Family caregiving is difficult and stressful. Providing care and support to people with cognitive or behavioral health conditions is doubly challenging. This paper reports on results from a national survey showing that caregivers of family members with challenging behaviors were more likely to perform more than one medical/nursing task, such as managing medications, and often do so with resistance from the person they are trying to help. Yet they receive little or no instruction or guidance on how to do this important work. This analysis offers recommendations for assisting family caregivers who play this dual role.
This is the third “Insight on the Issues” series, drawn from additional analysis of data based on a December 2011 national survey of 1,677 family caregivers, 22 percent of whom were caring for someone with one or more challenging behaviors. Earlier findings were published in the groundbreaking Public Policy Institute/United Hospital Fund report Home Alone: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care