer development manager was able to improve the authorities relationships with carers groups.

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Facilitating change and adaptation : The experiences of current and bereaved carers of patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Background: Patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) experience substantial symptom burden, psychological and social morbidity. The experience of this illness has an impact beyond the patient.

Objective: This study seeks to understand the experiences and needs of family carers of people with severe COPD.

Design: Semistructured interviews were held with current and bereaved carers of people with severe COPD. Several areas of content were targeted in the interviews, including the experience of caring for someone with COPD, views of treatment and prognosis, information and communication needs, and the understanding of palliative care. Data were analyzed thematically.

Results: The carers' and bereaved carers' experiences and needs around COPD are best understood as a dynamic of change, recognition, and adaptation. Carers faced many changes as the patients' general condition deteriorated. These were changes in the nature of caring tasks, in their relationships, and their own expectations. Carers usually recognized change had happened and sought to adapt through new approaches, new equipment, a new stance of thinking, and in most cases, continued caring. Within this theme of change, recognition, and adaptation were a series of subthemes: (1) the impact of caring, (2) recognizing the role of the carer, and (3) the needs of the carer including their needs from palliative care services.

Conclusion: The impact of caring borne by family carers is substantial and life changing. Health professionals may assist carers in their role through acknowledgement, facilitating recognition of the changes that have occurred (and their implications), and enabling creative adaptive responses for carers. Such assistance is likely to enhance the ability of carers to continue in this demanding role.

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Gender differences in intergenerational care in European welfare states

Elderly people with functional limitations are predominantly cared for by family members. Women – spouses and daughters – provide most of this care work. In principle, gender inequality in intergenerational care may have three causes: first, daughters and sons have different resources to provide care; second, daughters and sons respond differently to the same resources; third, welfare state programmes and cultural norms affect daughters and sons differently. In this paper, we address the empirical question whether these three assumed causes are in fact responsible for gender differences in intergenerational care. The empirical analyses, based on the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), reveal that parents in need are in fact more likely to receive care from daughters than from sons. Daughters are more responsive to the needs of their parents than sons and respond differently to the same resources. Gender inequality is highest in countries with a high level of intergenerational care, high public spending on old-age cash-benefits, a low provision of professional care services, high family obligation norms and a high level of gendered division of labour. Welfare state programmes reduce or increase gender inequality in intergenerational care by reducing or increasing the engagement of daughters in intergenerational care. In general, care-giving by sons is hardly influenced by social care policies.

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An exploratory qualitative study on relationships between older people and home care workers in South Korea: the view from family carers and service providers

Although the proportion of older people using home care services has significantly increased in East Asian countries, the issue of the relationships between older people and home care workers in the East Asian context has received scant attention from scholars. This exploratory qualitative study aims to explore these relationships under the new Korean long-term care insurance system. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 22 family carers and private-sector home care service providers (home care workers and provider managers). The findings show that while the majority of family carers interviewed reported that their relationships were good, the majority of service providers' responses were more negative. Service providers stated that they experienced a number of difficulties that affected their relationships with older clients, including excessive demands or sexual harassment by the older people in their care, exposure to unsafe working environments, and poor treatment in terms of pay and conditions. The findings suggest that stable and good relationships between home care workers and their clients have not been secured in Korea's long-term care system.

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The nature and scope of stressful spousal caregiving relationships

The caregiving literature provides compelling evidence that caregiving burden and depressive symptoms are linked with stressful care relationships, however, relational difficulties around caregiving are seldom described in the literature. This article presents findings from content analysis of baseline interviews with 40 Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD) spousal caregivers enrolled in a home care skill-training trial who identified their care relationship as a source of care burden. Disappointment and sadness about the loss of the relationship; tension within the relationship; and care decision conflicts within the relationship were recurrent themes of relational stress in caregiving. These spousal caregivers had relationship quality scores below the mean and burden and depressive symptom scores above the means of other caregivers in the study. These findings provide support for developing dyadic interventions that help spouses manage relational losses, care-related tensions, and care decision-making conflicts.

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A terminal diagnosis: the carers' perspective

This qualitative study explored the views of spouse carers in relation to the emotional impact of caring for a partner with a chronic or terminal illness. The study population consisted of nine full-time spouse carers, recruited using a snowball sampling strategy.

Semi-structured interviews took place in the carers’ homes. These were recorded and transcribed verbatim. The data were then analysed using constant comparative analysis. Themes identified included the emotional and physical health of the carer, personality changes in the spouse, relationship issues, denial, anticipating death, accessing support and coping strategies. Findings indicate that these carers experienced a whole range of feelings and emotions, which impacted on their health and well-being. They included fatigue, stress, distress, anxiety, depression, feelings of isolation and suicidal thoughts. These were particularly profound around the time of diagnosis, end of treatment, during a relapse and most particularly around the time of death. An increasing number of terminally ill people are now expressing a preference to be cared for at home. The potential risks to the health of caregivers therefore need to be taken into account. This study highlights the importance of assessing the needs of carers in order to identify those at risk of compromised health, which would then allow those requiring support to be offered prompt referral to specialist services.

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Caring Relationships Over Time

Following a competitive bid, the Social Policy Research Unit (SPRU) was commissioned by the Department of Health to carry out research on Caring relationships over time: predicting outcomes for carers. This was one of 13 linked studies which formed part of a research initiative on OUTCOMES OF SOCIAL CARE FOR ADULTS (OSCA). The project commenced in September 1997 with a proposed duration of 22 months. In the event additional funding was obtained for a further six months to explore issues identified in the main stage; the project formally closed in July 2000. The principal investigators were Sandra Hutton (50 per cent full-time), Michael Hirst (50 per cent) and Dot Lawton (20 per cent). Julie Williams assisted with the data analysis.

The aim of the study was to relate outcomes for carers to the timing and duration of care-giving episodes within individuals' life course and for different generations by: examining carers' circumstances before and after starting and finishing care; relating care-giving episodes to the carers' and their families' life course; identifying what allows carers to continue caring, what determines the end of caring and how far services are a factor; estimating the changing likelihood of becoming a carer for younger and older cohorts; charting longer-term trends in care-giving activity and the population of carers. The research focused on the health, employment, financial and family outcomes for carers in three nationally representative data sets, the British Household Panel Survey, the General Household Survey, and the Family and Working Lives Survey, comparing groups of carers and carers with non-carers. 

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Interactions between care-giving and paid work hours among European midlife women, 1994 to 1996

This paper uses data from the European Community Household Panel surveys Of 1994 and 1996 to study the association between changes in care-giving and changes in weekly work hours. Our sample comprises women aged 45-59 years who participated in the labour force in at least one of the two years studied. Controlling for country variation, we find significant relationships between starting or increasing informal care-giving and changes in weekly work hours. No such association is found however among women terminating a care-giving commitment or reducing their care hours. Starting care-giving significantly reduces work hours for women in northern European countries (except Ireland). By contrast, women in southern Europe and Ireland respond to an increase in care-giving hours by a smaller increase or a higher decrease in work hours than non care-givers. In summary, our results show that the impact of care-giving on adjustments of weekly work hours is asymmetrical and that it differs in southern and northern Europe.

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Transitions to informal care in Great Britain during the 1990s

Objectives: To estimate annual changes and trends in the population of informal carers and to investigate transitions to caregiving by age, gender, locus of care, and level of involvement.

Design: Longitudinal analysis of data from the British household panel survey, 1991 to 1998, an annual prospective survey of a nationally representative sample of more than 5000 private households in England, Scotland, and Wales.

Subjects: Over 9000 adults over 16 years interviewed personally in successive waves of the survey, including around 1300 informal carers each year.

Results: One third of co-resident carers and 40% of extra-resident carers start caregiving each year and similar proportions cease to provide care. Five year period rates are at least 75% higher than the one year prevalence estimates. Almost everyone is involved in caregiving at one time or another and over half are likely to provide 20 hours or more care per week at some point in their lives. Recent trends indicate that more adults are becoming heavily involved in providing longer episodes of care. Although the onset of caregiving peaks in late middle and early older age, above average incidences span three decades or more of adult life. Age variations in the start of caring relationships are driven by the changing demands for care within and between generations over the life course. There is no firm evidence that carers increase their involvement in caring activities over the first three years of a caring episode.

Conclusions: The population of carers is constantly changing as some people stop providing care and others take on a caring role or vary their level of involvement. Policy measures responsive to the diversity of caring roles, and geared around key transitions, are likely to be most effective in supporting carers through changing circumstances. Recognition and support for carers who are heavily involved in caring activities from the outset should be a priority.

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The influence of social support on caregiver coping

Investigations into the act of proving care to a dementing family member typically approach the phenomenon from a stress/burden paradigm. Many studies have sought to highlight the relationship between of a range of dementia care factors (such as illness duration, patient symptoms/characteristics, service provision, etc.) and the experience of caregiver stress. Caregiving a spouse with dementing illness is complex and multidimensional (Gubrium, 1995) it is therefore not surprising that the vast majority of stressor-based approaches, though very revealing, have been largely equivocal in their findings. The relationship between the social support of family and friends and caregiver coping is no exception and therefore remains essentially unclear particularly in terms of its contribution in ameliorating stress (Thompson et al, 1993). Caregiver studies do however consistently highlight the pathogenic qualities of coping with an experience in which 'families are faced with often overwhelming and uncontrollable stress than can take a toll on their emotional health and well-being' (Zarit et al, 1998; Bourgeois et al, 1996). This article, emanating from a PhD study into caregiver coping (Upton, 2001), illuminates the study of caregiving from a different perspective. It highlights and describes how phenomenological exploration deepens our understanding of how and why spouse caregivers cope and uses the influence of social support as an exemplar of the value and need for such exploration both for its own sake and also to inform service providers. The results revealed a universal phenomenon of psycho-physical distancing by family and friends affecting all forty-six spouse caregivers included in this study. The implications of these finding are discussed along with what constituted social support for these carers. Other phenomenological insights are revealed, not least how the individual caregiver's relationship to time, space and their own identity shaped their caregiving experiences.

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Inter-relationships between the economic and emotional consequences of colorectal cancer for patients and their families: a qualitative study

Background: While the evidence-base concerning the economic impact of cancer for patients and their families/carers has grown in recent years, there is little known about how emotional responses to cancer influence this economic impact. We investigated the economic costs of cancer in the context of patients’ emotions and how these both shaped the patient and family burden.

Methods: Health professionals from six hospitals invited patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer (ICD10 C18-C20) within the previous year to take part in the study. Semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with patients and, where available, a family member. Interviews covered medical and non-medical costs incurred as a result of cancer and the impact of these on the lives of the patient and their family. Interviews were audio-recorded. Recordings were transcribed verbatim and these data were analysed qualitatively using thematic content analysis.

Results: Twenty-two patients with colorectal cancer (17 colon and 5 rectal; 14 women and 8 men) were interviewed; 6 were accompanied by a family member. Important cancer-related financial outlays included: travel and parking associated with hospital appointments; costs of procedures; increased household bills; and new clothing. Cancer impacted on employed individuals’ ability to work and depressed their income. The opportunity cost of informal care for carers/family members, especially immediately post-diagnosis, was a strong theme. All patients spoke of the emotional burden of colorectal cancer and described how this burden could lead to further costs for themselves and their families by limiting work and hindering their ability to efficiently manage their expenses. Some patients also spoke of how economic and emotional burdens could interact with each other. Support from employers, family/carers and the state/health services and patients’ own attitudes influenced this inter-relationship.

Conclusions: The economic impact of colorectal cancer on patients and their families is complex. This study suggests that the economic costs and the emotional impact of cancer are often related and can exacerbate each other, but that various factors can meditate this inter-relationship.

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The national outcomes framework for people who need care and support and carers who need support, 2014-15: working document

The national outcomes framework for people who need care and support and carers who need support in Wales has been created to deliver on the actions set out in Sustainable Social Services for Wales: A Framework for Action, and the need to fulfil the duties set out in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act. The framework is made up of a well-being statement and the outcome indicators to measure whether well-being is being achieved. The key objectives of the framework are: to describe the important well-being outcomes that people who need care and support and carers who need support should expect in order to lead fulfilled lives, giving people a greater voice and control over their lives and enable them to make informed decisions to ensure they achieve their personal well-being outcomes; to set national direction and promote the well-being of people who need care and their carers; to provide greater transparency on whether care and support services are improving well-being outcomes for people in Wales using consistent and comparable indicators. This will allow the sector to scrutinise its performance and will shine a spotlight on what needs to be done to improve people’s well-being rather than focussing on the processes involved in delivering social services.

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Experience of burden in carers of people with dementia on the margins of long-term care

Objectives: This study aimed to identify the factors determining carer burden in a group of carers supporting people with dementia (PwD) deemed to be at high risk of moving to long-term residential or nursing home care.

Design: National data collected as part of the European RightTimePlaceCare project were analysed. This included 81 dyads of community-dwelling people with dementia and their informal carers.

Methods: Structured face-to-face interviews were conducted in North West England between June 2011 and April 2012. Interviews collected data relating to the person with dementia (cognitive functioning, activities of daily living, neuropsychiatric symptoms and formal and informal dementia care resource use) and carers' level of burden (22-item Zarit Burden Index), hours spent caring and availability of additional informal support.

Results: Logistic regression analysis identified five factors associated with high carer burden: neuropsychiatric symptomatology in the PwD, intensive supervision of the PwD by the carer, being a female carer, being an adult–child carer and absence of informal carer support. Use of home care or day care services was unrelated to burden.

Conclusion: Support programmes focusing on challenging behaviours and risk management may be of benefit to carers. More individually tailored interventions for specific carer groups including female or younger carers may be warranted. The implementation of peer support networks could be beneficial to carers who lack additional family support. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Factor structure and construct validity of the Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit for Carers (ASCOT-Carer)

Background: The ASCOT-Carer is a self-report instrument designed to measure social care-related quality of life (SCRQoL). This article presents the psychometric testing and validation of the ASCOT-Carer four response-level interview (INT4) in a sample of unpaid carers of adults who receive publicly funded social care services in England.

Methods: Unpaid carers were identified through a survey of users of publicly funded social care services in England. Three hundred and eighty-seven carers completed a face-to-face or telephone interview. Data on variables hypothesised to be related to SCRQoL (e.g. characteristics of the carer, cared-for person and care situation) and measures of carer experience, strain, health-related quality of life and overall QoL were collected. Relationships between these variables and overall SCRQoL score were evaluated through correlation, ANOVA and regression analysis to test the construct validity of the scale. Internal reliability was assessed using Cronbach’s alpha and feasibility by the number of missing responses.

Results: The construct validity was supported by statistically significant relationships between SCRQoL and scores on instruments of related constructs, as well as with characteristics of the carer and care recipient in univariate and multivariate analyses. A Cronbach’s alpha of 0.87 (seven items) indicates that the internal reliability of the instrument is satisfactory and a low number of missing responses (<1 %) indicates a high level of acceptance.

Conclusion: The results provide evidence to support the construct validity, factor structure, internal reliability and feasibility of the ASCOT-Carer INT4 as an instrument for measuring social care-related quality of life of unpaid carers who care for adults with a variety of long-term conditions, disability or problems related to old age.

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A structured training programme for caregivers of inpatients after stroke (TRACS) : a cluster randomised controlled trial and cost-effectiveness analysis

Background: Most patients who have had a stroke are dependent on informal caregivers for activities of daily living. The TRACS trial investigated a training programme for caregivers (the London Stroke Carers Training Course, LSCTC) on physical and psychological outcomes, including cost-effectiveness, for patients and caregivers after a disabling stroke.

Methods: We undertook a pragmatic, multicentre, cluster randomised controlled trial with a parallel cost-effectiveness analysis. Stroke units were eligible if four of five criteria used to define a stroke unit were met, a substantial number of patients on the unit had a diagnosis of stroke, staff were able to deliver the LSCTC, and most patients were discharged to a permanent place of residence. Stroke units were randomly assigned to either LSCTC or usual care (control group), stratified by geographical region and quality of care, and using blocks of size 2. Patients with a diagnosis of stroke, likely to return home with residual disability and with a caregiver providing support were eligible. The primary outcome for patients was self-reported extended activities of daily living at 6 months, measured with the Nottingham Extended Activities of Daily Living (NEADL) scale. The primary outcome for caregivers was self-reported burden at 6 months, measured with the caregivers burden scale (CBS). We combined patient and caregiver costs with primary outcomes and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) to assess cost-effectiveness. This trial is registered with controlled-trials.com, number ISRCTN 49208824.

Findings: We assessed 49 stroke units for eligibility, of which 36 were randomly assigned to either the intervention group or the control group. Between Feb 27, 2008, and Feb 9, 2010, 928 patient and caregiver dyads were registered, of which 450 were in the intervention group, and 478 in the control group. Patients' self-reported extended activities of daily living did not differ between groups at 6 months (adjusted mean NEADL score 27·4 in the intervention group versus 27·6 in the control group, difference –0·2 points [95% CI –3·0 to 2·5], p value=0·866, ICC=0·027). The caregiver burden scale did not differ between groups either (adjusted mean CBS 45·5 in the intervention group versus 45·0 in the control group, difference 0·5 points [95% CI –1·7 to 2·7], p value=0·660, ICC=0·013). Patient and caregiver costs were similar in both groups (length of the initial stroke admission and associated costs were £13 127 for the intervention group and £12 471 for the control group; adjusted mean difference £1243 [95% CI –1533 to 4019]; p value=0·380). Probabilities of cost-effectiveness based on QALYs were low.

Interpretation: In a large scale, robust evaluation, results from this study have shown no differences between the LSCTC and usual care on any of the assessed outcomes. The immediate period after stroke might not be the ideal time to deliver structured caregiver training.

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Supporting carers of people diagnosed with schizophrenia: evaluating change in nursing practice following training

BACKGROUND: United Kingdom legislation and clinical standards for schizophrenia challenge nurses to re-examine the support that they provide to carers. Nurses are in a key position to provide this support but may lack the necessary skills to do so. The training programme evaluated in the present study aimed to address this problem.

STUDY AIM: To evaluate change in clinical practice brought about by post-registration training for mental health nurses in supporting carers of people diagnosed with schizophrenia.

DESIGN/METHODS: The study was undertaken in collaboration between the Universities of Dundee and Glasgow, and Tayside National Health Service (NHS) Trust (Scotland). Respondents were nine nurses who completed training and then delivered a planned programme of support to carers. Data on nursing practice were gathered through semi-structured interviews with nurses before training and after providing support. Following the support intervention, carers also commented on the nurses' practice.

FINDINGS: Eight of the nine nurses reported changes in practice in five key areas: They built collaborative relationships with carers, developed a carer focused approach to their practice, acknowledged and supported the carer role, and made progress in identifying carer needs and accessing resources to meet these needs. Nurses experienced difficulties supporting carers who had mental health problems or previous negative experiences of services. Those who lacked community experience also found it difficult to adjust to working in a community setting. Although clinical supervision helped them to work through these difficulties, they remain largely unresolved.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings from this study indicate that appropriate training may enable nurses to improve the support provided to carers of people diagnosed with schizophrenia. This study represents an important stage in determining the nature of support offered to carers by nurses. While developed to help nurses to meet clinical standards set for schizophrenia in the UK, findings may have clinical significance for nurses in other countries.

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Association between informal caregiving and cellular aging in the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin: The role of caregiving characteristics, stress, and strain

The pathophysiological consequences of caregiving have not been fully elucidated. We evaluated how caregiving, stress, and caregiver strain were associated with shorter relative telomere length (RTL), a marker of cellular aging. Caregivers (n = 240) and some noncaregivers (n = 98) in the 2008–2010 Survey of the Health of Wisconsin, comprising a representative sample of Wisconsin adults aged 21–74 years, reported their sociodemographic, health, and psychological characteristics. RTL was assayed from blood or saliva samples. Median T and S values were used to determine the telomere-to-single copy gene ratio (T/S) for each sample, and log(T/S) was used as the dependent variable in analyses. Multivariable generalized additive models showed that RTL did not differ between caregivers and noncaregivers (difference in log(T/S) = −0.03; P > 0.05), but moderate-to-high levels of stress versus low stress were associated with longer RTL (difference = 0.15; P = 0.04). Among caregivers, more hours per week of care, caring for a young person, and greater strain were associated with shorter RTL (P < 0.05). Caregivers with discordant levels of stress and strain (i.e., low perceived stress/high strain) compared with low stress/low strain had the shortest RTL (difference = −0.24; P = 0.02, Pinteraction = 0.13), corresponding to approximately 10–15 additional years of aging. Caregivers with these characteristics may be at increased risk for accelerated aging. Future work is necessary to better elucidate these relationships and develop interventions to improve the long-term health and well-being of caregivers.

