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J Gerontol Nurs. 2005 Jun;31(6):31-7.

Grandmother caregiver reactions to caring for high-risk grandchildren: I could write a book.

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  • 1College of Nursing, Villanova University, Pennsylvania 19085, USA.


During the past decade there has been an increase in the prevalence of grandmothers raising their grandchildren because of parental drug use and child neglect and maltreatment in the United States. A study was designed and conducted to examine the relationship between caregiver burden and caregiver physical health for grandmothers raising their high-risk grandchildren. The sample consisted of 104 grandmothers. The findings indicated that caregiver physical health correlated strongly with level of burden and financial status. Further analysis suggests physical health variables had an observable impact on caregiver burden. Because this study indicates, from descriptive and correlational statistics, that the well-being of the grandmother and grandchild are both linked to the grandmother's physical health, there are numerous nursing interventions that may support a positive outcome for both. The provision of emotional and psychosocial support, coupled with health education and periodic health evaluations, are known to improve a grandmother's perception of her own health. Nurses can use the measures of caregiver burden to develop care plans targeting the health issues most likely to improve a grandmother's functional ability to remain the primary caregiver for a high-risk grandchild.

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