Many of the 40 million unpaid family caregivers in the U.S. are not asked by health care workers if they need assistance managing an older adult's care, according to a study out of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH).
The new report published in JAMA Network Open says that 45 percent of caregivers were never asked whether they needed support while handling a host of caregiving duties, which may include medication management, transportation and other activities of daily living.
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The positive news: Family caregivers are being heard. Nine out of 10 caregivers (89 percent) say they are always or usually listened to by doctors and health care personnel about their loved one's care, and almost 3 in 4 (72 percent) are asked if they understand the medical treatments that the person getting care is receiving.
The findings are the result of an analysis of 1,916 family and unpaid caregivers who provide regular care to 1,203 older adults who have activity limitations and live in private homes, apartment buildings or housing for older adults.
Study lead author Jennifer Wolff, Eugene and Mildred Lipitz Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management and director of the Roger C. Lipitz Center for Integrated Health Care at the JHSPH, says the report highlights the issues caregivers face in navigating the health system on behalf of those with a serious illness.