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What predicts whether caregivers of people with dementia find meaning in their role?

Background: Informal dementia caregiving has traditionally been perceived as an extremely stressful process; however, more recent research has started to focus on the positive aspects of providing care. Studies indicate that caregivers who derive something positive out of caregiving have better well-being. However, there has been little exploration of the factors linked to caregivers identifying positive aspects of providing care. The aim of the current study was to explore the predictors of finding meaning in caregiving.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional questionnaire study in which the respondents were 447 caregivers of people with dementia who were in receipt of a specialist nursing service. The questionnaire contained measures of meaning, relationship quality, caregivers' motivations to provide care, role captivity and caregiving competence.

Results: Correlational analyses showed that higher meaning was associated with being a spousal caregiver, providing greater hours of care, higher religiosity, a better pre-caregiving and current relationship quality, higher competence, lower role captivity, higher intrinsic motivations and higher extrinsic motivations. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that variance in finding meaning was significantly predicted by high religiosity, high competence, high intrinsic motivations and low role captivity.

Conclusion: From these findings, it is recommended that interventions should help caregivers focus on positive aspects of providing care and enhance their feelings of competence. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Components of coordinated care: a new instrument to assess caregivers' and care recipients' experiences with networks of dementia care

This article reports on the development of an instrument to measure dementia patients' and their families' experiences with care provision. Using the responses of 267 care recipient/caregiver dyads, exploratory factor analysis was used to extract an underlying structure of the dyads' assessments of their experiences with dementia networks of care. The results suggested that from the perspective of the care recipient and caregiver, it is the individuals who they interact with in their care journey that define and shape the evaluation of their experiences. In the early stages of dementia, the family physician plays a central role in helping dyads understand the disease and the networks of care that are available to them; in later stages of the disease, it is the activities of the health care worker who is central to the dyad's lived experiences of the care they are receiving. The third important construct linked to the period when a care recipient and caregiver dyad was increasingly aware that dementia services may be needed and the process of assessment and placement was underway. Having information about what resources are available and how they can be accessed, and being able to complete assessments and placements in a timely fashion, was central to their assessment of care networks.

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Bringing Young Carers Out of the Shadows

The article discusses the difficulties experienced by young carers and how to develop and strengthen their caregiver skills and experience. It says that young carers are children, adolescents, and younger members of the family below the age of 25 who has become the primary caregiver of the family and takes adult responsibilities in managing the family due to parental absence. It says that due to their young age, most young carers experience psychological and physical stress in their lives, social isolation from their peers, and educational delays. However, many young carers also see positive outcomes of their role like heightened sense of self-worth, satisfaction from caregiving tasks, and belief that they are more mature.

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Nurses' Perceptions of Their Relationships with Informal Carers in Institutional Respite Care for Older People

The purpose of this study was to describe nurses' experiences of their collaboration and relationships with family members in institutional respite care for the elderly. The family has a particularly important role in respite care, which is an extension of care provided at home. However no published studies were found on this subject. The data were collected through qualitative interviews (N=22). Content analysis of the nurses’ descriptions of their collaboration with family members yielded four main categories as follows: (1) conscious ignoring, (2) attempting to understand the family’s situation, (3) hinting at private family matters, and (4) being a friend. The results lend support to earlier findings which emphasize the complexity of relationships between nurses and family carers. A novel finding here is that these relationships may also develop into friendships. Greater emphasis must be placed on primary nursing so that the nurse and informal carer can build up a genuine relationship of trust. If periods of respite care are to help older people and their families to manage independently, it is imperative that nurses have the opportunity to visit their patients at home.

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Aging together: sibling carers of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Family care provision is the norm for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), even as they and their support networks grow older. As families age together, the role of primary carer frequently transitions from the parent to a sibling, as aging parents die or become too frail to provide continued support. The purpose of this paper is to explore the transition in care from the perspective of a sibling who has replaced parents as the primary carer for an individual aging with I/DD. Data are drawn from semi-structured, in-depth interviews with a sample of adults over age 40, living in the United States, and caring for a sibling with I/DD (n = 15). Data were analyzed using a constant comparative qualitative approach. Results reveal themes impacting the adjustment to the role of primary carer, the extent to which aging transformed the content of care needs, the importance of planning, and the availability of supplementary support. Findings from this study underscore the need to develop long-term services and supports as well as educational resources that accommodate this population of carers as they age together with their sibling with I/DD.

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Improving caregiving competence, stress coping, and mental well-being in informal dementia carers

AIM: To study the effectiveness of Reitman Centre “Coaching, Advocacy, Respite, Education, Relationship, and Simulation” (CARERS) program, which uses problem-solving techniques and simulation to train informal dementia carers.

METHODS: Seventy-three carers for family members with dementia were included in the pilot study. Pre- and post-intervention data were collected from carers using validated measures of depression, mastery, role captivity and overload, caregiving competence and burden, and coping styles. To assess program effectiveness, mean differences for these measures were calculated. One-way ANOVA was used to determine if change in scores is dependent on the respective baseline scores. Clinical effects for measures were expressed as Cohen’s D values.

RESULTS: Data from 73 carers were analyzed. The majority of these participants were female (79.5%). A total of 69.9% were spouses and 30.1% were children of the care recipient. Participants had an overall mean age of 68.34 ± 12.01 years. About 31.5% of participating carers had a past history of psychiatric illness (e.g., depression), and 34.2% sustained strained relationships with their respective care recipients. Results from carers demonstrated improvement in carers’ self-perception of competence (1.26 ± 1.92, P < 0.0001), and significant reduction in emotion-focused coping (measured by the Coping Inventory of Stressful Situations, -2.37 ± 6.73, P < 0.01), Geriatric Depression scale (-0.67 ± 2.63, P < 0.05) and Pearlin’s overload scale (-0.55 ± 2.07, P < 0.05), upon completion of the Program. Secondly, it was found that carers with more compromised baseline scores benefited most from the intervention, as they experienced statistically significant improvement in the following constructs: competence, stress-coping style (less emotion-oriented), sense of mastery, burden, overload.

CONCLUSION: Study results supported the effectiveness of the CARERS Program in improving caregiving competence, stress coping ability and mental well-being in carers caring for family members with dementia.

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What are the factors that facilitate or hinder resilience in older spousal dementia carers? a qualitative study

Objectives: Much is known about the factors making caring for a spouse with dementia burdensome. However, relatively little is known about factors that help some spouses become resilient. We define resilience as ‘the process of negotiating, managing and adapting to significant sources of stress or trauma’. We aimed to assess whether spousal dementia carers can achieve resilience and to highlight which assets and resources they draw on to facilitate or hinder resilience, using an ecological framework .

Method:Twenty in-depth qualitative interviews with spousal carers from two carer support groups and a care home in North West England.

Results: Eight participants were resilient and 12 were not. A resilient carer was characterised as someone who stays positive and actively maintained their relationship and loved one's former self. Resilient carers were knowledgeable and well supported by family but especially friends, with whom they shared this knowledge. They were more actively engaged with services such as respite care.

Conclusion: There is a need to move towards more ecological models of resilience. We propose that access to assets and resources is not always sufficient to facilitate resilience. Implications of these findings are discussed.

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Quality of relationships between care recipients and their primary caregivers and its effect on caregivers' burden and satisfaction in Israel

Research on the impact of quality of relationships between primary caregivers and their care recipients on burden and satisfaction with caregiving is still rare. The sample included 335 dyads of primary caregivers and care recipients who were cognitively intact. Face-to-face interviews were conducted at the respondents' homes using structured questionnaires. No significant correlation between caregiving burden and caregiving satisfaction was found. Quality of relationship was the most significant variable in explaining both caregiving burden and caregiving satisfaction, yet different sets of additional variables were found to explain each of the outcomes. Interventions should address quality of relationships in order to reduce burden and increase caregiving satisfaction.

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Social participation: how does it vary with illness, caring and ethnic group?

It has long been accepted that lack of social participation in wider society is one aspect or one definition of poverty. Current concerns with the extent and distribution of social capital as both a measure of a good society and as means to upward mobility also emphasise the importance of social contacts and networks to the well-being of individuals and communities. While research has often focused on ‘civic participation’ and the measurement of trust, more informal social bonds are also a crucial part of individuals’ social capital. Moreover, informal social capital or social participation might be particularly important for those whose circumstances make them already more vulnerable to marginalisation, exclusion or poverty. For example, social interaction has been argued to be conducive to better outcomes for those with health problems; and there is an extensive literature which aims to chart and explain the role of ‘ethnic capital’ in the life chances of minority ethnic groups. I use the British Home Office Citizenship Survey 2001 for England and Wales to explore the impact on four aspects of lack of social engagement of long-term illness, caring for someone with such an illness, and ethnicity. Controlling for a range of characteristics and examining the relationships separately for men and women there is evidence that between them, the four measures reveal an underlying propensity for reduced social contact. Other things being equal, illness has little association with reduced social participation, but caring does seem to affect opportunities for sociability. Members of some ethnic groups are less likely to engage in neighbourly social visiting than others, and these differences are little affected by income level. By contrast differences in ‘going out’ across groups can largely be explained by differences in income. Overall, social engagement among male Bangladeshis and to a lesser extent Pakistanis is high, whereas Black Africans and Black Caribbeans, especially women, are notable for their lack of opportunities for social engagement compared with their otherwise similar peers. They would appear to be particularly at risk of social isolation, with consequences for their current and future welfare. 

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Awareness of carer distress in people with dementia

Objectives: People caring for family members who have dementia often experience considerable levels of anxiety and depression. However, relatively little is known about the awareness of carer distress among people with dementia. This study investigated whether or not people with dementia are aware of the level of distress experienced by their carers.

Method: Two groups of participants were studied, a dementia group and a control group of people with arthritis. Each group consisted of pairs of people, the person with dementia or arthritis and the family member who acted as their main carer; 40 pairs participated in total. For both groups, the carer's psychological health was rated by the carer themselves and by the care-recipient, using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. For the dementia group, memory functioning in the person with dementia was rated by the care-recipient themselves and by the carer, using the Memory Function Scale. The ratings made by the carer and care-recipient were compared to give an indication of the level of awareness in the care-recipient.

Results: People with dementia have a significant level of awareness of their carers' state of psychological health. Their awareness follows the same pattern as that shown by a control group of people with arthritis. The level of awareness of carer psychological health shown by the dementia group was not related to their level of awareness of their own memory difficulties.

Conclusion: The clinical implications of awareness of carer distress in people with dementia should be considered. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Elasticity of care networks and the gendered division of care

The gender gap in family care-giving is an established research finding: men dedicate less time to care-giving and provide specific gendered types of help. This article argues that in order to grasp men's contribution to care arrangements one should recognise the multifaceted nature of care and examine care networks beyond the ‘care receiver–primary care-giver’ dyad with a dynamic perspective. A qualitative analysis of the care networks of three large Dutch families with an older parent in need of care confirms the greater involvement of women in care-giving and men's tendency to provide specific types of care. However, men also contribute to the elasticity and stability of the care arrangement by filling temporary gaps and supporting the female care-givers. This article puts forward the idea that men's contribution is in turn a factor in the perpetuation of the gendered structure of care-giving.

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The relationships between depression and other outcomes of chronic illness caregiving

Background: Many caregivers with chronically ill relatives suffer from depression. However, the relationship of depression to other outcomes of chronic caregiving remains unclear. This study tested a hypothesized model which proposed that hours of care, stressful life events, social support, age and gender would predict caregivers' outcomes through perceived caregiver stress. Depression was expected to mediate the relationship between perceived stress and outcomes of chronic caregiving (physical function, self-esteem, and marital satisfaction).

Methods: The sample for this secondary data analysis consisted of 236 and 271 subjects from the Americans' Changing Lives, Wave 1, 1986, and Wave 2, 1989, data sets. Measures were constructed from the original study. Structural equation modeling was used to test the hypothesized model, and an exploratory structural modeling method, specification search, was used to develop a data-derived model. Cross-validation was used to verify the paths among variables.

Results: Hours of care, age, and gender predicted caregivers' outcomes directly or through perceived caregiver stress (p < .01). Depression mediated the relationship between perceived stress and psychological outcomes and explained 40% and 11% of the variance in self-esteem and marital satisfaction, respectively.

Conclusion: Depression predicted psychological outcomes. Whether depression predicts physical health outcomes needs to be further explored.

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Caregivers' relationship closeness with the person with dementia predicts both positive and negative outcomes for caregivers' physical health and psychological well-being

Closer relationships between caregivers and care recipients with dementia are associated with positive outcomes for care recipients, but it is unclear if closeness is a risk or protective factor for the health and psychological well-being of caregivers. We examined 234 care dyads from the population-based Cache County Dementia Progression Study. Caregivers included spouses (49%) and adult offspring (51%). Care recipients mostly had dementia of the Alzheimer's type (62%). Linear mixed models tested associations between relationship closeness at baseline or changes in closeness prior to versus after dementia onset, with baseline levels and changes over time in caregiver affect (Affect Balance Scale, ABS), depression (Beck Depression Inventory, BDI), and mental and physical health (components of the Short-Form Health Survey, SF-12). After controlling for demographic characteristics of the caregiver, number of caregiver health conditions, and characteristics of the care recipient (type of dementia, functional ability, and behavioral disturbances), we found that higher baseline closeness predicted higher baseline SF-12 mental health scores (better mental health) and lower depression. Higher baseline closeness also predicted greater worsening over time in ABS and SF-12 mental health. In addition, caregivers who reported a loss of closeness in their relationship with the care recipient from pre- to post-dementia displayed improved scores on ABS and SF-12 mental health, but worse SF-12 physical health over the course of the study. These results suggest that closeness and loss of closeness in the care dyad may be associated with both positive and adverse outcomes for caregivers, both cross-sectionally and over time.

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Perceptions of Giving Support and Depressive Symptoms in Late Life

Purpose of the Study: Research shows that parents benefit psychologically from generativity—giving and caring for the next generation—but older adults’ perceptions on giving support to their children are rarely if ever explored in these studies. The current study examines the association between the support that aging parents give to one of their middle-aged offspring, their perception of this support as rewarding or stressful, and their levels of depressive symptoms.

Design and Methods: The sample draws from The Family Exchanges Study and consisted of 337 older parents (mean age: 76) who were drawn from a larger study of middle-aged adults (i.e., target participants). Older parents reported tangible and nontangible forms of support given to the target middle-aged child and the extent to which they viewed providing such support as stressful and/or rewarding.

Results: We found significant interactions between tangible support and feelings of reward and between nontangible support and feelings of stress in explaining parental depressive symptoms. Parents who found giving support to be highly rewarding had lower levels of depressive symptoms when giving high amounts of tangible support. Conversely, parents who view giving support to be highly stressful had higher levels of depressive symptoms when they gave low amounts of nontangible support.

Implications: Findings suggest older parents’ perceptions of supporting their offspring may condition how generativity affects their mental health.

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Negotiating lay and professional roles in the care of children with complex health care needs

BACKGROUND: Children with complex health care needs are now being cared for at home as a result of medical advances and government policies emphasizing community-based care. The parents of these children are involved in providing care of a highly technical and intensive nature that in the past would have been the domain of professionals (particularly nurses).

AIMS OF THE PAPER: To assess how the transfer of responsibility from professionals to parents was negotiated, the tensions and contradictions that can ensue, and the implications for professional nursing roles and relationships with parents.

DESIGN: Using a Grounded Theory methodology, in-depth interviews were conducted with 23 mothers, 10 fathers and 44 professionals to gain insight into the experience of caring for children and supporting families in the community.

FINDINGS: From the parents' perspective, their initial assumption of responsibility for the care of their child was not subject to negotiation with professionals. Prior to discharge, parents' feelings of obligations, their strong desire for their child to come home, and the absence of alternatives to parental care in the community, were the key motivating factors in their acceptance of responsibility for care-giving from professionals. The professionals participating in the study had concerns over whether this group of parents was given a choice in accepting responsibility and the degree of choice they could exercise in the face of professional power. However, it was following the initial discharge, as parents gained experience in caring for their child and in interacting with professionals, that role negotiation appeared to occur.

CONCLUSION: This study supports other research that has found that professionals' expectations of parental involvement in the care of sick children role can act as a barrier to negotiation of roles. In this study, parental choice was also constrained initially by parents' feelings of obligation and by the lack of community services. Nurses are ideally placed to play the central role not only in ensuring that role negotiation and discussion actually occurs in practice, but also by asserting the need for appropriate community support services for families. Being on home territory, and in possession of expertise in care-giving and in managing encounters with professionals, provided parents with a sense of control with which to enter negotiations with professionals. It is important that changes in the balance of power does not lead to the development of parent-professional relationships that are characterized by conflict rather than partnership.

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Community care for people with disability: blurring boundaries between formal and informal caregivers

Health care for individuals with disability is increasingly shifting from institutional settings to the "community," with assistance by those in the formal sector. In this article, the authors examine 5 case studies illustrating interactions and relationships between people with disability and their caregivers, using qualitative data collected as part of a community study of disability conducted in a medium-sized city in the northeastern United States. Employing the task specificity framework, they explore the implications of using either formal care providers to fill needs that are more typically met by family and friends or family caregivers to provide care that is best provided by the formal sector. Although our narratives illustrate the negative implications of mismatched care substitution, we conclude that the framework is less applicable to emerging systems of community care.

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A life like any other? Human rights of adults with learning disabilities: seventh report of session 2007-08: volume 2: oral and written evidence (HL 40-ii; HC 73-ii)

The evidence to the Joint Select Committee on Human Rights paints an often harrowing picture of neglect, abuse and the denial of fundamental human rights to adults living with learning disabilities in the UK. Evidence received by the Committee reveals that people with learning disabilities are more vulnerable to abuse and are less likely to understand their fundamental human rights, including to be treated with dignity and respect by public authorities. Adults with learning disabilities and their advocates and carers told the Committee about how people were denied the opportunity to conduct their own lives as any adult would take for granted including the ability to form and conduct relationships.

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Essence of care 2010: benchmarks for communication

The Essence of Care benchmarks are a tool to help healthcare practitioners take a patient-focused and structured approach to sharing and comparing practice. There are 12 benchmarks in total. This document outlines the benchmarks for communication, in order to support people and their carers to experience effective communication. It starts by listing the general indicators that apply to every factor: people’s experience; diversity and individual needs; effectiveness; consent and confidentiality; people, carer and community members’ participation; leadership; education and training; documentation; service delivery; safety; and safeguarding. It then lists the factors specific to communication, together with their supporting indicators. The factors are: interpersonal skills; opportunity for communication; assessment of communication needs; information sharing; resources to aid communication and understanding; identification and assessment of principle carer; empowerment to perform role; co-ordination of care; Empowerment to communicate needs; Valuing people’s and carers’ expertise and contribution; People’s and/or carers’ education needs.

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Between elderly parents and adult children : a new look at the intergenerational care provided by the 'sandwich generation'

The ‘sandwich generation’ has been conceptualised as those mid-life adults who simultaneously raise dependent children and care for frail elderly parents. Such a combination of dependants is in fact very unusual, and the more common situation is when adults in late mid-life or early old age have one or more surviving parents and adult but still partly dependent children. It can be hypothesised that for parents in this pivotal position, the demands from adult children and from elderly parents compete, with the result that those who provide help to one are less likely to provide help to the other. An alternative hypothesis, however, is that family solidarity has an important influence but is not universal, so that some pivotal-generation parents engage in intergenerational exchange in both directions, and there is a positive association between helping parents and helping children. To investigate this question, the paper presents an analysis of data from two broadly comparable national surveys, in Great Britain and the United States, on the care provided by women aged 55–69 years to their descendent and ascendent relatives. The results show that around one-third of the women reported providing help to members of both generations, and that around one-fifth provided support to neither. They broadly support the solidarity hypothesis, but provide some evidence that having three or more children is associated with a reduced likelihood of providing help to a parent.

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Giving voice to informal caregivers of older adults

This study focused on the experiences of informal caregivers of older adults and explored whether employment, use of home-care services, or other factors influence the health of caregivers and their ability to manage their caregiving and other responsibilities. Focus groups conducted with 26 caregivers and personal interviews with 4 caregivers identified 12 themes under 5 conceptual areas: caregiver health, relationships, independence, employment, and use of home-care services. The findings reveal that caregiving coupled with other responsibilities can have serious health effects. Participants spoke of the tenuous balance of decision-making control between caregiver and care recipient. Many caregivers expressed a desire to be included as part of the formal health-care team. Implications for nursing are discussed.

