Supporting family carers: Outcome of caregiving in nationwide register-based Scandinavian studies


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Mai-Britt Guldin1
1Research Unit for General Practice, Aarhus, Denmark

Abstract

Objective

Caregiving has been shown to be both rewarding and demanding. In Denmark and the Scandinavian countries, family carers are increasingly seen as an important resource in end-of-life care. Previous studies have found an increased risk of healthcare utilisation and psychological distress in family caregivers, e.g. anxiety, depression and complicated grief, placing caregivers in a vulnerable position. A number of factors have shown to influence development ofdistress in family caregivers. This presentation aims to provide information on current studies of caregiving in Scandinavia with a focus on nationwide register-based studies.

Methods

The studies were designed as nation-wide cohort studies or case-control studies combined with questionnaire data. The study populations were identified through Danish or Swedish healthcare registries to investigate the effects of caregiving.

Results

In all studies, caregiving resulted in an increased risk of psychological and even physiological morbidity among carers during the illness and after the loss of a loved one. Psychological distress was mostly measured as depression and anxiety. In one large-scale study, patterns of healthcare utilisation were investigated to reveal the impact of caregiving on the entire healthcare system.

Conclusions

The results of the studies indicate a need for improved awareness of the impact of caregiving. This presentation will provide valuable information on the association of caregiving and healthcare utilisationas well aspsychological distress in family caregivers from register-based nationwide Scandinavian studies. Future perspectives include targeted support for family caregivers to help prevent adverse effects of caregiving.