Caregiver burden is a multidimensional response that results from taking care of an ill individual. More specifically, caregiver burden refers to the stress and disruption in lifestyle, health, and quality of life experienced by those who provide informal care to patients with chronic and terminal illnesses.
There has been a shift in the caregiving paradigm in the United States, with increased dependence on informal caregivers instead of experienced medical professionals. Caregiver burden can have a significant impact on the psychological, emotional, physical, and functional health of those providing care to loved ones. Physicians, nurses, and social workers have traditionally directed services to patients. Given the impact of caregiver burden on well-being, it is important to focus on the specific needs of caregivers. Supportive services and community resources are commonly offered to caregivers as a means of lessening their stress and improving quality of life.
To prepare for this Discussion:
Think about a chronic, serious, or debilitating illness. Consider the burden experienced by a family or friend providing care for an individual diagnosed with the illness.
Post a description of the care needed for the illness you selected.
Explain the nature of caregiver burden experienced by caregivers of patients with this illness.
Describe illness-related factors (e.g., access to care, illness complexity, chronicity, outcomes) that might contribute to caregiver burden.
Explain specific interventions that you as a medical social worker might implement to relieve caregiver burden.
Identify at least three resources in your local area (county or state) that you might use to address caregiver burden for the chosen illness.
Explain how these resources might adequately address caregiver burden.
Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the resources and the current literature using appropriate APA format and style.