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Caregiving patterns in rural Andean Colombia

Are there local cultural ideals of filial caregiving responsibility - a type of repayment of a debt to parents - and do they differ by gender? How are filial caregiving responsibilities allocated among siblings in such instances, and how do they fit cultural ideals? Is caregiving negotiated among siblings; and if so, how? This qualitative study conducted in rural Andean Colombia is based on a sample of thirty-eight interviews differentiated by gender and employment in the (formal and informal) labor market, with individuals who have at least one parent in need of care and at least one living sibling of the opposite gender. The study explores the cultural definition of caregiving, the ideal norms of who should care for parents, and the actual gendered patterns of caregiving. This interdisciplinary study expands existing research in the health and social sciences by exploring the pathways to becoming a caregiver.

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Coping strategies of families in HIV/AIDS care: some exploratory data from two developmental contexts

Caring for a family member with HIV/AIDS presents multiple challenges that strain a family's physical, economic and emotional resources. Family carers provide physical care and financial support and deal with changes in family relationships and roles, often with little support from outside of the family. Carers in developing countries face even greater challenges, due to lack of medical and support services, poverty and widespread discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS. Little is known about how family carers cope with these challenges or about the ways that development impacts on the process of coping. The current study explored coping strategies used by family carers in two contexts, Kerala, India and Scotland, UK. As part of a larger study, 28 family carers of persons living with HIV/AIDS were interviewed −23 in Kerala and 5 in Scotland. A modified version of the Ways of Coping scale was used to assess coping strategies. Responses were compared on the total number of coping responses used as well as on selected subscales of the WOC. Differences were assessed using the Mann-Whitney U-test. The two cohorts differed significantly in terms of the coping strategies used. The carers from Scotland used a larger number of different coping strategies and scored higher on measures of problem focused coping, positive reappraisal, seeking social support, self-controlling and distancing/detachment. Respondents from Kerala scored higher on a measure of self-blame. Results are discussed in terms of the impact of community resources on coping strategies.

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Effects of case management in community aged care on client and carer outcomes : a systematic review of randomized trials and comparative observational studies

Background: Case management has been applied in community aged care to meet frail older people’s holistic needs and promote cost-effectiveness. This systematic review aims to evaluate the effects of case management in community aged care on client and carer outcomes.

Methods: We searched Web of Science, Scopus, Medline, CINAHL (EBSCO) and PsycINFO (CSA) from inception to 2011 July. Inclusion criteria were: no restriction on date, English language, community-dwelling older people and/or carers, case management in community aged care, published in refereed journals, randomized control trials (RCTs) or comparative observational studies, examining client or carer outcomes. Quality of studies was assessed by using such indicators as quality control, randomization, comparability, follow-up rate, dropout, blinding assessors, and intention-to-treat analysis. Two reviewers independently screened potentially relevant studies, extracted information and assessed study quality. A narrative summary of findings were presented.

Results: Ten RCTs and five comparative observational studies were identified. One RCT was rated high quality. Client outcomes included mortality (7 studies), physical or cognitive functioning (6 studies), medical conditions (2 studies), behavioral problems (2 studies) , unmet service needs (3 studies), psychological health or well-being (7 studies) , and satisfaction with care (4 studies), while carer outcomes included stress or burden (6 studies), satisfaction with care (2 studies), psychological health or well-being (5 studies), and social consequences (such as social support and relationships with clients) (2 studies). Five of the seven studies reported that case management in community aged care interventions significantly improved psychological health or well-being in the intervention group, while all the three studies consistently reported fewer unmet service needs among the intervention participants. In contrast, available studies reported mixed results regarding client physical or cognitive functioning and carer stress or burden. There was also limited evidence indicating significant effects of the interventions on the other client and carer outcomes as described above.

Conclusions: Available evidence showed that case management in community aged care can improve client psychological health or well-being and unmet service needs. Future studies should investigate what specific components of case management are crucial in improving clients and their carers’ outcomes.

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Good practice in European integration: Lessons from the AIDA Project

Introduction: Interest in the integration of health and social care services has grown in recent years amongst all Governments in Europe in light of the increasing numbers of older people and those affected by chronic illnesses. This poster offers a review of the “Album of 10 Good Practices of integration at European level” carried out within the Advancing Integration for a Dignified Ageing (AIDA)- Project (www.projectaida.eu/). This was funded by EU Progress Program with the purpose of highlighting common aspects of effectiveness. Methods: The AIDA Project Consortium developed a criteria for selection of good practices on the basis of most relevant conceptual frameworks on integrated health and social care for older people. 28 initiatives were selected by an Advisory Board (AB) composed by five international experts in the field. The provider/ coordinator of each selected initiative (or a lead academic with an interest in the project) has provided an overview of the project, the legal and social context in which it was set, enablers and barriers, and evaluation of impact. The case-studies were then analysed to highlight success factors and impact on users, service providers and overall health and social care systems. Results:description of the case-studies

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Enhanced dementia practice for social workers

This online resource is primarily for Newly Qualified Social Workers, and existing social workers, who work in adult care and community care settings in Scotland. The main sections cover: understanding dementia; personal outcomes: valued relationships and community connections; working with carers; health and wellbeing; rights, support and protection; and supportive environments. Each section includes a mixture of personal stories, filmed drama, quotations, key facts, resource material and activities. The resource includes the personal testimonies of members of Scottish Dementia Working Group (SDWG) and National Dementia Carers Action Network (NDCAN). The resource is one a range of resources emerging from 'Promoting Excellence: a framework for all health and social services staff working with people with dementia, their families and carers' in Scotland.

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Coffee, cakes and mutual support

Norwich: a ‘coffee morning’ initiative aimed to give people with dementia and carers the ordinary social opportunities they were missing. It has succeeded and also brought many further benefits, as Judith Farmer explains

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Experiences of adult stroke survivors and their parent carers: a qualitative study

Objective: To explore the experiences of adult stroke survivors and their parent carers.

Design: Qualitative methodology: interpretative phenomenological analysis. Setting: Six residential areas across England and south Wales. Participants: Six adult stroke survivors (aged 27–46), six mothers (aged 59–76) and five fathers (aged 55–76).

Method: Semi-structured interviews to explore the relationship and interactions between parent and survivor prior to and after a stroke, with opportunities to explore both positive and negative changes. All interviews were transcribed and analysed by a six step interpretative phenomenological analysis process. Survivors, mothers and fathers were analysed as three separate groups and the results were synthesised.

Results: Identical and interconnected themes emerged from the three groups, permitting synthesis into a single organising framework with four superordinate themes capturing the key issues for all three groups. The four superordinate themes were: ‘emotional turmoil’; ‘significance of parents’; ‘negotiating independence versus dependence’ and ‘changed relationships’.

Conclusions:Parents reported adjusting to caring with relative ease. Survivors did not adjust to being cared for with such ease and felt positioned in a child role. Balancing independence and dependence was a challenge for survivors and parents and is considered within a systemic theory framework. Implications for service developments and guidelines are considered.

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Expressed emotion at first-episode psychosis: investigating a carer appraisal model

Background Even at the first episode of psychosis, high expressed emotion (EE) characterises over half of patient–carer relationships. This study compared a carer appraisal model of EE with the ability of illness factors to predict EE at the first episode.

Aims To investigate the utility of a carer appraisal model of EE in first-episode psychosis.

Method We compared high- and low-EE carers of people who had first-episode psychosis (n=46).

Results High EE in carers was associated with higher avoidant coping, higher subjective burden and lower perceived patient interpersonal functioning. Patient illness factors and carers’ distress levels were not associated with EE.

Conclusions Even at the first episode, carers’ psychological appraisal, not patient illness factors, is influential in determining high EE. Carers’ appraisal of their situation should be a primary target to lower or prevent high EE in early intervention for psychosis.

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Caring as worrying: the experience of spousal carers

Background.  With the emerging focus on home-based care, there is an increasing demand on spouses to look after their chronically ill partners at home. The theoretical aspects of caring have been much discussed in the literature, but the pragmatic aspects have received less attention. Carer stress has been explored, but little has been written about the meaning of caring to informal carers.

Aim.  The aim of this paper is to report one of the major themes that emerged from a study conducted between 1998 and 1999 to explicate the meaning of caring from the perspective of spousal carers for people with multiple sclerosis in order to shed light on and understand the challenges and demands these carers encountered.

Methodology.  An interpretive phenomenological approach was used to describe spousal carers’ experiences of caring for their partner. Ten spousal carers of people with multiple sclerosis participated. Data were collected through unstructured in-depth interviews and analysed by the method of hermeneutic analysis.

Findings.  This paper presents one of the major themes identified: ‘caring as worrying’. While the meaning of caring that emerged from this theme supports many of the philosophical understandings of caring as discussed in the literature, worrying as a care responsibility provides a further insight. Caring as worrying describes caring as a complex emotional relationship of responsibility in these participants. They worried about their partners, their relationships with their partners and their future. They also worried about their own health, institutional care, and lack of government support.

Conclusion.  Spousal carers’ worries have significant implications for health care professionals. The findings provide insight into the concerns and worries the carers of people with multiple sclerosis face when caring for their chronically ill partners at home.

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Gender differentials on the health consequences of care-giving to people with AIDS-related illness among older informal carers in two slums in Nairobi, Kenya

Informal caregivers, most often older people, provide valuable care and support for people ill due to AIDS, especially in poor-resource settings with inadequate health care systems and limited access to antiretroviral therapy. The negative health consequences associated with care-giving may vary depending on various factors that act to mediate the extent of the effects on the caregiver. This paper investigates the association between care-giving and poor health among older carers to people living with AIDS, and examines potential within-gender differences in reporting poor health. Data from 1429 men and women aged 50 years or older living in two slum areas of Nairobi are used to compare AIDS-caregivers with other caregivers and non-caregivers based on self-reported health using the World Health Organization disability assessment (WHODAS) score and the presence of a severe health problem. Women AIDS-caregivers reported higher disability scores for mobility and the lowest scores in self-care and life activities domains while men AIDS-caregivers reported higher scores in all domains (except interpersonal interaction) compared with other caregivers and non-caregivers. Multiple regression analysis is used to examine the association of providing care with health outcomes while controlling for other confounders. Consistently across all the health measures, no significant differences were observed between female AIDS-caregivers and female non-caregivers. Male AIDS-caregivers were however significantly more likely to report disability and having a severe health problem compared with male non-caregivers. This finding highlights a gendered variation in outcome and is possibly an indication of the differences in care-giving gender-role expectations and coping strategies. This study highlights the relatively neglected role of older men as caregivers and recommends comprehensive interventions to mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS on caregivers that embrace men as well as women.

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Active living: what works

Reports on a study which took place at a memory clinic in the south west of England to investigate the reasons why people with dementia and their carers do, and do not, stay physically active. The study also wanted to find out which activities would be acceptable and sustainable for people with dementia and their carers. Five people living with Alzhiemer's Disease and their five spouse carers were interviewed using semi-structured interviews. Barriers and facilitators to physical activity were linked to both the progression of dementia and the relationship between carers and the person with dementia. Other issues identified include time constraints; previous activities undertaken; social acceptance and general attitudes towards dementia. The findings highlight the need to understand the attitudes, routines, previous activities and abilities of people with dementia.

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Social support in the case of illness: intergenerational solidarity

Background: Social support received through different forms of help from members of one's social network is an important element of coping with illness. In the case of illness, family members are the main providers of support, both within the same generation, but also, and increasingly so, between generations. This informal social support is related to socio-economic conditions of individuals: it is more common in lower economic and educational groups. Members of the middle generation, who help both the young and the old, are the main support providers. Also, female gender is the most significant predictor of the care burden. Withdrawing role of the welfare state in the postmodern society means shifting more responsibilities for care from the formal to informal sector. The aim of our study was to look into the characteristics of intergenerational support in illness in Slovenia. Methods: A cross-sectional study on personal support networks of the residents of Slovenia, sample size 5013, data collection by computerassisted telephone interviews, respondents above 18 years of age. Multiple Classification Analysis (MCA) was used for data analysis to find out how much the dependent variable deviated from the mean as a result of a given respondent characteristic while controlling for the effects of all others. Results: The analysis showed the proportion of respondents’ social network that would provide support in the case of illness and could be defined as intergenerational network. Intergenerational ties represent about 35 % of the whole support netork in illness. The most frequent receivers are the youngest group of respondents (18–29), followed by the 60+ age group. Women receive more help than men, especially those who are widows, living alone or living in multigenerational households. Intergenerational support is more frequent among the less educated respondents. Discussion: Our results comply with the findings in the literature, and are indicating that the actual trends in the changing structure and composition of the family, combined with less support from institutional health- and social care, is increasing the care burden of the informal carers within families. Conclussions: Health and social care policy and practice need awarness of the contextual factors of health care outcomes, taking into consideration social support networks’ functions.

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Providing care for an elderly parent: Interactions among siblings?

This article is focused on children providing and financing long-term care for their elderly parent. The aim of this work is to highlight the interactions that may take place among siblings when deciding whether or not to become a caregiver. We look at families with two children using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe; our sample contains 314 dependent elderly and their 628 adult children. In order to identify the interactions between siblings, we have specified a two-person discrete game model. To estimate this model, without invoking the ‘coherency’ condition, we have added an endogenous selection rule to solve the incompleteness problem arising from multiplicity or absence of equilibrium. Our empirical results suggest that the three classical effects identified by Manski could potentially explain the observed correlation between the siblings' caregiving behaviour. Correlated effects alone appear to be weak. Contextual interactions and endogenous interactions reveal cross-effects. The asymmetric character of the endogenous interactions is our most striking result. The younger child's involvement appears to increase the net benefit of caregiving for the elder one, whereas the elder child's involvement decreases the net benefit of caregiving for the younger child. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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The inter-relationship between formal and informal care: a study in France and Israel

This study examined whether formal care services delivered to frail older people's homes in France and Israel substitute for or complement informal support. The two countries have comparable family welfare systems but many historical, cultural and religious differences. Data for the respondents aged 75 or more years at the first wave of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) were analysed. Regressions were examined of three patterns of care from outside the household: informal support only, formal support only and both formal and informal care, with the predictor variables including whether informal help was provided by a family member living in the household. The results revealed that about one-half of the respondents received no help at all (France 51%, Israel 55%), about one-tenth received care from a household member (France 8%, Israel 10%), and one-third were helped by informal carers from outside the household (France 34%, Israel 33%). More French respondents (35%) received formal care services at home than Israelis (27%). Most predictors of the care patterns were similar in the two countries. The analysis showed that complementarity is a common outcome of the co-existence of formal and informal care, and that mixed provision occurs more frequently in situations of greater need. It is also shown that spouse care-givers had less formal home-care supports than either co-resident children or other family care-givers. Even so, spouses, children and other family care-givers all had considerable support from formal home-delivered care.

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Children and Adolescents Providing Care to a Parent with Huntington's Disease: Disease Symptoms, Caregiving Tasks and Young Carer Well-Being

Background: Over 30,000 people in the U.S. have Huntington’s disease (HD), a disorder with numerous complicated, long-lasting and stigmatizing symptoms. Caregiving typically falls to the family, yet little is known about the caregiving experience of children and adolescents in the home.

Objective: Guided by the stress process model, this exploratory study sought to describe children and adolescents who care for a parent with HD and their caregiving experience, by detailing previously unknown relationships between caregiving, parent/child conflict, school problems, and psychological well-being of child/adolescent caregivers.

Methods: This cross-sectional study used semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of 40 children and adolescents, aged 12–20, who care for a parent with HD. Data was analyzed using descriptive and correlational statistics. Measures included the Children’s’ Depression Inventory, The Conflict Behavior Questionnaire, and the Multidimensional Assessment of Caring Activities.

Results: Study participants have substantial caregiving responsibilities (>11), with half providing personal care to a parent. The majority experienced school problems and conflict with parents (60 and 92 % respectively). Caregiving tasks were associated with problems with school and conflict with the ill parent. Furthermore, parental symptoms were associated with poor psychological wellbeing, parental conflict, and school problems for the caregivers.

Conclusion: Children and adolescents are involved in numerous tasks and describe difficulties with their daily life and well-being. Results highlight the need for the development of support services for caregivers, as well best care practices for problematic HD symptoms. Study outcomes address minimizing the potential for negative caregiving experiences of these vulnerable caregivers.

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Great expectations: a systematic review of the literature on the role of family carers in severe mental illness, and their relationships and engagement with professionals

As community care has become embedded in the UK as in much of the western world more responsibility for psychosocial care has been placed on family carers. A systematic review of the literature about the role of family carers supporting a relative with severe mental illness and their relationships and engagement with professionals was carried out. The review aimed to find out what professionals expected of family carers and what family carers expected of themselves. Themes were identified: the distinct and personal nature of family caring, potentially effective family caring, barriers to effective caring and ways to overcome barriers. There were expectations that family carers were obligated to help support effective care, but that the rights to enable carers to fulfil these obligations were not consistently upheld. Barriers to upholding rights include: types of service provision, professional attitudes to communication and engagement with carers, and carer ability to cope. Recommendations for practice included: service provision aimed at including carers, more empathic communication by professionals, and a covenant between mental health services and people who depend on them. The idea of a covenant requires more discussion and research is needed into what is expected of family carers.

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Effect of stroke on family carers and family relationships

The effects of stroke on families are considerable. Family members may struggle to adapt to a care-giving role, and relationships between stroke survivors and those closest to them are often altered by the illness. This article provides an overview of the effects of stroke on family dynamics and identifies interventions to support stroke survivors and their families during this difficult time.

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The influence of end-of-life cancer care on caregivers

The purpose of this secondary analysis was to glean from prospective data whether those caring for elderly family members recently diagnosed with cancer who ultimately died reported different caregiver depressive symptomatology and burden than caregivers of those who survived. Findings from interviews with 618 caregivers revealed that caregiver depressive symptomatology differed based on family members' survival status, and spousal caregivers experienced greater burden when a family member was near death than did non-spousal caregivers. Family member symptoms and limitations in daily living, as well as caregiver health status, age, and employment, were associated with caregiver depressive symptomatology and burden; however, these associations had no interaction with family member survival status. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. 

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Do older patients and their family caregivers agree about the quality of chronic illness care?

Objective: Family caregivers often accompany patients to medical visits; however, it is unclear whether caregivers rate the quality of patients' care similarly to patients. This study aimed to (1) quantify the level of agreement between patients' and caregivers' reports on the quality of patients' care and (2) determine how the level of agreement varies by caregiver and patient characteristics.

Design: Cross-sectional analysis. Participants: Multimorbid older (aged 65 and above) adults and their family caregivers (n = 247).

Methods: Quality of care was rated separately by patients and their caregivers using the Patient Assessment of Chronic Illness Care (PACIC) instrument. The level of agreement was examined using a weighted kappa statistic (Kw).

Results: Agreement of caregivers' and patients' PACIC scores was low (Kw = 0.15). Patients taking ten or more medications per day showed less agreement with their caregivers about the quality of care than patients taking five or fewer medications (Kw = 0.03 and 0.34, respectively, P < 0.05). Caregivers who reported greater difficulty assisting patients with health care tasks had less agreement with patients about the quality of care being provided when compared with caregivers who reported no difficulty (Kw = −0.05 and 0.31, respectively, P < .05). Patient–caregiver dyads had greater agreement on objective questions than on subjective questions (Kw = 0.25 and 0.15, respectively, P > 0.05).

Conclusion: Patient–caregiver dyads following a more complex treatment plan (i.e. taking many medications) or having more difficulty following a treatment plan (i.e. having difficulty with health care tasks) had less agreement. Future qualitative research is needed to elucidate the underlying reasons patients and caregivers rate the quality of care differently.

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Nightmare or needed strategy?

The authors draw on their experience as a counsellor and counselling service manager working for the Dementia Care Trust, an organisation that specialises in providing counselling for carers in their home space. They look at the perceived strengths and weaknesses of counselling in the home, including client commitment, client and counsellor safety and boundaries. They also highlight the benefits of working within the clients context and environment.

