Results of research study of family caregivers of older adults with multiple chronic conditions (MCC).

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I recently took part in the above named research study. I thought that I would share some of the results-just as a matter of interest. Many of the results will come as no surprise.

Caregiver's health matters as it impacts their quality of live & ability to provide care.

As a result of their caregiving role, caregivers experienced impacts on their work, family & health.

With respect to social location, age and gender, both had a significant effect on outcomes, where women over 65 years of age were found to be more vulnerable; this suggests that these caregivers need more support;

Self-efficacy, or confidence in one's ability to deal with difficult situations was found to be an important predictor of caregivers' QoL
Judicial & mental health;

Caregivers responses suggest that, in their caregiving journey, there were three phases: the initial phase was marked by caregivers feeling overwhelmed; the middle phase reflected adjustment & routine, and; the late phase revealed acceptance & confidence in the caregiving role.
For caregiver-employees those working full time experienced more work interferences than those working part-time, casual, reduced hours etc.

The better the caregiver-employee's physical health, the fewer work interferences experienced.

Key message: the significant positive relationship between self-efface & QoL/health stresses the importance of supporting family caregivers to increase confidence in their ability to deal with difficult situations. This is specially true for women over 65 years & older. With respect to caregiver-employees, flexible caregiver-friendly workplace policies are needed to better manage work interferences, especially those employed full time.

This research was conducted using 194 caregivers of older adults with MCC from Alberta and Ontario, CANADA who responded to up to three x one hour telephone interviews, collected at two time points, six months apart, March and September, 2014.

The results of the study will be used to design ways to support family caregivers of persons with MCC, particular for caregiver-employees & women aged 65 years and older.

Lead researchers were from the University of Alberta, Canada and Mc Master University, Canada.

18 Comments

Self- effacy etc. should read "...caregiver's QoL, PHYSICAL and mental health".

Sorry --iPad self correct!

Thanks for the info.
Was this an initial Canadian research project or a follow-on project? I'm curious to know about other Canadian research projects.

I'm wondering also what the target area was? Did it include any First Nations people?

And thanks for sharing. The more research that's properly conducted, the better for us as the issues become more publicized.
Interesting stuff, thanks. I'm just glad to see ongoing research around this. When my friend's mom required so much care years ago, I used ache for what she went through, but only really commiserate with her struggle. Now, I'm going through it with both parents and it's far harder than I would have ever imagined. So much so I finally got a clue and started in home help this week and it was the first week in a long time where my husband and I felt true relief and we both work full time.

I'm still fairly young and feel intense stress at times, so I can only imagine those older who have their growing care needs trying to cope with that as well.

For my hub and I we are very blessed and fortunate to be in jobs where our bosses are very generous and flexible with needing time to take them to doc appointments which can be many with my mom. We have to make up the time, of course, but it helps a lot without feeling threatened that we'll lose our jobs over it. That is a rare thing in the workplace still. For the last two years I also switched to working at home full time so I can better deal with each day and crisis of some sort and still be productive. Elder care is not yet a top concern in workplaces, but I suspect as people are living far longer now that it will have to be addressed on some level eventually. Studies like these and others will hopefully help us all, whether FT caregiver, work and caregiver or any other combo. We are in dire need of some help and attention.
GardenArtist, this was an original research study. The same researchers, from the University of Alberta and McMaster University, in partnership with the Alzheimer's Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories, are working together on a new study to find the best ways to support caregivers (friends and families) of older adults with Alzheimer disease or related dementias and two or more chronic conditions. The e-mail address for the study is livingwithhope@nursing.ualbertaDOTca. (DOTca is, hopefully to prevent the e-mail address being automatically removed by AgingCare.)

First Nations, or any other demographic, was not a focus of the research--simply age and gender. They wanted to know how these factors changed what it was like to be a caregiver.
Participants were recruited by word-of-mouth.

Dr. Wendy Duggelby, the Principal Investigator, holds the Nursing Research Chair on Aging and Quality of Life and the Research Sponsor was the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
So UofA and Mac did a study that informed them that caregivers are:
1/initially overwhelmed,
2/then move on to adjustment and routine and
3/finally accept and gain confidence in their role as caregiver.
They also figured out that if your workplace is supportive it makes life easier and if you have a community/family support system in place you will be better of mentally and your Q of L will be therefore be higher. Oh, and the older you are the harder it gets.
It's good that an effort is being made to study the issue, but honestly, most of that is just plain common sense. Why is it we need studies to tell us what caregivers already know and those in helping professions could easily learn if they just bothered to LISTEN to us?
Cwillie, I did point out at the beginning of my posting that the results would come as no surprise to many of us. However, academic research is exactly that--the scientific study of a specific phenomenon, not anecdotal input. Using the results of this study, the researchers are now looking at ways that will make a difference to family caregivers. Until they confirmed the impact of caregiving, they cannot move on to find ways that will actually make a difference to us. It is only when we are armed with scientific evidence that we can approach our policy makers and DEMAND the help that we, as voters and as citizens, need--no matter where we reside and no matter our financial situation.
I have a great idea for something that might help. Free helmets. :-D
There apparently are a number of studies in this Living with Hope series:
Dr. Wendy seems to be quite interested and a firm supporter of aging research. It's great to see someone who can be such a good resource.

Although I'm also glad to see these kinds of studies being done, I think that any study has to be viewed with a certain amount of scrutiny.

Anyone who's taken statistics knows that phraseology of the question can direct responses to an intended result.

The study group participants make a big difference. If the study group contains people whose caregiving has been done all at home, the results would I think be different from those whose families are in facilities. That's not to diminish the seriousness or either group, but the experiences are different.

Outside factors if not held constant can skew the results as well.

A study group also needs to be large enough to be statistically significant.

On the other hand, a smaller group can be hand picked with some confidence to yield certain results, which provide leverage to move to another level of pursing the issue in a different manner, such as development of assistance aids, identification of funding resources, etc. And sometimes these are necessary steps and don't need to be large studies.

This doesn't diminish the value of anyone's contribution; it's just a fact about how studies can be structured.

E.g., if you wanted to conduct a study that challenged Donald Trump's qualifications for president, you could call Fox News supporters, especially those who like Megyn Kelly, those who've been on that hiring or firing program (I don't remember what it's called), or Democrats.

If you wanted one that supported him, you could call his hairdressers. Even if he only has 5, the study results are reported that 100% of those surveyed supported him for president. The people who conducted the survey just don't let it be known that they only asked 5 people.
I should add that Cathberry makes good points. The channels and roads to effecting change often follow old and well trodden routes. Take a shortcut or create a new path and you might not end up where you want to.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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