Study Examines Home Care Workers’ Complex Interactions with Family Members

December 31, 2015 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​Although home care workers have frequent interaction with patients' families or other informal caregivers, there has been little research into home care providers' perceptions of how family and other informal caregivers affect their work. A study published December 12, 2015, in BMC Geriatrics based on interviews with 118 Canadian home care workers finds that workers value the input of informal caregivers and frequently work to educate caregivers as well as patients, but that home care workers are also concerned about increased or inappropriate work that can be expected by informal caregivers. When first coming to a home, home care workers reported relying on informal caregivers for basic information (e.g., where supplies are kept) and helping them learn about a patient's experiences and preferences. As care progresses, informal caregivers can give home care workers valuable information about what has happened since the worker was last in the home, such as whether the patient has been sleeping or eating well or experiencing new or changing symptoms.

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