Now it’s up to you to take action. We hope that we’ve convinced you about the central importance of incorporating family caregivers, and an assessment of their own needs, into your everyday practice. We also hope that we’ve given you the basic tools and strategies to create and implement a caregiver assessment approach that works in your practice setting.
We know that policymakers and program administrators have many other concerns that we have not been able to address in this toolkit. Among them are three important ones: obtaining funding and reimbursement for caregiver assessment; using computer applications, such as a uniform tracking system, to streamline or ease the assessment process; and finding appropriate ways to connect the assessments of the care recipient and caregiver to eliminate duplication yet protect privacy and autonomy.
We encourage you to draw upon Volume I & Volume II of the National Consensus Development Conference for Caregiver Assessment reports (see Appendix II for citation). Many of these policy and administrative issues are addressed there.
We hope that you, the practitioner, will join us in embracing a family-centered care perspective and become an advocate for the changes needed in the current health and long-term care systems.