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The expressed emotion of case managers of the seriously mentally ill: the influence of expressed emotion on clinical outcomes

Background. Expressed emotion (EE) measured from relatives and informal carers has been consistently demonstrated to be associated with clinical outcome in schizophrenic patients. There have also been published studies that have investigated EE in professional carers that have suggested that the quality of the relationship between staff and patient may also be associated with patient outcomes. A large controlled trial of the effectiveness of different intensities of case management provided the opportunity to assess the association between the EE of case managers, including the quality of the relationship they had with patients under their care, and later clinical outcomes.

Method. This was a prospective naturalistic study of EE present in a case manager–patient dyad and subsequent patient outcomes. EE was assessed from the Five Minute Speech Sample (FMSS) at least 3 months after the case manager became responsible for the patient's care and a range of clinical outcomes were assessed 6 to 9 months later. Assessment of clinical outcomes was made independent and blind of the EE ratings.

Results. High EE ratings were significantly associated with individual case managers and not to symptom or illness factors. High EE was not associated with later clinical outcome, however, the positive relationship between case manager and patient was. The absence of a positive relationship was significantly associated with poorer outcomes.

Conclusions. In spite of very low face-to-face contact between case managers and patients, compared with the amount of contact patients have with their informal carers and family, aspects of staff attitudes and behaviour did influence clinical outcome. There are potential implications of these results for staff training and clinical practice.

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Between disruption and continuity: challenges in maintaining the 'biographical we' when caring for a partner with a severe, chronic illness

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive illness that changes the lives of patients and their spouses dramatically. The aim of this paper is to show how spouses of COPD patients integrate their tasks as informal carers with their role as spouses and the tensions and challenges involved in this. The study draws on qualitative interviews with spouses of COPD patients, recruited from the patient pool of ambulatory pulmonary services of two hospitals in Oslo, Norway. The spouses described their great efforts to re-establish normality and continuity in their everyday lives. Accomplishing this was a delicate process because they faced several dilemmas in this work. They balanced the need to sustain the independence and integrity of both parties against the need to ensure safety and deal with the progression of the illness. We propose ‘biographical we’ as a concept that can highlight the great effort spouses put into establishing a sense of continuity in their lives. In times when healthcare policy involves mobilising informal caregiving resources, an awareness of the complexity of caregiving relationships is crucial when developing appropriate support for informal carers.

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Living with dementia: a systematic review of the influence of relationship factors

Introduction: Many people with dementia are enabled to live at home by the support of a close family member, who takes on the role of a carer. Considerable research has investigated the impact of caring for a person who has dementia. In early research, there was a tendency to overlook the experiences of the person with dementia and, in particular, the relationship between the two persons. This has now been corrected by a growing body of research on the relationships between people with dementia and the family members who care for them.

Method: Peer-reviewed publications on the influence of relationship factors in dementia caregiving were reviewed.

Results: The impact of dementia on the quality of relationships is examined, together with the impact of relationship quality on the experience of living with dementia. The different forms that relationships can take in the context of dementia are considered, and an integrative theoretical framework is proposed.

Discussion: A neglect of direct evidence from the person with dementia is identified, and possible ways of combating this are considered. Clinical implications are drawn with regard to supporting the carer, the person with dementia, and their relationship.

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The effect on caregiver burden of a problem-based home visiting programme for frail older people

Objective: caregiver effects of geriatric care models focusing primarily at the patient have not been consistently studied. We studied caregiver effects of a nurse-led comprehensive geriatric evaluation and management (GEM) programme for community-dwelling frail older people that showed—in a randomised comparison with usual care-–health-related quality of life benefits for the care receivers.

Methods: this randomised trial included 110 caregiver/patient dyads who were followed up for 6 months. Primary analyses were intention-to-treat analyses of caregiver burden assessed with Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI; 0–88; higher means more burden). Preplanned subgroup analyses were conducted for cognition, living arrangement and patient/caregiver co-residence.

Results: overall, perceived caregiver burden showed no significant differences between study groups in changes over time. However, perceived burden was at baseline more than eight points higher in caregivers sharing a household with patients ( n = 23) compared to caregivers living separately ( n = 87). The intervention performed better in caregivers living together with the patient than in caregivers living separately ( P for interaction = 0.04). Co-resident caregivers experienced six-Zarit point improvement compared with four-point deterioration in the non-co-resident caregivers.

Conclusions: GEM at home benefited patients, but maybe not caregivers. Caregiver effects are related to whether caregivers live with the patient or not.

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The 'Good Carer': Moral Practices in Late Modernity

Informal carers in the context of late modernity must negotiate two potentially conflicting discourses. One is associated with a post-traditional and increasingly individualized society characterized by ‘pure’ relationships with an emphasis on authenticity and choice. The other is a more traditional discourse found particularly in current health and social policy which relies explicitly on significant input by family carers. This ar ticle analyses the tensions arising from this paradox, specifically for older carers engaged in long-term care relationships. The first, theoretical, section provides an overview of the ‘subjective turn’ associated with modernity together with the heterogeneous ethics of governmentality associated with liberal rule. The second, empirical, section discusses ‘moral narratives’ drawn from carers’ accounts of caregiving. The conclusion highlights the social contexts in which carers make moral choices and identifies the links between policy normativities on the one hand and inequality and resistance on the other.

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Poetry, philosophy and dementia

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe the use of poetry by family carers as a way into the inner world of a person with late stage dementia, consistent with their values, preferences and experiences; enhancing the wellbeing of both the person with dementia and family carers.

Design/methodology/approach – The use of poetry is being increasingly recognised as valuable in improving wellbeing for people with dementia. Poetry has an intrinsic quality which is well-suited for people with dementia: it does not require following a storyline and therefore can be enjoyed by those with no short-term memory.

Findings – The paper describes the benefits to both family members and the person with dementia; the use of poetry opened up expression of deep emotions, improved communication and enriched family relationships.

Research limitations/implications – Use of poetry by family carers with people with late stage dementia is under researched in the UK and further study of the impact of this intervention would be beneficial.

Practical implications – Poetry can be used practically in both small groups in care homes or community settings and also one to one by family carers. Of especial value are poems that have been learnt by heart when young.

Originality/value – Finally, the paper also draws attention to the positive lessons we can learn from people with dementia.

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Family care-giving and decisions about entry to care : a rural perspective

The aim of this qualitative study was to explore rural family carers' experiences of the nursing home placement of an older relative. The study was undertaken in a large Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland using a grounded theory approach. Purposive sampling was used to initiate data collection and thereafter theoretical sampling was employed. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 29 relatives of nursing home residents and the resultant data were recorded, transcribed and analysed using constant comparisons. The software package, QSR NVivo, was used to facilitate data management and retrieval. Older people had deep attachments to their homes and entry to care was a last resort. Rural family carers had close relationships with health- and social-care practitioners and felt supported in the decision-making process. The choice of home was a foregone conclusion for carers who had a strong sense of familiarity with the nursing homes in their area. This familiarity was influenced by the relatively rural communities in which respondents resided and by an efficient ‘grapevine’, which seemed to thrive in these small communities. This familiarity, in turn, influenced the choice of nursing home, timing of the placement and responses of family carers. The findings indicate that issues such as rurality and familiarity warrant a more detailed exploration in future research on entry to care.

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General practitioners and carers: a questionnaire survey of attitudes, awareness of issues, barriers and enablers to provision of services

Background: Approximately one in ten of the UK population are unpaid carers supporting a family member or friend who could not manage without their help, saving the UK economy an estimated £87 billion. This role is known to sometimes have a negative impact on carers and to require support both informally and from statutory services. General practice is a first point of contact for carers but research investigating general practitioners' (GPs') attitudes towards carers and awareness of issues facing carers is rare. This study therefore aimed to identify GPs' attitudes, awareness of issues, and perceptions of the barriers and enablers to provision of services.

Methods: Using a self-completion questionnaire distributed at a series of workshops, this study investigates GPs' attitudes to carers; awareness and knowledge of carers' issues; services offered in general practice and barriers to supporting carers.

Results: Seventy eight out of a total of 95 GPs (82% response rate) from a variety of areas in England completed the questionnaires. The GPs identified time, resources and lack of knowledge as barriers, but only 9% agreed with the statement that there is little support they can offer carers. However, nine in ten GPs (89%) feel they have insufficient training here and approximately half of them (47%) lack confidence that they are meeting carers' needs. Confidence in identifying carers is also low (45%). Issues that GPs would look out for amongst carers include emotional and physical health problems and financial and isolation difficulties. GPs specifically highlighted educational and isolation issues for young carers. Few services were described that targeted carers.

Conclusions: GPs recognise that they have an important role to play in supporting carers but would like training and support. Further investigation is needed both to determine how best to train and facilitate GPs and general practice teams in their role in supporting carers and to identify what carers need and want from general practice. Identifying carers' leads or carers' champions amongst practice staff is possibly one way forward. Given the proposed greater commissioning role for primary care, greater understanding here is particularly important.

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Adult children and parental care-giving: making sense of participation patterns among siblings

The aim of this article is to analyse 20 Finnish working carers' perceptions of their sibling relations and the sharing of the responsibility for parental care. The main focus is on the interviewees' rationales for the participation or non-participation of their siblings in the parents' care. Almost all the interviewed carers stated that the division of care responsibilities is unequal and that they are the primary carers, but the majority did not convey any clear intention to try to persuade their siblings to increase their participation in parental care. In many cases, the siblings were described either as entirely absent or as providing occasional backup, but some interviewees reported that caring for the parent(s) was shared with their other siblings. Consequently, three participation patterns were identified: ‘absence’, ‘backup’ and ‘togetherness’. All the interviewees offered rationales for the unequal division of care tasks and responsibilities among the siblings. The discussion focuses on these rationales and their variations by participation patterns, and considers the similarity of the findings to those from previous American and British studies. The study concludes that social-care services should take the primary carer's siblings into consideration, although not always as a ‘resource’. It should not be taken for granted or assumed that the primary care-giver receives help from her or his siblings, even if their relationship is otherwise close and unproblematic.

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Self-help groups as mutual support: what do carers value?

The literature suggests that the United Kingdom, in common with Europe, North America, Canada and Scandinavia, has seen significant growth in single-issue self-help/mutual aid groups concerned with health and social care issues since the 1970s, but there is only ad hoc academic and policy interest in such groups in the United Kingdom. This article presents findings from a doctoral study with two self-help/mutual aid groups for carers in South-East England. The data are drawn from semistructured interviews with 15 active members which explored reasons for joining, benefits derived from membership, and perceived differences between support gained by membership and their relationship with professionals. Most group members had prior experience of voluntary work/activity, which influenced their decision to join, often prompted by a failure of the ‘usual’ support network of family/friends to cope or adjust to the carer's needs. Members reported personal gains of empathy, emotional information, experiential knowledge and practical information, based on a core value of reciprocity through peer support. It is this latter benefit that sets apart membership of self-help groups from groups supported by professionals who may not appreciate the scope and breadth of carers’ responsibilities, or of the importance of their relationship with the person for whom they care. In this way, self-help groups offered additional, but not alternative, ‘space’ that enabled members to transcend their traditional role as a ‘carer’. It is concluded that self-help/mutual aid groups, based on reciprocal peer support, offer a valuable type of resource in the community that is not replicable in professional–client relations. The findings have contemporary relevance given the raft of new policies which value the experiential knowledge built by both individual and collectives of carers.

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Supporting family caregivers at the end of life: they don't know what they don't know

Even for patients receiving complex, intensive medical care for serious and life-threatening illness, family caregiving is typically at the core of what sustains patients at the end of life. The amorphous relationship between physicians and the families of patients at the end of life presents both challenges and opportunities for which physicians may be unprepared. Families play important roles in the practical and emotional aspects of patient care and in decision making at the end of life. At the same time, family members may carry significant burdens as a result of their work. Through the perspectives of the wife, daughter, and home care nurse of a patient who died from pancreatic cancer, we illustrate the range of family caregiver experiences and suggest potentially helpful physician interventions. We describe 5 burdens of family caregiving (time and logistics, physical tasks, financial costs, emotional burdens and mental health risks, and physical health risks) and review the responsibilities of physicians to family caregivers. Based on available evidence, we identify 5 areas of opportunity for physicians to be of service to family members caring for patients at the end of life, including promoting excellent communication with family, encouraging appropriate advance care planning and decision making, supporting home care, demonstrating empathy for family emotions and relationships, and attending to family grief and bereavement. In caring well for family caregivers at the end of life, physicians may not only improve the experiences of patients and family but also find greater sustenance and meaning in their own work.

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Dyadic relationship scale: A measure of the impact of the provision and receipt of family care

Purpose: This study evaluated the psychometric properties of the Dyadic Relationship Scale (DRS), which measures negative and positive dyadic interactions from the perspective of both the patient and the family caregiver. An important aspect of evaluating the DRS was that it be statistically sound and meaningful for both members of the dyad. Design and Methods: The study used a cross-sectional design. Survey packages were mailed to home health care patients and their family caregivers. The unit of analysis was the dyad, and exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted. We examined the reliability, discriminant, and concurrent validities of the instrument. Results: The data supported a two-factor DRS that included negative dyadic strain (patient α =.84; caregiver α =.89) and positive dyadic interaction (patient α =.86; caregiver α =.85). The analysis supported the DRS's construct, discriminant, and concurrent validity, as well as its reliability for both patients and family caregivers. Implications: Using the DRS to measure the impact of family care on positive and negative interactions inclusive of patients and caregivers can assist in identifying areas of difficulty and guide interventions to improve outcomes for both members of the dyad.

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Continuing to care

Reports on a collaborative study of carers from across North Wales, whose relatives have moved to live in a care home. Interviews were conducted with 78 family carers whos relative had been recently admitted into a care home. Follow-up interviews were conducted 10-12 months later with a sub-sample of 29 carers. Discusses the the carers experiences and the implications for staff working in care homes. The research was conducted by the Centre for Social Policy Research and Development, University of Wales and the Princess Royal Trust for Carers.

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Freedom and Imperative Mutual Care Between Older Spouses With Physical Disabilities

This article explores mutual caregiving between older spouses aging with physical disabilities. Nine older couples, where both partners had lived long lives with physical disabilities, were interviewed as dyads about mutual caregiving. The couples not only had access to different kinds and degrees of formal support but also provided mutual care to each other in a variety of ways. Interview coding using grounded theory led to two overarching categories from which motivation for mutual caregiving could be understood. These categories were Mutual care as freedom and Mutual care as imperative. The results extend understanding about how older couples with disabilities attached meaning to their mutual caregiving, and why mutual care was sometimes preferable, despite the availability of other sources of help and despite practical difficulties of providing this help. These findings suggest that health care professionals need to be sensitive to the dynamics of the couple relationship and carefully explore the couple’s preferences for how formal support can best be provided in ways that honor and sustain the integrity of the couple relationship.

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Abuse of female caregiver by care recipients: another form of elder abuse

This article focuses on the abuse of ageing caregiving women (55 years or older) by the spouses or parents for whom they provide care. Data presented were derived from a study of the dynamics of family caregiving focusing on Mexican American and Anglo caregiving dyads. Analysis focused on identifying correlates of abuse from a group of variables that represented the structure and context of caregiving. Data suggests the problem is not trivial and the interactional context of caregiving is the most promising aspect for explanation, intervention, and prevention.

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Emotional and Tangible Reciprocity in Middle- and Older-Aged Carers of Adults With Intellectual Disabilities

Reciprocal benefits may exist in relationships between carers and their adult sons/daughters with intellectual disabilities, but the topic has not been widely studied. The present study investigated whether older carers of adult children with intellectual disabilities perceive emotional and tangible reciprocity in their relationships and the association between perceived reciprocity with quality of life. The authors surveyed 91 parental carers (aged 50+ years, mean = 60.8). Bivariate correlations and hierarchical regression analyses assessed the relationship between tangible and emotional reciprocity and carer quality of life variables (physical and mental health, depressive symptomatology, life satisfaction) and carers' desire for an alternative residential situation of their son/daughter. Overall, more tangible and emotional support was given than received from their adult children. However, despite varying levels of intellectual disability and functional impairments of their care recipient, carers did report receiving considerable support. Relative disadvantage (i.e., giving more than received) in tangible reciprocity was associated with increased depressive symptomatology and poorer mental health but also reduced desire for seeking an alternative residential situation for the person for whom they are caring. These relationships were attenuated after covariance analyses. Emotional reciprocity was not associated with any of the outcome measures. The results suggest that perceptions of reciprocity are relevant in caregiving for intellectual disability and may be an underappreciated asset in coping with caregiving.

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myShoes - the future of experiential dementia training?

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the use of virtual reality (VR) for experiential learning in dementia training. People have different perceptions and understanding of what it is like to live with dementia, particularly those that are new to dementia care, whether in a professional capacity, or as a friend or family member. Arguably the most powerful way in which to enhance understanding is to give people a glimpse of what living with dementia might be like.

Design/methodology/approach – The myShoes project aimed to create a resource that would augment a virtual environment and expose the user to an experience that gives them a sense of what living with dementia might be like. The resource was created using the latest VR and game development software. A sample group of students from a mixed range of health professions tested the resource providing in depth feedback on its immediate impact and ideas for further development.

Findings – Notwithstanding the limited sample on which the simulation has been tested, carefully designing the activities and constructing a learning space that allows for reflection on being placed temporarily in another person’s shoes, appears to have enabled students to think beyond ‘treatment, to considering how the person might feel and altering their approach accordingly.

Research limitations/implications – This is a pilot study. More research using VR as a training resource is planned.

Practical implications – The study will support educational training, particularly that which uses virtual reality for clinicians and carers.

Social implications – The adoption of a VR approach to training formal and informal carers has potential to enhance empathy and improve holistic care of people with dementia.

Originality/value – The myShoes project adopts a novel approach to simulating the effects of dementia for training purposes.

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Partners in care: sharing

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

My wife, Pauline, died from Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 59. She was 51 when diagnosed after several years of problems. I cared for her at home. For the first 3 years, I maintained my employment, albeit on an increasingly part-time basis, but resigned from work and cared for her full-time for 5 years when her needs demanded round-the-clock attention. She remained in her own home to within 5 weeks of her death, when fracturing my leg put paid to my direct caring role.

The article was originally written along with two or three others as a result of a commission from Suffolk Carers for their magazine. This was some time before Pauline’s death. In ‘Sharing’, I tried to encapsulate the story of our marriage and the effect that Alzheimer’s disease had had on that relationship. However, the writing took over from the concept and it became too much of a personal statement about us for me to be happy about it being read by others while Pauline was still alive but unable to contribute, so I didn’t offer it for publication but filed it away. I think the writing was, in any case, a sort of much-needed therapy for me at that time.

Philip Ingram July 2003

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Does blaming the patient with lung cancer affect the helping behavior of primary caregivers?

Purpose/Objectives: To examine whether primary caregivers' helping behaviors are predicted by their illness attribution reactions as proposed in Weiner's model.

Design: Latent-variable structural equation modeling. Setting: Five oncology outpatient settings in central Canada. Sample: 100 dyads consisting of patients with lung cancer and their primary caregivers. Methods: Self-report questionnaires, abstracted medical record data, confirmatory factor analysis, and structural equation modeling. Main Research Variables: Smoking history, judgments of responsibility for controlling the disease, anger, pride, and helping behaviors.

Findings: An interrelation was seen between judgments of responsibility toward patients to control aspects of the disease, affective reactions of anger and pride, and helping behavior. Anger and pride had a stronger influence on helping behavior than smoking history did.

Conclusions: Judgments of responsibility for controlling lung cancer and anger toward patients put caregivers at risk for dysfunctional helping behavior, particularly if patients had a history of tobacco use.

Implications for Nursing: Primary caregivers' affective states directly affect their helping behavior toward patients with lung cancer. Clinicians should be aware that caregivers who perceive the patient to be largely responsible for managing the disease also may be angry toward that patient. Angry caregivers are at risk of providing suboptimal helping behavior.

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Debates in the House of Commons

The article discusses issues being debated in Great Britain's House of Commons in July 2010. Health Minister Paul Burstow observes that young carers of parents or siblings needed an integrated support programme from schools, social services and community groups. Education Minister Michael Gove stated that the number of teachers under the Teach First Programme will be doubled to 1,140 a year. Chris Leslie of Lab/Co-op, Nottingham East, asked that funding for mental health services for deprived children in Nottingham be maintained.

Support to family carers of patients with frontotemporal dementia

OBJECTIVES: To examine the provision of support to patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and their family carers compared with patients with early onset Alzheimer's dementia (AD) and their carers, and the carers' satisfaction with the support. METHOD: Data came from 60 dyads of patients with dementia and their principal family carers, 23 subjects with frontotemporal dementia and their 23 carers, and 37 subjects with early onset Alzheimer's disease and their 37 carers. RESULTS: Patients with a frontotemporal dementia diagnosis were significantly more frequently offered stays in nursing homes (p = 0.04). Carers of patients with frontotemporal dementia were significantly less satisfied with the provision of information about the disease compared with carers of early onset Alzheimer's disease patients (p = 0.05) and were significantly less satisfied with counseling and follow-up advice (p = 0.05). CONCLUSION: Changes of personality in patients with frontotemporal dementia may be the major reason why they were offered more stays in institutions. These family carers tend to be less satisfied with the provision of support they received from the specialist health service compared to carers of Alzheimer's disease patients, and are in need of more, and other forms of support.

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In our own words

Looks at what user consultation and empowerment mean to service users and carers themselves.

Family voices: life for family carers of people with intellectual disabilities in Ireland

Background: Families in Ireland remain the main providers of support for people with Intellectual disabilities, and the aim of this study was to map their life experiences whilst involving their family members as co-researchers.

Materials and Method: This qualitative, participatory study involved 10 focus groups attended by 70 parents and siblings of people with intellectual disabilities. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: Caring for a family member with intellectual disabilities was found to be a dynamic and adaptive process. The well-being of the family and the challenges they face throughout their lives was the central theme identified. This was affected by: the availability of appropriate supports for families and having to advocate for them, communication and relationships with services and professionals, the availability of information and attitudes towards disability and governmental support.

Conclusions: Strategies are suggested as to how services can better support family carers in Ireland in their role. These include families being provided with flexible and timely support for families at critical times; being offered services, support, entitlements and information without having to fight for them; knowing that their family member with intellectual disabilities is well cared for, listened to and provided with opportunities to develop and be part of the community; and carers being shown respect, listened to and involved in decisions.

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Brief psychotherapy in Alzheimer's disease: randomised controlled trial

Although there is good evidence that interventions for carers of people with Alzheimer's disease can reduce stress, no systematic studies have investigated psychotherapeutic intervention for patients themselves. This may be important in the earlier stages of Alzheimer's disease, where insight is often preserved.

The aim was to assess, in a randomised controlled trial, whether psychotherapeutic intervention could benefit cognitive function, affective symptoms and global well-being.

Individuals were randomised to receive six sessions of psychodynamic interpersonal therapy or treatment as usual; cognitive function, activities of daily living, a global measure of change, and carer stress and coping were assessed prior to and after the intervention.

No improvement was found on the majority of outcome measures. There was a suggestion that therapy had improved the carers' reactions to some of the symptoms.

There is no evidence to support the widespread introduction of brief psychotherapeutic approaches for those with Alzheimer's disease. However, the technique was acceptable and helpful individually.

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Who will care for the oldest people in our ageing society?

The number of informal carers for frail elderly people is set to fall steeply. Jean-Marie Robine and colleagues propose a new way to assess the trend that should help policy makers plan for the deficit

The authors suggest that the demographic indicators used for studies of population aging based on a three age group population model (young people, working age people and elderly people) should be changed to reflect the effect of the change in population age structure on intergenerational relationships. A four age group population model of young people, working age people, younger retired people and the oldest people will reflect this. Younger retired people increasingly help care for very elderly people through informal care. The number of informal carers for the frail elderly is set to drop and this assessment will reflect that trend for policymakers.

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Informal caregivers' participation when older adults in Norway are discharged from the hospital

This paper describes the participation of informal caregivers in the discharge process when patients aged 80 and over who were admitted from home to different hospitals in Norway were discharged to long-term community care. Data for this cross-sectional survey were collected through telephone interviews with a consecutive sample of 262 caregivers recruited between October 2007 and May 2009. The Discharge of Elderly Questionnaire was developed by the research team and was designed to elicit data concerning informal caregivers' self-reported perceptions on participation in the discharge process. A descriptive and comparative analysis of Thompson's levels of participation reported by the older generation (spouses and siblings) and the younger generation (adult children and children-in-law, nieces and grandchildren) was undertaken using bivariate cross-tabulations and chi-square tests for association and trend. Analyses showed that the younger generation of caregivers received and provided information to hospital staff to a greater degree than the older generation. Overall, 52% of the informal caregivers reported co-operating with the staff to a high or to some degree. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to analyse factors predicting the likelihood of informal caregivers reporting co-operation with hospital staff. The odds of younger generation caregivers reporting co-operation were more than twice as high (OR = 2.121, P = 0.045) as the odds of the older generation. Caregivers of patients with a hearing impairment had higher odds of reporting co-operation (OR = 1.722, P = 0.049) than caregivers of patients with no such impairment. The length of hospital stay, the caregiver's and patient's gender and education level were not significantly associated with caregiver's co-operation. The informal caregivers' experiences with information practices and user participation in hospitals highlight important challenges that must be taken seriously to ensure co-operation between families and hospitals when elderly patients are discharged back to the community.

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Enhancing partnerships with relatives in care settings

Aim The aims of this project were to implement guidance that sought to involve carers of older people in decision-making processes, and to promote practice development through work-based learning.

Method Data were collected and analysed to examine how carer involvement was being managed on the wards. The data were then fed back to staff in each area and meetings were held to discuss which aspects of carer involvement were priorities for them. These were then matched with the four markers of satisfactory involvement identified in a previous study (Walker et al 1999).

Results Several strategies were implemented to enhance carer involvement, including life story work, written communication books and a newsletter. Early feedback from the project highlighted benefits for staff and relatives, which included greater confidence in negotiating care and closer relationships between relatives and staff.

Conclusion If carer involvement in care is to become a reality, staff need support and encouragement to develop meaningful relationships with relatives and to value their expert opinions.

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Caring for a relative with delusional beliefs: a qualitative exploration

Background: In recent years, there has been a gradual shift towards the study of individual symptom presentations in psychosis, this is particularly found in studies of delusional beliefs. However, the literature remains sparse on informal caregiver experiences of individual symptoms.

Aim: The study sought to investigate carer experiences of supporting a relative with delusional beliefs, which involve family members.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with five caregivers and subject to interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Results: Interviews yielded six superordinate themes highlighting issues concerning a carer's exposure to symptoms of illness; lack of understanding about their relatives' delusional beliefs; concerns over coming to harm from their relative: efforts made by the carer to conceal their relative's delusional beliefs and their consequences; fractured relationships, and a long process of learning how to best cope.

Conclusion: Caring for a relative with psychosis who experiences delusional beliefs about the carer and family members can be challenging. The results underscore the importance of providing a programme of support to meet the varied needs of informal carers with an explicit aim of assisting carers in their day-to-day problem solving. It should also help to address issues carers may have about causality, including beliefs about self-blame, and identifying effective coping strategies.

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The needs of older people with mental health problems according to the user, the carer, and the staff

Background: Individual assessment of needs has been recognised as the most appropriate way to allocate health and social care resources. These assessments, however, are often made by the staff or by a carer who acts as an advocate for the user themselves. Little is known about how these proxy measures compare to how individual patients perceive their own needs.

Aim: The aim of this study was to measure and compare ratings of need for older people with mental health problems by the older person themselves, their carer, and an appropriate staff member.

Method: One-hundred and one older people were identified from various mental health services and 87 users, 57 carers, and 95 staff were interviewed using the Camberwell Assessment of Need for the Elderly (CANE) to identify met and unmet needs.

Results: Users identified significantly fewer of their needs (5.5) than either staff (8.1) or carers (8.3) did, but this difference was accounted for by people with dementia reporting less needs. Users identified fewer psychological or social needs (e.g. daytime activities, company, or carer distress) than staff or carers did. The average Kappa indicating level of agreement between staff and user was 0.52, between user and carer was 0.53, and between carer and user was 0.58. This showed only a fair level of reliability between different ratings of need.

Conclusions: User perspectives should be given a high priority when assessing individual needs. Fears that assessment of need would be unduly time-consuming or would simply reflect individual demands should be allayed. A user-based assessment will assist healthcare providers to prioritise needs according to what the user themselves consider to be most important, beneficial, and acceptable to them. Reliance solely on assessment by staff or carers may not lead to the most equitable or appropriate use of services. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Characteristics and contributions of non-kin carers of older people: a closer look at friends and neighbours

Research on informal care-giving has largely neglected the contributions of non-kin carers. This paper investigated the characteristics and contributions of non-kin who care for older adults with a long-term health problem, and investigated friends and neighbours as distinct categories of care providers. Using data from 324 non-kin carers in the 1996 General Social Survey of Canada, this study compared individual and relationship characteristics, care tasks and amount of care provided for the two groups. Interpersonal and socio-demographic characteristics were investigated as mediators of potential differences between friends and neighbours in patterns of care. Results demonstrate that friend and neighbour carers differed on age, marital status, geographical proximity and relationship closeness. Friends were more likely than neighbours to assist with personal care, bills and banking, and transportation. Neighbours were more likely to assist with home maintenance. Friends provided assistance with a greater number of tasks and provided more hours of care per week, suggesting a more prominent role in the care of non-kin than neighbours. Age, income, a minor child in the household, proximity and relationship closeness significantly predicted amount of care provided, and relationship closeness largely explained differences between friends and neighbours. Future research on informal care-giving can build on the findings that distinguish friend and neighbour carers to further discriminate the dynamics of non-kin care.

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The decline of intensive intergenerational care of older people in Great Britain, 1985-1995

There are increasing concerns about the future availability of informal care for older people, particularly care by their children. This article explores past trends in the provision of informal care by children/children-in-law between 1985 and 1995 in Great Britain, using successive General Household Survey data. The article suggests that, during this period, there was a decline in co-resident intergenerational care and that this was associated with a decline in highly intensive intergenerational care. The article explores possible factors underlying these trends, in particular, demographic changes and changes in patterns of formal care for older people. 

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Participation in socially-productive activities, reciprocity and wellbeing in later life : baseline results in England

This paper examines whether participation in social activities is associated with higher levels of wellbeing among post-retirement age people in England, and, if so, whether these relationships are explained by the reciprocal nature of these activities. Cross-sectional analysis of relationships between social activities (including paid work, caring and volunteering) and wellbeing (quality of life, life satisfaction and depression) was conducted among participants of one wave of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) who were of state pension age or older. Participants in paid or voluntary work generally had more favourable wellbeing than those who did not participate in these activities. Caring was not associated with wellbeing, although female carers were less likely to be depressed than non-carers. Carers, volunteers and those in paid work who felt adequately rewarded for their activities had better wellbeing than those who were not participating in those activities, while those who did not feel rewarded did not differ from non-participants. These results point to the need to increase the rewards that older people receive from their productive activities, particularly in relation to caring work.

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Care coordination assisted by technology for multiethnic caregivers of persons with dementia : a pilot clinical demonstration project on caregiver burden and depression

We evaluated a care-coordination project assisted by a screen-phone to support and educate caregivers. A total of 113 caregivers of home-dwelling veterans with dementia were recruited to the study: 72 were white, 32 were African American and nine were Hispanic. Caregivers were assessed for burden, depression, coping, quality of life, knowledge and satisfaction. None of the outcome measures changed significantly after twelve months. Forty care-recipient and caregiver dyads responded to the twelve-month telephone satisfaction survey. The respondents were more satisfied with the care-coordination (90 per cent) aspect of the programme than the education (77 per cent) or the monitoring (50 per cent). The pilot project suggests that care coordination aided by screen-phones may be a useful model for caregiver support in a managed-care setting. A systematic study is now required. 1 fig. 2 tables 20 refs. 

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Older carers of adults with a learning disability confront the future: Issues and preferences in planning

The Valuing People White Paper (Department of Health, 2001) requires services to secure a plan for all service-users with learning disabilities living with older carers and promises them and their families more choice and control over how and where they live. This paper examines the views of the older carers (aged over seventy) of sixty-two adults with a learning disability about planning for the future. Fifty-six took part in interviews in their own homes and six completed a questionnaire. All carers were white and recruited from one local authority in response to the requirements of the White Paper. Findings indicate that a significant proportion (thirty-four—55 per cent) is either not ready or is unwilling to make future plans. Barriers to planning include a perceived lack of need due to the existence of two carers, a lack of awareness of timescales involved in securing housing, difficulties in letting go, a lack of confidence in available housing options, and the existence of mutually supportive relationships. The findings show a need for a proactive approach to information and support provision to enable these families to work through a process of making plans for the future. This is essential to prevent the need for emergency placements in response to crisis and in turn to ensure that adults with learning disabilities have genuine choice and involvement in how and where they live.

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Relationships between patients, informal caregivers and health professionals in care homes

Commentary on: Lindahl B, Lidén E, Lindblad BM. A meta-synthesis describing the relationships between patients, informal caregivers and health professionals in home-care settings. J Clin Nurs2011;20:454–63.

Implications for nursing practice

  • Care delivery in the home creates a unique and potentially challenging set of relational issues for the nurse, client and informal carer.

  • The communication skills, values, attitudes and behaviours of the nurse are influential in determining the dynamic of the nurse-client-informal carer relationship in the home.

Implications for nursing research

  • Further research is needed to examine the views of stakeholders on the factors that influence nurse-client-informal carer relationships in the home-care setting.

  • Further research is needed to examine the success of interventions to promote positive relationships among stakeholders in the home-care setting.

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Caring about carers: only half the picture

This article examines the government's strategy for carers and considers its significance for people in informal caring relationships. It argues that although it contains important and innovative measures, the strategy does not address adequately the complex nature of caring relationships nor does it take account of the perspectives of people who receive care. There is a danger, therefore, that the strategy will be divisive. However, the recognition that caring is a widespread activity is welcomed.

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Self and carer perspectives of quality of life in dementia using the QoL-AD

OBJECTIVE: Quality of life (QoL) is one of the most important outcomes in improving well-being in people with dementia (PwD). The primary aim of the present study was to compare self and carer ratings of QoL in PwD and to identify the most important factors influencing self and carer ratings.

METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional analytic study of 488 dyads using the Quality of Life in Alzheimer's Disease scale, demographics, data on self-rated health, and clinical characteristics.

RESULTS: Higher levels of self-rated health in PwD were associated with higher self-rated QoL after controlling for depression and activities of daily living. When the carer experienced less stress related to caregiving, the PwD reported better QoL. Higher carer-rated QoL was associated with less carer stress, better health for the family carer, and the PwD being of younger age. When carers lived with the PwD, and reported lower levels of depression and better functional ability for their relative, carer-rated QoL was higher.

CONCLUSIONS: The self-rated health of PwD and carers influences the ratings they make of the QoL of the PwD indicating that it is an important influence on QoL in this population. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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A qualitative analysis of changes in relationship dynamics and roles between people with cancer and their primary informal carer

It is widely accepted that cancer is an intersubjective experience that impacts upon the psychological well-being of people with cancer and informal carers, as well as on couple relationships. This qualitative study examined the nature and consequences of cancer on the relationship between informal carers and the person with cancer, from the perspective of Australian cancer carers. Sixty-two carers (42 women and 20 men), across a range of cancer types, stages and relationship dyads took part in semi-structured interviews. Participants reported that cancer had precipitated a change in roles and in the dynamics of the relationship, including having to take on quasi-medical tasks and decisions, neglecting self and other relationships, changes to the emotions or personality of the person with cancer, changed patterns of communication, and changes to sexuality and intimacy. The impact of the changed relationship included sadness, anger and frustration, as well as feelings of love and being closer together, resulting in relationship enhancement. Women were more likely to report changes in the person with cancer and to mourn the previous relationship, while more men reported relationship enhancement.

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Assessment of the burden of caregiving for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Objective: To determine the effect of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on the quality of life of caregivers.

Design and methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out with forty-two COPD patients and their primary caregivers. Patients were assessed with the medical outcome survey short form (SF-36), the physical and mental component summary (PCS and MCS), Saint George's respiratory questionnaire (SGRQ), 6-min walking test, and spirometric and blood gas measurements. Caregivers were assessed using the medical outcome survey short form (SF-36), the physical and mental component summary (PCS and MCS), the 5-point Likert scale for measuring caregiver/patient relationships and the caregiver burden scale (CB scale).

Results: The majority of caregivers were female (85.3%), married (59%) and had low levels of income and schooling. The mean age was 51.6±16 years. Mean caregiver PCS and MCS scores were 45.9±10 and 46±12, while the mean total burden score was 1.79±0.6. The regression analysis showed caregiver/patient relationship quality, caregiver MCS scores and patient PCS scores to be important predictors of burden and explained 63% of the variance.

Conclusions: COPD causes a significant impact on the quality of life of caregivers. The two most important predictors of COPD burden are the relationship between caregivers and patients and caregiver MCS scores.

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When Harry met Barry, and other stories: a partner's influence on relationships in back pain care

This study forms part of a longitudinal investigation of pain, disability and health care use in primary care low back pain consulters. Sixteen purposively sampled patients and their health care professionals were interviewed about experiences with back pain and their therapeutic relationships. This case study draws on the accounts of one patient, his wife, and three health care professionals and explores the role of the informal carer in back pain care. The interview with the patient and his wife highlights the dynamics of a co-constructed narrative of back pain. The joint narrative is fundamentally supportive of the patient's condition, yet his wife's preference for a proactive approach to health care is undermined by the patient's unquestioning respect for health professionals. In addition, the patient's limited expression—of his suffering and his feelings regarding care received—results in less beneficial care where opportunities remain unfulfilled and problems unresolved. His wife's role as narrator of his pain provokes different reactions from health professionals and these are discussed. Analysis reveals a positive and mediating role for informal carers within the provision of health care. However, the construction of the patient's limited expression in opposition to his wife as an ‘expert carer’ raises issues around these roles in the therapeutic encounter that require further exploration. To use supportive relationships effectively there is a need to better understand the interplay between the patient and carer roles, how these roles are negotiated in the health care consultation, and the possible contradictions that this poses.

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The experience of shame in older psychiatric patients: a preliminary enquiry

Shame is a complex set of attitudes, feelings and behaviours that tend to motivate hiding and, if provoked, can lead to conflict with others. It is also related to the exercise of power within the relationship of care and therefore may be a relevant factor if older adults are forced to accept increased dependency. There are no systematic enquiries into shame processes and older psychiatric patients. The experience of trait and situational shame and psychopathology was explored with 50 older psychiatric patients, using a range of questionnaire measures. As predicted, trait shame correlated significantly with anxiety and depression scores. There was preliminary evidence to suggest that being in need of others may be shame-provoking for some patients and may have a bearing on why some patients fear dependency, conceal symptoms and have conflicted relationships with carers.

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A life like any other? Human rights of adults with learning disabilities: seventh report of session 2007-08: volume 1: report and formal minutes (HL 40-I; HC 73-i)

The report by the Joint Select Committee on Human Rights paints an often harrowing picture of neglect, abuse and the denial of fundamental human rights to adults living with learning disabilities in the UK. Evidence received by the Committee reveals that people with learning disabilities are more vulnerable to abuse and are less likely to understand their fundamental human rights, including to be treated with dignity and respect by public authorities. Adults with learning disabilities and their advocates and carers told the Committee about how people were denied the opportunity to conduct their own lives as any adult would take for granted including the ability to form and conduct relationships.

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Knowledge generation about care-giving in the UK: a critical review of research paradigms

While discourse about care and caring is well developed in the UK, the nature of knowledge generation about care and the research paradigms that underpin it have been subjected to limited critical reflection and analysis. An overarching synthesis of evidence – intended to promote debate and facilitate new understandings – identifies two largely separate bodies of carer-related research. The first body of work – referred to as Gathering and Evaluating – provides evidence of the extent of care-giving, who provides care to whom and with what impact; it also focuses on evaluating policy and service efficacy. This type of research tends to dominate public perception about caring, influences the type and extent of policy and support for carers and attracts funding from policy and health-related sources. However, it also tends to be conceptually and theoretically narrow, has limited engagement with carers' perspectives and adopts an atomistic purview on the care-giving landscape. The second body of work – Conceptualising and Theorising – explores the conceptual and experiential nature of care and aims to extend thinking and theory about caring. It is concerned with promoting understanding of care as an integral part of human relationships, embedded in the life course, and a product of interdependence and reciprocity. This work conceptualises care as both an activity and a disposition and foregrounds the development of an ‘ethic of care’, thereby providing a perspective within which to recognise both the challenges care-giving may present and the significance of care as a normative activity. It tends to be funded from social science sources and, while strong in capturing carers' experiences, has limited policy and service-related purchase. Much could be gained for citizens, carers and families, and the generation of knowledge advanced, if the two bodies of research were integrated to a greater degree.

