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Health Aff (Millwood). 2010 Jan-Feb;29(1):116-24. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2009.0520.

Bridging troubled waters: family caregivers, transitions, and long-term care.

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  • 1United Hospital Fund, NewYork City, USA. clevine@uhfnyc.org

Abstract

Families are the bedrock of long-term care, but policymakers have traditionally considered them "informal" caregivers, as they are not part of the formal paid caregiving workforce. As chronic and long-term care systems have become more complex and as more demanding tasks have been shifted to families, this view is no longer sustainable. The care transition process offers a critical opportunity to treat family caregivers as important care partners. Enhancing their involvement, training, and support will contribute to reducing unnecessary rehospitalizations and improving patient outcomes. The contributions and experiences of family caregivers should be considered in gathering information to shape policies and practice; training health care professionals; developing programs; and reforming financing.

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