caregivingResearch released today from The United Hospital Fund (UHF) and AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) shows that the intensity of caregiving responsibilities varies little between family caregivers who work and those who don’t.

The research results surprised the researchers, who expected a difference between the extent to which employed and not-employed family caregivers perform medical and nursing tasks, according to a press release issued today by the two organizations.

Findings of the research include:

  • 45% of employed family caregivers were responsible for helping with medical/nursing tasks;
  • While 49% of family caregivers who were not employed reported feeling stressed between caregiving and other responsibilities, fully 61% of employed family caregivers reported such stress;
  • Employed caregivers were also more likely than not-employed caregivers (40% vs. 29%) to report that having another person to help with wound care would ease their burden;
  • Wound care is one of the complex tasks performed by more than a third (36%) of employed caregivers involved in helping with medical/nursing care;
  • Other tasks frequently performed and found to be among the hardest to do were dealing with incontinence and managing medications;
  • One in five employed caregivers (19%) and one in ten not-employed caregivers (10%) reported negative impacts, including missed professional opportunities, financial losses, and time off from work.

The report highlights an urgent need for employers to recognize that their caregiving employees manage complex responsibilities both at home and on the job, and they need support to manage both. Because the majority (73%) of employed family caregivers are in their prime working years, replacing these workers when they leave the workforce to devote all their time to family caregiving can be costly to employers and damaging to the economy.

The complete research report, Employed Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care, is available at http://www.uhfnyc.org/publications/880949. An earlier report Home Alone: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care is also available at http://www.uhfnyc.org/publications/880853.

About Denise

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched Caregiving.com in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

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