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Employment and caregiving: exploration of African American caregivers

To more completely understand the challenges African American families face when combining employment commitments and informal caregiving responsibilities, the authors used data from a community sample of 119 African American elder-caregiver dyads. This article examines the nature of caregiving relationships and extent to which caregivers' employment statuses affect the hours of care provided. The authors concluded that employed caregivers do not provide significantly less care than do unemployed caregivers, elderly people with employed caregivers are no more likely than those with unemployed caregivers to use formal services, and unemployed caregivers may remain unemployed partly because of caregiving responsibilities.

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Children in exclusion zone

The author argues that funding for young carers' support should be ring-fenced to avoid that possibility that British councils may use the budget to fend off the next budgetary crisis. He describes young carers as children who take on responsibility for their families, acting as main carers for their disabled or chronically ill parents and siblings. The government has funded initiatives to support young carers. However, he notes that government aims to transfer this funding to local authorities.

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Futures planning for people with learning disabilities living with older family carers

People with learning disabilities are increasingly outliving their parents. To avoid traumatic and inappropriate transitions from the family home in later life, services need to improve their relationships with families. Practical examples are given of how families are being supported to face the future. 

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Employers' knowledge and attitudes regarding organizational policy toward workers caring for aging family members

The study examined employers' knowledge of and attitudes toward working carers who care for aging family members. The study was based on the ecological model. One hundred employers were interviewed using structured questionnaires and 13 employers by additional in-depth interviews. Both research instruments included areas of disruption to the organization, existing policies, and feasibility as to developing appropriate policies to support working carers. Results show that caregiving caused a disruption in workers' functioning mainly by being absent, leaving work early, and coming to work late. Usually, there was “no policy,” and half of the employers did not support introducing such a policy. Women managers in public organizations, who had less seniority and less previous experience with working-carers, tended to be more positive about supportive policies. Recommendations are included.

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The effects of nursing home placement on the perceived levels of caregiver burden

Providing care for an ageing parent can be one of the most fulfilling life experiences for an adult child. It can also be one of the most exhausting physically, emotionally and financially. A carer experiences psychological and emotional changes when their dependent parent or spouse is placed into formal care. This research project uses the Montgomery Borgatta Caregiver Burden Scale, amended with a questionnaire, in a self-administered, anonymous survey to explore perceptions of caregiving burden before and after the nursing home placement periods. This research showed that numerous factors influence carers' perceptions of burden and the quality of relationships among family members.

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Informal caring for stroke survivors: Meta-ethnographic review of qualitative literature

Stroke is a very common cause of adult disability often leaving stroke survivors dependent on others. Much of this support comes from informal carers. Research has demonstrated the importance of these carers to survivors’ recovery but also suggests that caregiving has adverse consequences. Meta-ethnography was applied to review qualitative research looking at informal stroke carers’ experiences and responses to caring. Electronic databases from 2006 to 2009 were searched and after application of inclusion and exclusion criteria, seven studies were reviewed.

The experience of caring for stroke survivors centres around change and loss overlaid with uncertainty. Change includes changes in roles and relationships. Losses include former relationships, autonomy and taken-for-granted futures. These challenge carers’ perception of their identity.

Carers respond cognitively and practically and attempts to reconstruct their lives may lead to acceptance and adjustment. This process is one of biographical disruption for carers but can result in personal growth.

If carers and stroke survivors are to be supported, acknowledging specific issues including role and relationship changes and perceptions of reduced autonomy may be more valuable than attempting to reduce carer burden or strain. Clinicians frequently only see families over short periods and may therefore have little understanding of the major, long-term disruptive impact of caregiving. If professionals working with families of stroke survivors are made aware of this and of the necessity for carers to come to terms with their changed roles and identities, they will be better equipped to understand and respond to carers’ practical and emotional needs.

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Use of Alzheimer family support group by community-residing caregivers

This paper describes the author’s experience as a new co-facilitator for an Alzheimer’s Disease Family Support Group and reviews the preliminary phase of group practice and the dynamics of the beginning phase of co-facilitating the Alzheimer’s Family Support Group. The paper reviews the needs that Alzheimer Support Group would meet, purpose of the group, agency and sponsorship support for Alzheimer Support Group, recruitment, group composition, group timing and structure, leadership of group, orientation of group members, content of group meetings, group sessions, and anticipated obstacles, and concludes with the importance of empowerment-oriented social workers who share the message that change is possible with others who are struggling, while working side-by-side with them to achieve changes and provide a new beginning – a new path for caregivers – a path of self discovery. As Alzheimer’s disease progresses caregivers and loved ones of people with the disease are often challenged on a daily basis – emotionally, mentally, and physically. Being with other people in similar situations encourages group members to share information, exchange coping skills, give and receive mutual support, vent their frustrations and share their success stories. Caregiving for a person with cognitive impairments can be a very diffi cult task, but knowing that you are ‘all in the same boat’ provides the life preserver to the caregiver – giving nourishment to the soul.

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Caregiver's burden, depression and support as predictors of post-stroke depression: a cross-sectional survey

To examine the effects of caregiver's burden, depression, and support on post-stroke depression (PSD), cross-sectional data were obtained from an epidemiologic survey of 225 stroke survivors and their caregivers living in Seoul, Korea. Multivariate analyses showed that, taking the clinical status of patients into account, caregiver's burden, depression and support were related to higher PSD. Perceived burden exerts adverse effects on PSD through its influence on the depression in caregivers. Hence, the care of stroke survivors that incorporates the care of caregivers is likely to reduce the risk of post-stroke depression in patients.

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‘I felt I have grown up as an adult’: caregiving experience of children affected by HIV/AIDS in China

Background  The growing global epidemic of HIV/AIDS has a significant impact on the lives of both people living with HIV/AIDS and their family members including children. Children of parents with HIV/AIDS may experience an increased responsibility of caregiving in family. However, limited data are available regarding the caregiving experience and its impact on psychosocial well-being among these children. This study was designed to address these issues by using qualitative data collected from children affected by HIV/AIDS in China.

Methods  The qualitative data were collected in 2006 in rural central China, where many residents were infected with HIV/AIDS through unhygienic blood collection procedures. In-depth individual interviews were conducted by trained interviewers with 47 children between 8 and 17 years of age who had lost one or both parents to AIDS.

Results  Findings of this study suggest that many children affected by AIDS had experienced increased responsibilities in housework and caregiving for family members. Such caregiving included caring for self and younger siblings, caring for parents with illness and caring for elderly grandparents. Positive impacts from children's participation in family caregiving included personal growth and emotional maturity. Negative consequences included physical fatigue, psychological fear and anxiety and suboptimal schooling (dropping out from school, repeated absence from school and unable to concentrate in class).

Conclusion  While the increased caregiving responsibilities among children reflected some cultural beliefs and had some positive effect on personal growth, the caregiving experience generally negatively effected the children's physical and mental health and schooling. The findings in the current study suggest that community-based caregiving support is necessary in areas with high prevalence of HIV and limited resources, especially for the families lacking adult caregivers. In addition, social and psychological support should be made available for children participating in family caregiving.

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Carers Assistive Technology Service

Hull Churches Home from Hospital Service (HCHfH) has been at the forefront of bringing assistive technology into the homes of the elderly with chronic illness’ through Telehealth projects since 2008. Over that period the organisation has had a steep learning curve both in terms of introducing assistive technology to an ageing population and familiarising them with the benefits they go on to experience, building a track record in ensuring assistive technology is used and not rejected, our major work currently involves remote monitoring of clients with cardiac conditions and COPD in the community. HCHfH piloted an assistive technology project in 2013; The Carers Assistive Technology (CATs) project, aimed at supporting the local carers of dementia sufferers through the use of simple technological devices e.g. door charms, memo minders, digital photo albums and PARO the interactive seal cub. Family caregivers of people living with dementia experience a high incidence of psychological distress and physical ill-health associated with caring which can reduce their life expectancy. The dominant causes of carer’s distress include the person living with dementia associated behaviour that challenges, depression, anxiety, risk of falling, social isolation, emotional distress and continual 24 hour support without a break. In 2011 HCHfH carried out a needs analysis, “The needs of informal carers of those living with dementia.” Funded by the Department of Health, involving carers and people living with dementia. The study highlighted that family caregivers would like stimulating support for the person living with dementia and to be given confidence to take time out for themselves. The report indicated this support should be offered to them in their own homes. The pilot aim was to evaluate the use of assistive and ambient technologies in the home of a person with dementia and to measure the effectiveness of the different types of technology available, allowing respite for the carer. Maximising the dementia patient’s ability range within their own home environment, enabling the carer to have a more fulfilling lifestyle, while also facilitating their understanding of the process and evolution of End of Life Care of Dementia and the tools available to assist. By supporting the carers and the patient with their abilities and maintaining their independence in their own home the CATs project aided their understanding of dementia, its stages and the equipment that is available to help with everyday life. It offered both practical and emotional support through a team of highly skilled and suitably qualified staff and volunteers. This programme was particularly relevant as the service was driven by user needs and wishes, rather than a one-size-fits-all deployment mentality. Using assistive technology in the homes of those living with dementia provided an opportunity for the carer to take a break and have a more productive life e.g. access to health care, continue employment and maintain relationships. CATs showed how assistive technology can reduce the anxiety of a person living with dementia, keeping their brain working hard, allowing social interaction and involvement, whilst minimising the feelings of isolation and loneliness.

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Supporting carers during assessment and treatment unit admissions

Purpose – Currently there is no research that explores professionals’ perspectives in supporting carers of a person with an intellectual disability during their relatives admission to a specialist in-patient setting. The purpose of this paper is to report the findings from the second stage of a study that explored the experiences of family carers whose relative was admitted to a specialist National Health Service assessment and treatment unit (ATU) in Wales, UK (James, 2016).

Design/methodology/approach – Aim: to obtain the views of professionals in relation to what they consider are the barriers and facilitators to addressing some of the experiences discussed by carers. Methods: nine professionals working in intellectual disability-specific services participated in four semi-structured interviews and one focus group (n=5) and the data were analysed using a descriptive thematic analysis process.

Findings – Three major themes were developed to represent what professionals identified as a number of individual, organisational and practical facilitators and barriers to the provision of support to carers at this time. Professionals recognised the important role they have in developing relationships with carers during the admission. Key to this relationship is effective communication, collaboration, involvement and the need to be consistently open and honest.

Research limitations/implications – The small sample size could be said to be a weakness and unrepresentative and practice of other professionals. However, what professionals reported had similarities to the findings from other related research. Importantly, the findings have a practical significance in that they can be used to raise awareness and be used to inform the development of future research and practice. The sample could also be criticised for not having representation from a wider range of professionals from across the multi-disciplinary team. However, a strength of the sample is that it did have representation from three different professional disciplines with different roles and responsibilities.

Practical implications – Currently there is very limited research exploring the experiences of professionals in respect of supporting carers during the admission of a relative to a specialist in-patient setting. Professionals demonstrated an understanding of the impact that the additional needs and admission of their relative to an ATU could have on carers. Accordingly, they were able to recognise the important role that they, and other professionals, play in developing relationships as part of providing support to them during this time. Key to these relationships was effective communication and in particular the need to be consistently open and honest.

Social implications – The findings from this study illustrate a gap between the rhetoric of policy, legislation and carer strategies, and practice of valuing and respecting the role that carers. Of particular concern is that some of the relationships that carers have had with professionals have threatened rather than positively endorsed and augmented their role and identity. These engagements with professionals therefore have had a profound effect on the way in which they have understood their value as a carer and their own sense of self. Significantly, the actions and behaviours of professionals play a key role in shaping carers views of themselves and their identity.

Originality/value – Currently there is no research that has explored the views of professionals in respect of support and relationships with carers at this time. The synthesis of findings from stage one of this study with professionals’ perspectives of resulted in the identification of similarities and differences in experiences as well as facilitators and barriers to support provision. In so doing, it has given clear application of the studies findings to practice. This study therefore provides an original contribution to the understanding of this area of carer experience, from the perspectives of professionals and adds to the wider literature exploring the family carer experience.

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Partners in care: being equally different: lesbian and gay carers

The images of other people we see on a daily basis in the media invite us all to compare ourselves with, identify with, or aspire to be like whoever is shown. Mostly this activity is of little significance and hardly touches our lives, but the further we know ourselves to be different from the norm then the more challenging those differences become to us.

This article describes the Lesbian and Gay Carers’ Network. The author argues that there remains a deep need within the health and social service sector, and indeed in the residential home sector, to learn more about us as ‘gay’ people, to learn how to empathise so that they feel safe to talk about their relationships and needs, and to encourage them to request help without feeling threatened. When society achieves that then the need for ‘gay’ people to act  as a network will decrease, but society is  long way from that goal at present.

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The relative importance of factors affecting the choice of bathing devices

There is only a small evidence base to draw upon when choosing assistive devices. Evaluations such as those funded by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency,* Department of Health, United Kingdom, generate data from which evidence-based guidelines can be compiled, but it is often difficult to determine the relative importance of the various factors involved.

To explore the relative importance of the factors related to the choice of bathing devices, the Delphi technique was employed. Thirty respondents were recruited following a formal evaluation of bath cushions and agreed to participate in the study (5 users, 10 informal carers and 15 professional care assistants), with 14 completing the process.

Three rounds were conducted, in which the respondents were asked to review a list of factors to consider when choosing bathing devices, to indicate the most important, to rank them and to comment on the results.

The safety of the user was reported to be the primary concern. The factors that eased the care assistant's task were regarded as less important, but several respondents remarked on the interrelationships between the factors. The ranking of the factors may jeopardise a comprehensive consideration of all the needs assessed, especially with people who have complex requirements. The limitations of the Delphi technique in such situations are discussed.

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What constitutes health-related quality of life in dementia? Development of a conceptual framework for people with dementia and their carers

Background: The evaluation of multi-dimensional outcomes such as health-related quality of life (HRQL) is particularly relevant in dementia where the disease can compromise all areas of functioning. The nature of dementia can make self-report difficult, yet the subjective nature of HRQL makes the value of proxy reports limited. Previous work suggests that there are domains of HRQL that are unique to dementia. We aimed to develop a conceptual framework of HRQL in dementia from the perspective of people with dementia and their carers and to examine differences in the reports of the HRQL of these two groups.

Methods: We combined existing literature and new qualitative data to develop the conceptual framework and analysed qualitative data using content analysis.

Results: We identified five domains: daily activities and looking after yourself, health and well-being, cognitive functioning, social relationships and self-concept, and each was defined by specific descriptive components. There were differences between people with dementia and carers in the way they described these domains.

Conclusions: We have developed a conceptual framework of HRQL in dementia that incorporates the views of people with dementia and their carers. This provides the basis for the development of a new measure of HRQL in dementia (DEMQOL). Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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The ties that bind us: how existing relationships, health and gender shape family care in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) changes family roles and relationship dynamics and the experience of the disease is influenced by family functioning. Merleau- Ponty’s existential philosophy of the body provided the framework for this Heideggerian phenomenological inquiry. Fifteen people with COPD and 14 family members engaged in 58 semi-structured interviews either face-to-face or by telephone. This study identified a difference in the essence of the lived experiences between male and female carers, and between spousal and non-spousal carers in relation to severe COPD. Previous reciprocity framed the level of acceptance of the caring role and perception of care burden. The stories highlight the self-perceived need for women carers to be conscious micro-managers of illness. Male family members would care alongside, lending support and caring in a reactive way as specific needs or crises arose. Caring in COPD required a binding vigilance; a constant need of the carer to monitor the physical and emotional well-being of the sick person that bound them emotionally and cognitively to the task of caring. Carers were the managers of crises and families cared from a perspective of possible death. Family was perceived as the best thing in life. Health professionals should consider the influence of gender, family relationships and the impact of reciprocity when planning support for family caregivers. Further research is required to identify the similarities and differences in family caring between COPD and other chronic illnesses, and to further understand the specific needs of male carers.

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The immediate needs of relatives during hospitalisation of acutely ill older relatives

The main aim of this study was to explore the immediate needs of the relatives of acutely ill older people during hospitalisation. The research question posed was: ‘What are the immediate needs of the relatives of acutely ill older people in the hospital setting?’

A descriptive qualitative approach was utilized, with ethnographic data collection methods and thematic data analysis. Unstructured interviews were conducted with relatives of older people who were admitted for acute care. The setting for the study included two large tertiary referral hospitals located in two area health services in New South Wales, Australia.

Analysis of data revealed two themes: being informed and being there. Being informed describes the nature of the information that relatives need and why this is so important to them. Being there illustrates how relatives perceive their roles and responsibility during hospitalisation. It highlights the importance of this and the impact it has on individuals

The findings highlight the importance of appreciating the family’s experiences in relation to the care of their older family member. They point to the need for education of stakeholders to focus on relatives as well as the older patient, improved assessment incorporating a whole of family approach on admission to hospital, and finally, facilitating positive relationships between ward staff and families.

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Informal caregivers' experiences of formal support in a changing context

As the location of long-term care of elderly people moves to homes and communities, and responsibility for care shifts to families, understanding the experience of people in this situation is necessary to ensure that support is appropriate, accessible and effective. The present paper explores informal caregivers’ and recipients’ relationships with formal support, drawing on thematic and narrative analysis of 30 in-depth interviews with self-identified family caregivers conducted over a year in a mid-size city in Ontario, Canada. All but six of these caregivers had had some interaction with formal support. The semistructured interviews explored caregivers’ knowledge about, and perceptions and experiences of accessing and using formal support. Interpretation reveals how confusion and lack of knowledge about services, the inflexibility and lack of availability of services, and increasing pressure on the quantity and quality of publicly funded community-based resources combine to impact negatively on the experience of accessing and using formal support. Different ideas about the relative roles and responsibilities of seniors, informal caregivers and ‘family’ in general, and the state both shape and are shaped by policies and the situated realities of the provision of formal support. Providing care at home creates both opportunities and constraints for caregivers in their interactions with formal support. Lastly, this paper highlights the difficulties of interacting with publicly funded formal support as the costs of care are moved away from the state and onto families and individuals.

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An experimental study on the effectiveness of a mutual support group for family caregivers of a relative with dementia in mainland China

When caring for an older relative with dementia, family members experience considerable distress and burden. Literature reviews show that supportive group interventions for these caregivers have significant positive effects on improving their distress and quality of life, but not consistent and conclusive. Limited research is found in Asian populations. This study tested the effectiveness of a 12-session bi-weekly mutual support group program for Chinese family caregivers of a relative with dementia in Hong Kong, when compared with standard family support service. An experimental study with pre- and post-test, parallel groups design was conducted. A randomized sample of 78 family caregivers, 39 in each of the experimental and control groups, from one regional dementia care center participated in the study. A protocol was specifically designed by an advanced practice nurse to guide the mutual support group process and the facilitator and peer leader training, based on evidence from the literature on family support group intervention in Western countries. The results of ANOVA tests indicated that the mutual support group participants had significantly greater improvements in distress levels and quality of life than the control group. There were only mild changes in the demands for mental health services in both groups at post-test. These findings support the effectiveness of mutual support groups to offer psychosocial support to Chinese family caregivers in dementia care beyond routine community mental health care.

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Understanding the use of respite services among informal carers

Objective: To examine the use of respite services among carers of non-institutionalised individuals aged 15 and over with either profound or severe disabilities. Methods: Based on data collected from the Australian Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers in 2003, the investigation evaluated the statistical significance of a number of carer and recipient characteristics on the likelihood of the use of respite services. Further analysis assisted in identifying the support most desired by the majority of carers (88.6%, n=243690) who have never used respite. Results: The results revealed that social and cultural factors played a critical role in the receipt of respite services. Family relationships were important. Just under one-fifth of all primary carers most preferred more financial assistance in their role as caregiver. After controlling for confounding variables it was found that, compared with other forms of assistance, the desire for an improvement in the primary carers? own health was more likely among non-respite users. This may reflect the carers? preference to improve their own capacity to service the recipient rather than rely on others outside the household. Conclusions: Since the recipients under investigation typically possess core communication restrictions and highly individualised needs, it is speculated that carers perceive family members as better able to interpret and meet the sporadic and individualised care demands of recipients. Implications: Given the low usage of respite services among primary informal carers, policy makers and health organisations need to dispel the ?one size fits all? approach to support services for households.

