Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Geriatric health professionals experience added burden when caring for own family members

Date:
January 14, 2014
Source:
Boston University Medical Center
Summary:
In what is believed to be the first study of its kind, researchers have found that in addition to the well-known burdens of caring for an older family member, a further set of complex stressors is imposed on geriatric health care professionals serving in this capacity. These findings highlight the critical challenges facing all caregivers, even those who deal with these patients daily on a professional basis.

In what is believed to be the first study of its kind, researchers from Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that in addition to the well-known burdens of caring for an older family member, a further set of complex stressors is imposed on geriatric health care professionals serving in this capacity. These findings, which appear online in Gerontologist, highlight the critical challenges facing all caregivers, even those who deal with these patients daily on a professional basis.

Caregiving for older adults is a major social issue with enormous implications for health care and with an estimated cost of $450 billion in the United States alone. More than 60 million Americans were family caregivers in 2009 that involved hands-on help and supervision, financial management/support, emotional support, medical and legal decision making and health care needs. The research team recruited 16 geriatric health care professionals who participated in 60- to 90- minute individual interviews, based on a semi-structured guide. Questions explored participants' dual experiences as geriatrics professionals and as family caregivers. The authors identified three major themes: dual-role advantages and disadvantages, emotional impact of dual roles, and professional impact of family caregiving.

Participants described their health care expertise as a huge advantage in caring for older family members. All participants used their skills and knowledge as geriatric health care providers to aid in their caregiving role. However, because of the participants' professional backgrounds, they had high expectations for their own performance as caregivers, and many experienced conflicts and disappointment.

Participants' professional experiences impacted their ability to intervene in ways other nonprofessional caregivers might not have been able to do so. And though the impact of their interventions were usually positive, respondents described internal angst over their use of health care knowledge. "All participants described multiple ways in which the child/health professional dual role caregiving experience affected them emotionally. Caregivers gladly provided care and felt a strong sense of reward, but there was a significant theme of emotional struggle," explained lead author Clare M. Wohlgemuth, RN, GCNS-BC Nursing Director, Geriatric Services at BMC and a clinical instructor at BUSM.

The researchers also found that the participants' experiences as caregivers resulted in using what they learned to improve the care of their patients and to reduce caregiver stress. "Although their expertise introduced a significant emotional intensity to their personal caregiving experiences, those experiences positively influenced their professional insight, empathy and advocacy for the caregivers of their own patients," added Wohlgemuth.

The participants experienced emotions common to all caregivers of any background: emotional exhaustion, guilt and stress from struggling with multitasking to provide and coordinate care.

According to the researchers, given the challenges reported by experienced geriatric health care professionals, attention must also be focused on the lay caregivers who have more limited experience coping with aging and end of life.

"All caregivers need support in the use of communication and negotiation skills to effectively engage with providers regarding concerns about care. Both lay and professional caregivers would benefit from developing tools and techniques to discuss the many difficult issues and decisions related to increased frailty, dependence and dignity of risk. It is imperative to focus on empowering and teaching all caregivers and providers how best to have these difficult conversations with family members and with each other," she added.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boston University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. M. Wohlgemuth, H. P. Auerbach, V. A. Parker. Advantages and Challenges: The Experience of Geriatrics Health Care Providers as Family Caregivers. The Gerontologist, 2013; DOI: 10.1093/geront/gnt168

Cite This Page:

Boston University Medical Center. "Geriatric health professionals experience added burden when caring for own family members." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114114251.htm>.
Boston University Medical Center. (2014, January 14). Geriatric health professionals experience added burden when caring for own family members. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114114251.htm
Boston University Medical Center. "Geriatric health professionals experience added burden when caring for own family members." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114114251.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins