“I didn’t know there were different types of caregivers.” We have come to believe that a caregiver is a trained professional who is paid to offer in-home assistance to a person with a disability, elderly person, or other needs. We don’t associate the term “caregiver” as a daughter resigning from her job to care for her mother with dementia full time, or a husband spending his retirement caring for his wife with stage 4 cancer.
1 in 6 Americans are currently informal, or family, caregivers. They do a lot too: the estimated value of the work of these unpaid caregivers is currently $470 billion per year. In conjunction with the unpaid labor, the presence of these caregivers is associated with:
· Shorter hospital stays
· Fewer readmissions
· Fewer unnecessary physician visits
· Fewer emergency room visits
While these are beneficial to the pockets of the informal caregiver and receiver, these outcomes also save time, money, and resources in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and through insurance claims.
Typically, these family caregivers are untrained. They usually do not have a degree in the healthcare field nor have they undergone robust training to become a formal caregiver. If they have the time, they make it to a local CPR class or a caregiver information session put on by a local organization. Most of the time, these caregivers are unaware that they are caregivers. They are simply “being a good son, daughter, husband, wife” by taking care of their loved one who happens to be ill.
Oftentimes, these informal caregivers report higher stress and depression levels due to the toll their caregiving responsibilities have taken on their lives. TCARE is designed to specifically address the care of the informal caregiver through a screener, assessment, and care plan.