Informal caregiver characteristics and subsequent hospitalization outcomes among recipients of care
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- Wolff, J.L. & Kasper, J.D. Aging Clin Exp Res (2004) 16: 307. doi:10.1007/BF03324556
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Background and aims: It is reasonable to surmise that informal caregivers might influence access and use of health services among disabled older adults, although this relationship has not been well studied. The objective of this research was to examine caregiver attributes with respect to recipients’ hospitalization experiences. Methods: Generalized estimating equations were used to generate population-average logistic regression models for the risk of incurring inpatient hospitalization or being delayed in discharge from hospital. Data come from a sample of 420 women aged 65 or older receiving informal care, who participated in both the Women’s Health and Aging Study and its accompanying Caregiving Survey. Results: Individuals whose primary caregivers were characterized by feelings of competence in their role were 40% more likely to experience an inpatient hospitalization (p<0.05) but 48% less likely to be delayed in discharge from the hospital (p<0.05). Measures related to caregiver overload and personal gain were not found to be related to the likelihood of either incurring an inpatient admission or being delayed in hospital discharge, although individuals whose primary caregivers were characterized by role captivity (a measure related to perceived burden) were more than twice as likely to be delayed in discharge from the hospital (p<0.05) without controlling for other characteristics (p<0.10 in the multi-variate model). Individuals whose primary caregivers reported being involved with recipients’ medical professionalswere 50% more likely to incur an inpatient hospitalization (p<0.01). Conclusion: These findings suggest that primary caregiver attributes have relevance to recipients’ hospitalization experiences.