Family Effects of Illness Research

Eve Wittenberg and Lisa Prosser looking at each other, smiling, and in conversation.

CHDS researcher Eve Wittenberg and Adjunct Professor Lisa Prosser guest edited a special, themed issue of PharmacoEconomics on the “spillover” effects of illness on caregivers and families.

“Illness is no longer a patient-only experience. Families provide invaluable care to patients and experience the ups and downs of patients’ illnesses alongside their loved ones” says Wittenberg, “contributing to the cost equation for health care and the overall effects of illness.” Informal care – as family-provided care is termed – isn’t paid for directly but imposes costs on family members, in terms of taking time off from work or leaving the workforce entirely. Family members incur health effects as well, from fatigue and depression to physical pain. The special issue compiles the latest research on measuring these costs and effects so they can be included in economic evaluations – a mainstay of health policy decision making. Articles range from how much an hour of family-provided care is worth to how caregiving affects educational opportunities and retirement. The articles will help advance research in this burgeoning field as populations age and family-based care becomes more commonplace.

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