Helping Carers Care: An Exploratory Study of Factors Impacting Informal Family Carers and Their Use of Aged Care Services
This exploratory study considered the role of informal carers and their decision-making regarding various aged care services that supposedly support their ageing relatives. Consideration was given to the stressors and overall well-being of informal carers and the support services they did or did not receive during their time of caregiving. A questionnaire was utilised to gain exploratory quantitative and qualitative data plus basic demographic information from informal carers who connected with a single caregiver association based in Victoria, Australia. Several themes emerged from the analysis of data regarding carer well-being, carer decision-making and carer relationships—particularly with respect to the various authorities and organisations ostensibly responsible for supporting carers. While the majority of participants indicated a religious association, nevertheless spiritual considerations were not stress factors paramount in their decision-making or their criticism of carer support services. Other concerns dominated such as the need of having appropriate practical support, better case management, organisational transparency and greater recognition of the role of informal carers. Although this research was isolated to a particular locality, carers in similar situations globally have indicated comparable stresses and challenges further indicating that greater accountability and improved organisation are required for the support of carers internationally. Recommendations are suggested for how service providers can support carers—most importantly, the need for ongoing government assessment and government service improvement in order to help carers care into the future.
KeywordsAged care Carers Caregiving Caregivers Palliative care
The authors wish to acknowledge the support of the Palliative Care Unit, Department of Public Health, La Trobe University (Melbourne, Australia) and Carers Victoria (Melbourne, Australia) for their support of this research.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.
All applicable national and institutional guidelines for the care of humans were followed during this research in compliance with Australian ‘National statement on ethical conduct in human research’ (NHMRC, 2007), and thus, accordingly informed consent was obtained from all participants.
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