Caregivers Count Too! Toolkit — Introduction
We now know that family caregiving impacts the physical and mental health, finances, career and other family and social relationships of the caregiver. However, few programs offer caregivers an assessment of their own situations to assist them in providing quality care. Restrictions on resources may influence an agency’s response to caregiver needs, but much depends on how we view caregivers in general. Are family members seen merely as a resource, or as people with needs and rights of their own?
Achieving a high quality of care for people with chronic or disabling conditions depends on accepting a family-centered perspective. The success of most care plans—from hospital discharge to everyday care in the home—often rests on the shoulders of the family caregiver. If the family caregiver becomes sick or can no longer cope with caregiving tasks, the care recipient suffers. If the strain on a caregiver becomes too great, care in the home may be seriously compromised and nursing home placement may result. Successful care, whether from hospitals, home or community-based settings, depends upon knowing the needs of both the care recipient and the family caregiver.