Tuesday, June 6, 2023
HomeHealth & FitnessCaregivers are hard — and the COVID-19 pandemic makes it worse

Caregivers are hard — and the COVID-19 pandemic makes it worse

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When Floria Foote When she first became her sister’s caregiver, she didn’t anticipate how much work she would end up taking on during her sister’s decline. “It’s so unlike her,” Foote said. “She’s a very driven person, raising two adopted children and taking care of our elderly father. She went from that level of activity to not wanting to do anything. I have to wash her in the morning and keep her on schedule, Managed her bills, everything.”

Foote’s experience as a caregiver is surprisingly common. In 2020, one in five U.S. adults provided unpaid care to another adult. This invisible group provides essential support to our society, especially as the population ages, but faces numerous challenges and lack of resources in the work process. New research from the University of Chicago School of Medicine further underscores the problem.

A new study finds women nursing compared to non-nursing workers during the COVID-19 pandemic People are significantly more likely to experience health-related socioeconomic vulnerabilities (such as food insecurity, financial stress and transportation difficulties), with 63% of caregivers reporting at least one vulnerability compared to non-caregivers 47% . In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, things got worse—caregivers were more likely to experience new or worsening financial stress, as well as new interpersonal violence, food insecurity, transportation difficulties, and housing insecurity high. The results were published on September 26 in the Annals of Family Medicine

“Many adults provide care for other adults; one in five U.S. adults and one in three women Provide care for a parent, sibling or friend who needs help every day,” said Jennifer Makelarski, PhD, senior epidemiologist at the University of Chicago and senior author of the study. “These caregivers play a critical role in healthcare. If for some reason a caregiver is suddenly unable to provide care, we have a problem. Our system cannot handle the sudden influx of support needs.”

Caregivers must balance their own lives and needs with their dependents and find ways to care for themselves while spending most of their time caring their relatives. “When you’re in care mode, there’s a pull,” Foote said. “You end up neglecting yourself for the people you care for, but it’s always a struggle because you have to keep yourself healthy as well. You can’t get sick or out of shape or anything that’s going to bring you down because you have to be able to take care of yourself. You and the people you care for play a role.”

Caregivers are more likely to be more vulnerable to health-related socioeconomic risks. High risk, and anything that jeopardizes their ability to care for themselves and their families—for example, a global pandemic—puts additional stress on this invisible, unpaid workforce. Those experiencing financial instability or housing insecurity may find themselves unable to provide adequate care for their loved ones and themselves. All of these risk factors directly affect a person’s health.

“People think my job as a gynecologist is to diagnose and treat problems related to the female genitals,” University of Chicago School of Medicine said Stacy Tessler Lindau, M.D., M.D., professor of obstetrics, gynecology and medicine-gerontology. “When I see and appreciate my patients as a whole person, including their role as caregivers, I can adjust my medical advice around this reality. If I don’t, my best medical care is May be in vain. This study calls for action for healthcare systems to systematically and proactively identify who caregivers are, so we can provide care that is right for them in situations where they provide vital care to others. Caregivers are us A neglected extension of the healthcare system.”

Researchers stress that while caregivers face additional challenges, These challenges can be changed. “There are things that can be done to support caregivers,” says Mark Lasky. “During the pandemic, it’s gotten worse for everyone, but even more so for female caregivers. These are things we can work on to intervene to better support this important part of our healthcare system. components.”

They hope these results will contribute to further federal efforts to provide formal support resources for carers; They also plan to share the results with community organizations and representatives who can help raise awareness of the issue and advocate for systemic change.

“Traditionally, medical care has focused on what happens within the boundaries of the body and within the four walls of a clinic or hospital,” Lindau said. “But there are drivers outside the walls, such as access to food and transportation and a safe community, that can affect a person’s health. How do female caregivers provide care for their loved ones if they don’t have enough food to feed themselves, or at home or in the community. Violence in China? Female caregivers are bridging the huge gap between the health care system and the home for our rapidly ageing population, and it is in all of our best interests to support them.”

For Foot, who passed away in 2020, it was exhausting to be able to support her sister, but she was grateful for the opportunity to be there. “I always say if she needs me, I’ll come and help take care of her,” Foote said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has made everything more work, but it’s great to live with my sister again and be there every day.”

The study “Nursing in a Pandemic: Health-Related Socioeconomic Vulnerability of Female Nursing Workers in the Early Stage of the COVID-19 Pandemic” was supported by the NIH (5R01AG064949, 5R01MD012630, R21CA226726, and 1R01DK127961. Additional authors include Kelly Boyd and Victoria Winslow of the University of Chicago School of Medicine and Soo Borson of the University of Southern California.

More information: Kelly Boyd et al., Nursing in a Pandemic: Health-Related Socioeconomic Vulnerability of Female Caregivers Early in the COVID-19 Pandemic, Annals of Family Medicine (2022). DOI: 10.1370/afm.2845

Citation : Caregiver Situation Tough — COVID-19 Pandemic Makes It Worse (Oct 7, 2022), Oct 21, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-10-caregivers-toughand-covid-pandemic -worse search.html

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