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A qualitative study of the experiences of long-term care for residents with dementia, their relatives and staff

Most older people living in 24-hour care settings have dementia. We employed qualitative interviews to explore positive and negative aspects of the experience of family carers, staff and people with dementia living in 10 homes in London and West Essex, selected to cover the full range of 24-hour long-term care settings. The interview used open semi-structured questions. We interviewed 21 residents, 17 relatives and 30 staff and five main themes were identified: Privacy and choice; relationships (abuse and vulnerability); activities; physical environment; and expectations of a care environment by carers, should they one day live in long-term care themselves. Despite being no longer responsible for the day-to-day care of the residents there was a continuing level of psychological distress among some relatives. We found that residents with a range of severity of dementia were able to participate. The most striking theme from their interviews was the need for choice. All groups talked about improving lines of communication amongst residents, relatives and staff and about the importance of activities. We recommend that homes should set up formal structures for engaging with user and carer views at all levels. This would mean relatives on the board, and regular meetings for residents, relatives, advocates and staff. This should lead to cultural changes where residents are perceived as individuals and care is provided in a more flexible way. There should be a programme of activities in each 24-hour care setting, which all care staff are given time to implement. These activities need to be tailored to the individual resident rather than the whole group.

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The provision of emotional labour by health care assistants caring for dying cancer patients in the community: A qualitative study into the experiences of health care assistants and bereaved family carers

Background: While previous research has suggested that health care assistants supporting palliative care work in the community regard the provision of emotional labour as a key aspect of their role, little research has explored the experiences of family carers who are the recipients of such support.

Objective: To explore the emotional labour undertaken by health care assistants working in community palliative care from the perspectives of both health care assistants and bereaved family carers.

Design: We conducted a qualitative interview study in 2011–2012 with bereaved family carers of cancer patients who had received the services of health care assistants in the community, and health care assistants who provided community palliative care services. Transcripts were coded and analysed for emergent themes using a constant comparative technique.

Settings: Three different research sites in the United Kingdom, all providing community palliative care.

Participants and methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 33 bereaved family carers and eight health care assistants.

Results: Health care assistants view one of their key roles as providing emotional support to patients and their family carers, and family carers recognise and value this emotional support. Emotional support by health care assistants was demonstrated in three main ways: the relationships which health care assistants developed and maintained on the professional–personal boundary; the ability of health care assistants to negotiate clinical/domestic boundaries in the home; the ways in which health care assistants and family carers worked together to enable the patient to die at home.

Conclusion: Through their emotional labour, health care assistants perform an important role in community palliative care which is greatly valued by family carers. While recent reports have highlighted potential dangers in the ambiguity of their role, any attempts to clarify the ‘boundaries’ of the health care assistant role should acknowledge the advantages health care assistants can bring in bridging potential gaps between healthcare professionals and family carers.

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Networks of informal caring: a mixed-methods approach

Care for older people is a complex phenomenon, and is an area of pressing policy concern. Bringing together literature on care from social gerontology and economics, we report the findings of a mixed-methods project exploring networks of informal caring. Using quantitative data from the British Household Panel Survey (official survey of British households), together with qualitative interviews with older people and informal carers, we describe differences in formal care networks, and the factors and decision-making processes that have contributed to the formation of the networks. A network approach to care permits both quantitative and qualitative study, and the approach can be used to explore many important questions.

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There's no apprenticeship for Alzheimer's : the caring relationship when an older person experiencing dementia falls

Older people experiencing dementia are twice as likely to fall with consequences of serious injury, reduction in everyday activity, admission to long-term care and mortality. Carers of people with dementia are themselves at greater risk of physical and mental ill health, which increases as the dementia progresses. Unsurprisingly, carer burden also increases when a care-recipient falls. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of falling of community-living older people with dementia and their carers. A qualitative approach was taken using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Nine older people with predominantly Alzheimer's disease and their ten carers were recruited from a large mental health National Health Service trust and participated in one-to-one and joint in-depth interviews. Three dyads participated in repeat interviews. Three focus groups were also carried out, with nine older people experiencing memory problems and 12 carers from a local Alzheimer's Society branch. The antecedents, falls events and consequences of falls were discussed. This paper reports specifically on the impact of falls on the caring relationship. Three themes emerged: ‘learning as you go’, ‘we're always together’, ‘nobody was interested’. The findings demonstrate how falling accentuates the impact of dementia on the dyad. Spouse-carers' discussion of their own falls emphasise the need for joint assessment of health and wellbeing to reduce carer burden and preserve the couplehood of the dyad.

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Working across the interface of formal and informal care of older people

This chapter explores working partnerships with carers of older people and particularly carers in full or part-time employment who may have many stresses and conflicting demands in their lives. The legal and social context of caring is traced from The NHS and Community Care Act (DH, 1990) and subsequent care in the community initiatives. Another milestone was The National Strategy for Carers (DH, 1999a), though there has only recently been a government commitment to partnership with carers against very patchy previous provision. Six reasons are advanced for the relative powerlessness of carers compared to service providers. There are 5.2m carers in England and Wales and 1m of these providing over 50 hours of care weekly. There is a brief outline of the caring experience and three individual case studies. The National Strategy for Carers identified four rights for carers in maintaining their own health and lifestyles and how partnerships with service providers might operate, in addition to support services. [...]

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A survey exploring the provision of carers' support in medium and high secure services in England and Wales

Although the focus on carers has increased in general psychiatry, the same cannot be said for forensic psychiatry. This is despite the fact that carers of mentally disordered offenders may experience additional pressures including in some cases, being the victim of the patients' crime. A survey of medium and high secure units in England and Wales was conducted to investigate support provided to carers of mentally disordered offenders. Most units provided some form of support, but there was variation in the types and amount of support provided. Services identified benefits of providing carer support that included improving relationships and communication between staff and carers and improving patient and carer well-being. Difficulties providing support included logistical problems such as a lack of resources and stakeholder issues such as carers' previous negative experiences with mental health services. Recommendations are offered for units hoping to improve the service they provide to carers of mentally disordered offenders.

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Facilitating support groups for siblings of children with neurodevelopmental disorders using audio-conferencing: a longitudinal feasibility study

Background: Siblings of children with chronic illness and disabilities are at increased risk of negative psychological effects. Support groups enable them to access psycho-education and social support. Barriers to this can include the distance they have to travel to meet face-to-face. Audio-conferencing, whereby three or more people can connect by telephone in different locations, is an efficient means of groups meeting and warrants exploration in this healthcare context. This study explored the feasibility of audio-conferencing as a method of facilitating sibling support groups

Methods: A longitudinal design was adopted. Participants were six siblings (aged eight to thirteen years) and parents of children with complex neurodevelopmental disorders attending the Centre for Interventional Paediatric Psychopharmacology (CIPP). Four of the eight one-hour weekly sessions were held face-to-face and the other four using audio-conferencing. Pre- and post-intervention questionnaires and interviews were completed and three to six month follow-up interviews were carried out. The sessions were audio-recorded, transcribed and thematic analysis was undertaken.

Results: Audio-conferencing as a form of telemedicine was acceptable to all six participants and was effective in facilitating sibling support groups. Audio-conferencing can overcome geographical barriers to children being able to receive group therapeutic healthcare interventions such as social support and psycho-education. Psychopathology ratings increased post-intervention in some participants. Siblings reported that communication between siblings and their family members increased and siblings’ social network widened.

Conclusions: Audio-conferencing is an acceptable, feasible and effective method of facilitating sibling support groups. Siblings’ clear accounts of neuropsychiatric symptoms render them reliable informants. Systematic assessment of siblings’ needs and strengthened links between Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, school counsellors and young carers groups are warranted.

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Psychological Symptoms, Illness-Related Concerns and Characteristics of Relatives of Turkish Patients with Cancer

Being the relative of a patient with cancer is often very stressful, and there is a need for information, support, and help for carers. It is also important for the relative to know that the patient receives care of a good quality. This research investigated the relationships between sociodemographic characteristics, illness related concerns and psychological symptom scores of relatives of the patients with cancer in an inpatient oncology clinic of the GATA. A Questionnaire and Symptom Distress Check List (SCL-90-R) was administered to 106 relatives of in-patients and statistically significant relationships were found between the following characteristics and psychological symptom scores: sex, education level, duration of stay in hospital, having emotional problems and having financial problems. It was established that most problems of relatives were psychological and financial (p<0.05). Cancer is still a great source of fear and it is evident that offering psychosocial support at a professional level in addition to medical treatment will yield more favorable results for both patients and their relatives.

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How caring for a parent affects the psychosocial development of the young

Aim To investigate the impact of caring for a parent on the psychosocial development of the young person. Methods A total of 20 young carers and 20 non-caregiving peers, aged 11-18 years, were compared on self-report measures of life satisfaction, self-esteem, and behavioural strengths and difficulties. Parental reports on their child's behaviour were obtained and measured. Results Young carers reported lower life satisfaction and self-esteem compared with non-caregiving peers, and their parents rated them as having more difficulties with peer relationships and more emotional symptoms. There was no evidence of more pro-social behaviour on the part of young carers. Conclusions Caregiving has a negative effect on young people overall; improved support of and more research around young carers are required.

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'Your friends don't understand': invisibility and unmet need in the lives of 'young carers'

This paper is based on a study of the experiences of people identified as 'young carers', commissioned by the National Assembly for Wales as part of a wider review of carers' needs and services. Following a brief review of some of the previous research in this area, the paper reports key findings of the research, using the words of children and young people as much as possible. It then goes on to explore some of the wider implications of this and other research for the identification and support of 'young carers' and their families, and for the understanding of the needs and wishes of children and young people so defined. The paper concludes with an alternative definition of a 'young carer' and with some recommendations for professional practice, suggesting that the role of social work is crucial in this area of service.

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Perceived caring needs in patient-partner dyads affected by heart failure: A qualitative study.

Aims and objectives To explore the perceived caring needs in patient-partner dyads affected by heart failure to develop an understanding of potential areas of support. Background Being affected by heart failure has a great impact on both the patient and the partner but until now contemporary care has remained patient focused. Design A qualitative study design was used. Methods Eight focus group interviews were performed, which included nineteen patients diagnosed with heart failure and their cohabiting partner. Patients were aged between 55-89 years and partners' ages ranged from 48-87 years. Data were analysed using qualitative content analyses. Results The dyads perceived that caring needs could be summarised in two themes ‘Dyads perceive a need for continuous guidance through the different phases of the illness trajectory’ and ‘Dyads perceive a need to share burden and support with each other and others’. The dyads described a need to learn more about heart failure to be able to manage everyday life. Regular outpatient clinic visits and access to telephone support were vital, and having someone who cared about the well-being of the partners was perceived as comforting. Both the patient and the partner need to be present at the clinic visits. Receiving the same information and being able to ask questions reduce insecurity. Meeting others in the same situation and sharing the burden in group sessions were proposed as an opportunity to support each other and others. Conclusions There is a need to improve education and support for patient–partner dyads affected by heart failure. Relevance to clinical practice The result shows the importance to provide continuous healthcare contacts throughout the illness trajectory. Furthermore, partners should be included at follow-up, and support groups should be organised so that dyads can meet and support each other.

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Understanding the caring capacity of informal networks of frail seniors: a case for care networks

Population ageing and constraints on public sector spending for older people with long-term health problems have led policy makers to turn to the social networks of older people, or the ‘informal sector’, as a source of long-term care. An important question arising from this policy shift is whether these social networks have the resources to sustain the high levels of care that can be required by older people with chronic health problems. In the face of both dire warnings about the imminent demise of the informal sector, and concurrent expectations that it will be the pillar of community long-term care, it is timely to undertake a critical analysis of the caring capacity of older people's social networks. In this paper we argue that the best way to understand the caring capacity of informal networks of frail older people is to establish their membership and caring capacity. It is useful to make conceptual distinctions between ‘social’, ‘support’, and ‘care-giving’ networks. We argue that transitions of networks from social through support to care roles are likely to show systematic patterns, and that at each transition the networks tend to contract as the more narrowly defined functions prevail. A focus on ‘care networks’, rather than the more usual ‘care dyads’, will move forward our understanding of the caring capacity of the informal sector, and also our ability to forge sound social and health policies to support those who provide care.

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Communication skills: forming and maintaining relationships with service users, carers, professionals and others

This resource looks at the benefits that are gained from the relationships that are built within social work. Using the voices of service users, carers and workers you will hear accounts of how the relationships that were created helped them to deal with the difficulties they faced.

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Caregiver Experience During Advanced Chronic Illness and Last Year of Life

Objectives To compare the prevalence and predictors of caregiver esteem and burden during two different stages of care recipients' illnesses-advanced chronic illness and the last year of life. Design Longitudinal, observational cohort study. Setting Community sample recruited from outpatient clinics at Duke University and Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. Participants Individuals with advanced cancer, congestive heart failure, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and their primary caregiver, retrospectively coded as chronic-illness (n = 62) or end-of-life (EOL; n = 62) care recipient-caregiver dyads. Measurements Caregiver experience was measured monthly using the Caregiver Reaction Assessment, which includes caregiver esteem and four domains of burden: schedule, health, family, and finances. Results During chronic illness and at the end of life, high caregiver esteem was almost universal (95%); more than 25% of the sample reported health, family, and financial burden. Schedule burden was the most prevalent form of burden; EOL caregivers (58%) experienced it more frequently than chronic-illness caregivers (32%). Caregiver esteem and all dimensions of burden were relatively stable over 1 year. Few factors were associated with burden. Conclusion Caregiver experience is relatively stable over 1 year and similar in caregivers of individuals in the last year of life and those earlier in the course of chronic illness. Schedule burden stands out as most prevalent and variable among dimensions of experience. Because prevalence of burden is not specific to stage of illness and is relatively stable over time, multidisciplinary healthcare teams should assess caregiver burden and refer burdened caregivers to supportive resources early in the course of chronic illness.

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A long-term support group for people with dementia

This article reports the evaluation of a 24-week support group for people with recently diagnosed dementia.  The group was evaluated in four ways: transcript analysis of group sessions, interviews with participants and carers about the group at 8 and 20 weeks from the start of the group, rating of the importance of eight therapeutic factors by participants, carers and group leaders, mood scales completed by participants and their carers before the group and at 8 and 20 weeks after it started.  The evaluation suggests that as the group progressed, participants became more positive about using strategies for coping, group cohesion increased, they started to help each other solve problems, and they talked more about their social relationships and concern about the effect of their illness on their families.

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A support group for caregivers of patients with frontotemporal dementia

Several recent articles have pointed out that caregivers of patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) need counselling and support. To date, however, no support groups have been provided other than those available to caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). At our outpatient unit for cognitive disorders we initiated a specific support group for caregivers of patients with FTD. This pilot project had four objectives: 1) to provide information, advice and support to caregivers, 2) to learn more about the specific problems and needs of family carers of patients with FTD and to explore the differences to caregiver burden in AD, 3) to encourage mutual support and development of coping strategies, 4) to evaluate the intervention using a questionnaire completed by the caregiver. Eight spouse caregivers of patients diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) participated in special support groups. Seven weekly sessions of 90 minutes' duration were held. To evaluate the program participants were asked to complete a questionnaire about their satisfaction with the support group immediately after the final session. Six months after the intervention they received a questionnaire by mail gathering information on coping efficacy. It became obvious that many problems faced by caregivers of patients with FTD are different from those encountered in AD. During group meetings participants were encouraged to express their own needs and to deal with painful emotions, including aggression, anger, mourning and guilt. Caregivers felt relieved by sharing their problems with others. They were able to learn from each other and to share coping strategies. The group also helped to establish new social relations contacts and even friendships. The participants rated the program as useful and said that benefits were sustained even six months after termination. We conclude from these initial observations that caregiver support groups are a useful component in the management of patients with FTD. Such groups should be tailored to the specific problems and needs of these caregivers. To maintain benefits, self-help groups are recommended even in the absence of professional input.

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Call us carers: limitations and risks in campaigning for recognition and exclusivity

This article comments on the current campaign by carers’ organizations for the title of carer to be used exclusively in connection with unpaid caring. This campaign is analysed in the context of recent developments in policies on unpaid caring and broader debates concerning recognition campaigns, identity and solidarity with others. It is argued that success for carers in terms of securing better benefits and services has been partial and limited and that there are problems in linking demands for recognition with demands for improved material conditions. It is also argued that this particular campaign is likely to prove counterproductive, not only for carers but also for others in caring relationships, including paid carers and people in need of support.

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Transitions at the end of life for older adults: patient, carer and professional perspectives : a mixed-methods study

Background: The end of life may be a time of high service utilisation for older adults. Transitions between care settings occur frequently, but may produce little improvement in symptom control or quality of life for patients. Ensuring that patients experience co-ordinated care, and moves occur because of individual needs rather than system imperatives, is crucial to patients’ well-being and to containing health-care costs.

Objective: The aim of this study was to understand the experiences, influences and consequences of transitions between settings for older adults at the end of life. Three conditions were the focus of study, chosen to represent differing disease trajectories.

Setting: England.

Participants: Thirty patients aged over 75 years, in their last year of life, diagnosed with heart failure, lung cancer and stroke; 118 caregivers of decedents aged 66–98 years, who had died with heart failure, lung cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or selected other cancers; and 43 providers and commissioners of services in primary care, hospital, hospice, social care and ambulance services.

Design and methods: This was a mixed-methods study, composed of four parts: (1) in-depth interviews with older adults; (2) qualitative interviews and structured questionnaire with bereaved carers of older adult decedents; (3) telephone interviews with care commissioners and providers using case scenarios derived from the interviews with carers; and (4) analysis of linked Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) and mortality data relating to hospital admissions for heart failure and lung cancer in England 2001–10.

Results: Transitions between care settings in the last year of life were a common component of end-of-life care across all the data sets that made up this study, and many moves were made shortly before death. Patients’ and carers’ experiences of transitions were of a disjointed system in which organisational processes were prioritised over individual needs. In many cases, the family carer was the co-ordinator and provider of care at home, excluded from participation in institutional care but lacking the information and support to extend their role with confidence. The general practitioner (GP) was a valued, central figure in end-of-life care across settings, though other disciplines were critical of GPs’ expertise and adherence to guidelines. Out-of-hours services and care homes were identified by many as contributors to unnecessary transitions. Good relationships and communication between professionals in different settings and sectors was recognised by families as one of the most important influences on transitions but this was rarely acknowledged by staff.

Conclusions: Development of a shared understanding of professional and carer roles in end-of-life transitions may be one of the most effective ways of improving patients’ experiences. Patients and carers manage many aspects of end-of-life care for themselves. Identifying ways to extend their skills and strengthen their voices, particularly in hospital settings, would be welcomed and may reduce unnecessary end-of-life transitions. Why the experiences of carers appear to have changed little, despite the implementation of a range of relevant policies, is an important question that has not been answered. Recommendations for future research include the relationship between policy interventions and the experiences of end-of-life carers; identification of ways to harmonise understanding of the carers’ role and strengthen their voice, particularly in hospital settings; identification of ways to reduce the influence of interprofessional tensions in end-of-life care; and development of interventions to enhance patients’ experiences across transitions.

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Family caregivers' experiences of relinquishing the care of a person with dementia to a nursing home: insights from a meta-ethnographic study

Many people with dementia are cared for in their homes by family caregivers. As the dementia progresses, admission of the family member to a nursing home becomes inevitable. The aim of this meta-ethnographic study was to describe caregivers’ experiences of relinquishing the care of a family member with dementia to a nursing home. A systematic literature search of PubMed, Cinahl and PsychInfo, between the years 1992 and 2012, was performed, and 10 qualitative articles, based on 180 family caregivers’ experiences, were included. The family caregivers’ described their experiences as a process that went from being responsible for the decision, through living with the decision, adjusting to a new caring role and having changed relationships. They felt unprepared and lonely with these changes. They experienced loss, guilt and shame, but also feelings of relief. Their roles in the nursing home environment were to make sure that the individual needs of the person with dementia were respected and to monitor the quality of care. They wished to maintain their relationship with the person with dementia and to establish meaningful relationships with caring staff. The process of relinquishing care is similar to a crisis process, which starts with a turning point, followed by a coping face and finally the outcome of the process. The adaption to the new situation can be facilitated if the family caregivers are recognised as partners in the care of the person with dementia. The family caregivers’ unique knowledge of their relatives’ previous life story should be acknowledged in both care planning and daily care. Welcoming family caregivers to regular meetings with staff can contribute to increase the feeling of partnership. Offering staff clinical supervision could be one way of preparing them to deal with the emotional strain reported by family caregivers.

