Potential caregivers for homebound elderly: more numerous than supposed?

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BACKGROUND: This qualitative study examined the experiences and perspectives of caregivers of homebound elderly patients. METHODS: We performed in-depth, semistructured interviews with 22 caregivers (average age 59 years) of homebound elderly patients and analyzed them to determine major themes. The homebound patients were part of a house call program of a US academic medical center in Baltimore, Maryland. RESULTS: Caregiver relationships in our study were diverse: 41% were spouses or children, and 41% were unrelated to the homebound patient; 36% were male. We identified 3 themes: (1) caregiving has both positive and negative aspects, (2) caregiver motivation is heterogeneous, and (3) caregivers sometimes undergo transformation as a result of their caregiving experience. CONCLUSION: Caregiver experience is varied. Interviewees reported a variety of motivations for becoming caregivers and both positive and negative aspects of the experience. Caregivers in this study were diverse with respect to sex and relationship to the patient, suggesting the pool of potential caregivers may be larger than previously thought.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1-6
JournalThe Journal of family practice
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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