Family caregivers in the U.S. are systematically unsupported, both through the health care system and within the workforce. Dr. Megan Hebdon provided insights from her expanding research on the relationship between family caregivers and financial well-being at a recent CHDS seminar. Hebdon is an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, and both her nursing and personal experiences have shaped her research interests in chronic health and family caregivers.
Hebdon utilizes qualitative descriptive data to better understand caregiver stories and concerns, including hospice, millennial, and Latinx family caregivers. Although every caregiver has different needs, financial well-being is a consistent concern. Many family caregivers face high medical costs alongside barriers to employment. While employment can moderate some of the negative impacts of caregiving by providing respite in times of high demand, many family caregivers have to routinely leave work early or leave their job altogether to provide care. Due to the coupling of health insurance and employment in the U.S., this can jeopardize income for daily needs as well as protection against exorbitant medical bills. Threats to financial well-being disproportionately impact minoritized groups, increasing existing social and economic disparities.
To better understand how to meet caregiver needs through practice and policy, Hebdon hopes future work will move towards more nuanced, intersectional analyses that account for many aspects of a person’s identity. Work in this direction will hopefully improve personalized interventions that target specific needs for specific caregivers more effectively. Broad reforms should prioritize family-centered care and employee accommodation, as well as integration between healthcare, policy, education, and community.
Learn more: Read the protocol, Financial Interventions for Family Caregivers of Individuals with Chronic Illness: A Scoping Review Protocol
Learn more: Read the publication, Stress and Supportive Care Needs of Millennial Caregivers: A Qualitative Analysis
Learn more: Resource Pack: Economic Model of Informal Mental Health Caring
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