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Family caregiving for people with Alzheimer's disease: results of the NYU spouse caregiver intervention study

This article examines the impact caring for a spouse with Alzheimer's disease has on the caregiver. The author, arguing family caregivers often suffer from fatigue, depression, social isolation, anxiety, and physical illness as a result of the stress involved, maintains outside support for caregivers is crucial for their well-being and can benefit the patient.

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His helping hands - adult daughter's perceptions' of fathers with caregiving responsibility

Women's position as informal carers has been taken for granted in social policy and social professions, while relatively few discussions have elaborated on caring as a later life activity for men and the impact on family care. This study explores the processes connected to informal caregiving in later life through the position of adult daughters of older fathers engaged with long-term caregiving responsibilities for a partner. A sample of eight daughters, with fathers having primary caregiving responsibility for their ill partners was recruited and in-depth interviews were carried out and analysed according to qualitative procedures. The daughters' descriptions of their relationships with their fathers show that being an older man who engages in caring can have a positive outcome on relations. Even if some of the daughters have doubts about their fathers “masculine authenticity”, all of them appear to cherish “his helping hands” as a carer and closer more intimate relationships with their fathers. Caring for an old and frail spouse may potentially present alternative ways of being a man beyond traditional ‘male activities’ and that caring might also sometimes involve a re-construction of gender identities. It is suggested that social work professionals may use a gendered understanding to assess and work strategically with daughters and other family members who support caring fathers.

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The Experiences of Children Living with and Caring for Parents with Mental Illness

This research provides a three-way perspective on the experiences & needs of children who are living with & caring for parents with severe & enduring mental illness. The views of children, parents & key workers were sought in order to provide deeper insight into the needs of families & the nature of interfamilial relationships, as well as the relationships between service users & providers. Child protection & medical research has long proposed a link between parental mental illness & the risk to children of abuse, neglect & developmental delay. The inevitability of risk associations is challenged by the research described here & outcomes for children of caring for parents with mental illness are discussed not simply in terms of risk to children but more broadly in respect of, for example, positive parent-child relationships. References. [Copyright 2006 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.]

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Managing the body work of home care

Body work is a key element of home healthcare. Recent restructuring of health and social care services means the home is increasingly a key site of long-term care. While there is a growing literature on the social dynamics between care recipients and their family caregivers, less is known about the formal work dynamic between paid care workers and care recipients and family caregivers. Drawing on interview data from an Ontario-based study of long-term home care, we explore how body work is negotiated through the embodied practices of care in the home and through care relationships associated with home care. In particular we focus on how the practices of intimate body care (such as bathing, toileting, and catheter management) show the diverse dynamics of care work through which caregivers, care recipients and homespace are constituted. We argue that the practices of care are shaped by a complex interweaving of regulatory mechanisms associated with home care along with the physical and affective dimensions of intimate body work. In turn this suggests the need for new ways of understanding body work in contemporary landscapes of care.

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'Ageing-in-place': Frontline experiences of intergenerational family carers of people with dementia

The success of 'ageing-in-place' aged care policy in Australia relies heavily on the unpaid work of informal carers. While there is a wealth of research regarding informal carers more generally, we know relatively little about the experiences of the 'sandwich generation': Adult children (mainly daughters) who provide care for a parent while often juggling paid work and the care of their own children or grandchildren. In this paper I undertake a critical analysis of 'ageing-in-place' policy through the lens of 'sandwich generation' carers of people with dementia. Drawing from a composite case study, I argue that these carers are located at the interstices of powerful discourses such as 'individualisation' and 'care' and explore how the everyday practice of care is negotiated within these spaces. Inhabiting these spaces can be costly for carers and we need to consider how policies can better support intergenerational carers if 'ageing-in-place' is to be sustainable.

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Carers included

The Triangle of Care: Best Practice Guide on Acute Mental Health Care, which promotes the essential three-way relationship between professionals, service users, their carers and families is briefly discussed. The approach was developed by carers and staff who wanted to improve carer engagement in acute inpatient and home treatment services. It emphasises the need for better local strategic involvement of carers and families in the care, planning, and treatment of people experiencing mental ill health and calls for better partnership working between service users, their carers and organisations in order to achieve the best possible outcomes. Adopting the Triangle of Care will ensure the views of carers are heard. The guide offers key principles, resources and examples of best practice to influence services and other people working with carers to be more effective in involving them within acute care and recognises that this will greatly benefit staff, service users and carers themselves.

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Illness careers and continuity of care in mental health services: a qualitative study of service users and carers

Continuity of care is considered by patients and clinicians as an essential feature of good quality care in long-term disorders, yet there is general agreement that it is a complex concept and the lack of clarity in its conceptualisation and operationalisation has been linked to a deficit of user involvement. In this paper we utilise the concept of the ‘patient career’ to frame patient accounts of their experiences of the mental health care system. We aimed to capture the experiences and views of users and carers focusing on the meanings associated with particular (dis)continuities and transitional episodes that occurred over their illness career. As part of a large longitudinal study of continuity of care in mental health a sub-sample of 31 users was selected together with 14 of their carers. Qualitative interviews framed around the service user's illness career explored general experiences of relationship with services, care, continuity and transition from both user and carer perspectives. Five key themes emerged: relational (dis)continuity; depersonalised transitions; invisibility and crisis; communicative gaps and social vulnerability. One of the important findings was the fragility of continuity and its relationship to levels of satisfaction. Supportive, long-term relationships could be quickly undermined by a range of factors and satisfaction levels were often closely related to moments of transition where these relationships were vulnerable. Examples of continuity and well managed transitions highlighted the importance of professionals personalising transitions and situating them in the context of the daily life of service users. Further research is required to identify how best to negotiate these key points of transition in the future.

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Caring for a person with dementia: Exploring relationships between perceived burden, depression, coping and well‐being

This study was concerned with identifying the impact of variables such as gender, length of time caring, coping style, depression and perception of caregiving burden on the physical and psychological well‐being of carers of persons with dementia. Forty‐two carers aged between 21 and 88years from Blue Care's Homecare Dementia Service and Cairns Aged Care Health Service participated in the study. A cross‐sectional survey research design was used, with participants providing information on the Satisfaction with Life Scale, the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, the COPE, Short Form (SF)‐12 and the Zarit Caregiver Burden Scale. Perceived burden accounted for 41.7% of the variance in satisfaction with life as a subjective measure of well‐being. There were no significant differences between male and female carers. Satisfaction with life was not found to decrease with length of time caring for the dementia sufferer. There were no significant findings in regard to coping style or physical health of carers. The well-being of carers can be enhanced through strategies which lead to a reduced perception of burden, with respite services providing tangible relief from burden.

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A dimensional analysis of caregiver burden among spouses and adult children

Purpose of the study: Caregiver burden is a multidimensional construct, addressing tension and anxiety (stress burden), changes in dyadic relationships (relationship burden), and time infringements (objective burden) resulting from caregiving. The study aims were to assess (a) whether the dimensions of burden were the same for caregiving spouses and adult children, (b) the role of assisting with problem behaviors (PBs) and activities of daily living (ADLs) on each dimension of burden, and (c) the role of each dimension of burden on self-rated health and intention to institutionalize the care receiver. Design and Methods: This study included 280 spouse/partner and 243 adult child caregivers of persons with chronic illnesses. Results: Analysis using 2-group structural equation modeling showed that the factor structure of burden was equivalent for spouses and adult children. For both groups, assisting with ADLs was directly related with objective burden, whereas PBs were directly related to all dimensions of burden. For both groups, stress burden was the only predictor of self-rated health, whereas PBs were significantly linked with intention to institutionalize. However, stress burden among spouses and relationship burden among adult children were significantly linked with intention to institutionalize. Implications: We discuss the research and practice implications of the differing needs of spouses and adult children.

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Compulsive hoarding: a qualitative investigation of partner and carer perspectives

Objective: This study explores the experiences of family members caring for a person who compulsively hoards.

Design: Ten participants, all ‘key carers’ for a hoarding family member, were interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule designed for the purpose of the study.

Methods: Transcribed interviews were analysed using interpretive phenomenological analysis.

Results: Five superordinate, discrete but interconnecting themes were identified: ‘loss of normal family life’; ‘the need for understanding’; ‘coping with the situation’; ‘impact on relationships’; and ‘marginalization’. Carers' accommodation of hoarding behaviours and role isolation were examined in drawing connections between themes. Outlying themes suggesting factors protective of relationships and facilitating coping were also identified.

Conclusion: Carers struggled to cope with both the environmental and interpersonal impacts of the hoarding. Lacking both formal and informal networks of support, carers are in need of information and treatment options for themselves and their families. Possible avenues for future clinical and theoretical research are suggested.

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Towards a more liveable life for close relatives of individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder

The life of close relatives of persons with bipolar disorder (BD) is associated with emotional distress, depression, and a high level of use of mental health care. Illness-related changes of their life situation endanger relationships, social life, finances, and occupational functioning. Understanding of facilitating conditions for close relatives is still a neglected research area. The aim of the present study thus was to explore what makes the life of close relatives of persons with BD more liveable. A lifeworld phenomenological approach was used. The findings reveal that keeping distance, having stability in everyday life, and strengthening equality through transparent communication are conditions that enable close relatives to influence the unpredictable and its consequences and thus make life more liveable. This implies contributions from close relatives, the person with BD, and the caring services. We propose that health-care support should not be divided in support for the patient and/or the close relatives but instead be designed as support for the ‘patient and close relatives’ as a unit. Professional caregivers need to take responsibility for creating intersubjective settings for the person with BD and their close relatives to share their needs and make joint plans for how to influence the illness-related life issues.

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The pressures felt by informal carers of people with dementia

Caring for people with dementia is complex and demanding, and informal carers carry out much of the care. In this article, Madeline Armstrong outlines the different types of dementia and discusses the psychological approaches to care. Informal carers experience many stressors when caring for people with dementia and Admiral nurses play an important role in supporting carers.

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Part 1: Home-based family caregiving at the end of life: a comprehensive review of published quantitative research (1998-2008)

The changing context of palliative care over the last decade highlights the importance of recent research on home-based family caregiving at the end of life. This article reports on a comprehensive review of quantitative research (1998—2008) in this area, utilizing a systematic approach targeting studies on family caregivers, home settings, and an identified palliative phase of care (n = 129). Methodological challenges were identified, including: small, non-random, convenience samples; reliance on descriptive and bivariate analyses; and a dearth of longitudinal research. Robust evidence regarding causal relationships between predictor variables and carer outcomes is lacking. Findings suggest the need for knowledge regarding: family caregiving for patients with non-malignant terminal conditions; whether needs and outcomes differ between family caregivers at the end of life and comparison groups; and caregiver outcomes in bereavement. Clear definitions of ‘family caregiving’, ‘end of life’, and ‘needs’ are required as well as greater application and testing of theoretical and conceptual explanations.

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Kinkeeping and Caregiving: Contributions of Older People in Immigrant Families

Older people can be important members of immigrant households because they do housework and give emotional support to younger family members. Caregiving is a means of symbolic kin-keeping, reinforcing the meaning of family relationships through native foods, language, and religion. Caring for grown children and their families is demanding business for older people, who are sometimes called on to take on new and unanticipated roles. Because older people can expect to become the recipients of family care, they have a big stake in the economic success of their offspring and strength of family ties. 

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Working together-apart: Exploring the relationships between formal and informal care networks for people dying at home

Introduction: Informal caring networks contribute significantly to end-of-life (EOL) care in the community. However, to ensure that these networks are sustainable, and unpaid carers are not exploited, primary carers need permission and practical assistance to gather networks together and negotiate the help they need. Our aim in this study was to develop an understanding of how formal and informal carers work together when care is being provided in a dying person's home. We were particularly interested in formal providers’ perceptions and knowledge of informal networks of care and in identifying barriers to the networks working together.

Methods: Qualitative methods, informed by an interpretive approach, were used. In February-July 2012, 10 focus groups were conducted in urban, regional, and rural Australia comprising 88 participants.

Findings: Our findings show that formal providers are aware, and supportive, of the vital role informal networks play in the care of the dying at home. A number of barriers to formal and informal networks working together more effectively were identified. In particular, we found that the Australian policy of health-promoting palliative is not substantially translating to practice.

Conclusion: Combinations of formal and informal caring networks are essential to support people and their primary carers. Formal service providers do little to establish, support, or maintain the informal networks although there is much goodwill and scope for them to do so. Further re-orientation towards a health-promoting palliative care and community capacity building approach is suggested.

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Developing a primary care-based stroke service: a review of the qualitative literature

The aim of this review was to identify the most frequently encountered longer-term problems experienced by stroke patients and their informal carers. Systematically identified qualitative studies describing self-reported experiences of stroke-related long-term problems were independently reviewed and the findings analysed using a clustering technique. Twenty-three qualitative studies, which included approximately 500 patients and 180 carers, were identified by the search methods. Most of the studies were cross-sectional, United Kingdom-based, and employed semi-structured individual interviews. The review identified 203 problem areas, which were categorised into five domains: hospital experience; transfer of care; communication; services; and social and emotional consequences. The largest domain was the social and emotional consequences of stroke, representing 39% of all problem areas. These included problems relating to mood, social changes, attitudes to recovery, and changes in self-perception and relationships. Service deficiencies, encompassing both health and social care, was the second largest domain, accounting for 29% of the problem areas. The review provides a basis for a user-focused, longer-term stroke service. The need for responses that go beyond the traditional physical rehabilitation approach is evident, and research to identify broader treatment strategies is now required.

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Distressed fathers and their children: A review of the literature

Background: Many men diagnosed with mental health problems are also fathers. This literature review addresses issues relating to both the fathering role taken on by men who have mental health problems as well as the impact of their mental health on their children. Material: An integrative review of the literature was conducted from studies originating in four countries, resulting in an analysis of 31 journal articles. Discussion and conclusions: Most of the quantitative literature focuses on the many risks and negative outcomes for children. However, qualitative studies suggest positive outcomes such as strong parent-child relationships, which demand further attention both in research and in practice. [Reprinted by permission of Sage Publications Ltd., copyright holder.]

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Focus group study of service user and carer experience of an integrated care pathway

Integrated care pathways (ICPs) are prearranged processes of care that are being increasingly used to deliver mental health services. The literature to date reveals relatively little about service user and carer experience in relation to their use. This study was completed as part of case study research and focused on the experiences of service users and carers gathered using focus groups, as a unit of analysis. The findings revealed a number of contrasts including the perspective that people did not feel that their care was individualized to them, although among them they had different perceptions of the care process. Conclusions suggest that mental health ICPs need to reflect the relationships between stakeholders, variability of illness and individual ways of living if they are to provide a framework for managing care which is responsive to the needs of people using mental health services.

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Carer assessment : continuing tensions and dilemmas for social care practice

Since the early 1990s, UK social care policy has committed to supporting carers. Legislation (England and Wales) over this time period has recognised the importance of separate carer assessments that take into account an individual's ability and willingness to care. This paper considers carer assessment from the perspective of social care practitioners. It reports on qualitative data from a carer research programme that spans over 20 years (1993 to present) and includes 383 in-depth interviews with social care practitioners across England and Wales. Offering unique longitudinal insights, we identify some persistent tensions associated with the translation of UK carer assessment policy into social care practice. We explore practitioners' long-standing ambivalence towards carer assessment and their reluctance to evidence carer need via a separate assessment process. Deficits relating to the conduct of carer assessment are identified. For example, the reliance on structured, problem-focused assessment protocols that restrict discussions to the personal care aspects of caring and fail to capture the complex, diverse lives that carers lead. Carer assessments do not reflect the reciprocal nature of many caring relationships, as a one-way direction of care is assumed. They do not take into account the broader support network of individuals who may be involved in helping someone with complex care needs. Carer willingness to care continues to be taken for granted and planning for the future is a significant gap in carer assessment practice. The proposed changes to the social care systems across England and Wales provide a timely opportunity to review the process and conduct of carer assessment. Policy guidance needs to clarify the links between service user and carer assessments and the way these align within broader assessment and care management frameworks. Assessment tools that encourage a narrative approach to carer assessment and capture the affective aspects of care-giving could benefit future practice.

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Voices of care for adults with disabilities and/or mental health issues in Western Canada: what do families and agencies need from each other?

Our purpose in this paper is to report on the frustrations and unmet needs of paid, formal caregivers and unpaid, family caregivers who together provide care to adults with disabilities and/or mental health issues. We conducted eight focus group interviews between November 2010 and June 2011 in two large, urban centres and one smaller centre in Western Canada. Four of our focus groups were with family members including adults with disabilities and/or mental health issues, their parents and their siblings, and four were with representatives from agencies providing support and services to adults with disabilities and/or mental health issues and their families. Data were collected from 23 family members and 24 agency representatives who responded to questions about successes and struggles in meeting, and collaborating to meet, care needs of adults with disabilities and/or mental health issues. Each focus group session was digitally recorded and transcribed; field notes were also taken and we thematically analysed data according to family versus agency perspectives of their successes and barriers in care provision and care collaboration. We found that family members desire greater and more effective support in enriching the lives of adults with disabilities and/or mental health issues and in preparing for age-related changes. Agency representatives are keenly aware of the needs and challenges faced by families, yet grapple with being effective collaborators with families of widely varying priorities and styles of care and collaboration.

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The impact of caring for adults with intellectual disability on the quality of life of parents

Background Because of an increase in life expectancy and de-institutionalisation, many adults with intellectual disability (ID) live with and are cared for by their parents throughout their adult lives. Because of caring demands, the quality of life (QOL) of parents may be affected. The study explored the impact of caring for an adult with ID on the QOL of parents. Methods Participants were 12 parents who were the full-time carers of an adult with ID. Participants were interviewed about the effect of caring on their QOL. Interviews were analysed thematically. Results Caring had a positive impact on QOL by enabling participants to develop relationships and receive support, participate in leisure activities, achieve a sense of personal satisfaction and enable a more positive appraisal of their lives. Caring had a negative impact on participants' QOL by restricting their relationships, leisure activities and employment opportunities. Caring was also associated with financial insecurity, frustrations at the service system and fear of what the future held for their offspring. Conclusions  Caring for an adult with ID had both positive and negative effects on parents' QOL. Improving services and service delivery, including the provision of residential services and respite, would address many of the issues that were reported to have a negative impact on parents' QOL.

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'Sustaining Place' - a grounded theory of how informal carers of people with dementia manage alterations to relationships within their social worlds

Aims and objectives: This paper presents a theory explaining the processes used by informal carers of people with dementia to mange alterations to their, and people with dementias' relationships with and places within their social worlds.

Background: Informal carers provide the majority of care to people with dementia. A great deal of international informal dementia care research is available, much of which elucidates the content, impacts and consequences of the informal caring role and the coping mechanisms that carers use. However, the socially situated experiences and processes integral to informal caring in dementia have not yet been robustly accounted for.

Design: A classic grounded theory approach was used as it is designed for research enquiries that aim to generate theory illustrating social patterns of action used to address an identified problem.

Methods: Thirty interviews were conducted with 31 participants between 2006–2008. The theory was conceptualised from the data using the concurrent methods of theoretical sampling, constant comparative analysis, memo writing and theoretical sensitivity.

Results: Informal carers' main concern was identified as ‘Living on the fringes’, which was stimulated by dementia-related stigma and living a different life. The theory of ‘Sustaining Place’ explains the social pattern of actions employed by informal carers to manage this problem on behalf of themselves and the person with dementia.

Conclusions: The theory of ‘Sustaining Place’ identifies an imperative for nurses, other formal carers and society to engage in actions to support and enable social connectedness, social inclusion and citizenship for informal carers and people with dementia.

Relevance to clinical practice: ‘Sustaining Place’ facilitates enhanced understanding of the complex and socially situated nature of informal dementia care through its portrayal of informal carers as social agents and can be used to guide nurses to better support those who live with dementia.

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A lifetime of caring: Dimensions and dynamics in late-life close relationships

This review of research on close relationships in old age is informed by principles of life span developmental psychology and life course theory in sociology. It begins with an elaboration of life span and life course concepts as applied to relationships and an analysis of the multiple forms that caring can take. The discussion continues with presentation of research on the effects of sociohistorical contexts on relationships in old age and studies of the effects of personal development and life events on relationships as well. A section examining problems in late-life close relationships is followed by examples of new directions for research on the intersections of personal development and close relationships.

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