Caregivers neglect their own health, study finds
(Catching up on a few things that I emailed out while the Forum was down.)
This post is about family caregivers neglecting their own health.
Local support group member Maureen forwarded me this article on a new study that showed that 45% of family caregivers "are more likely to neglect their own prescription medications than they are to neglect medication for the person for whom they are caring." The lead author of the study said: "Caregivers appear to be so focused on helping family members that they often forget to take care of themselves, behavior that can have severe consequences for their health and well-being."
"The authors of the study said they hope to raise awareness among medical professionals that caregivers, as a population, may require added support to more actively manage their own health."
Here's the full article.http://healthcarefinancenews.com/news/s ... scriptions
Study finds caregivers aren't following their own prescriptions
Healthcare Finance News
May 26, 2011
BOSTON Â A new study by researchers at Harvard University, Brigham and Womenâs Hospital and CVS Caremark has found that 45 percent of people who provide care to a family member are more likely to neglect their own prescription medications than they are to neglect medication for the person for whom they are caring.
More than 65 million people in this country describe themselves as a caregiver to a close family member.
The study, published online this week in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, found that caregiver non-adherence to medication regimens is especially likely if cost is an issue.
"Our findings indicate care-giving status may be an important characteristic for providers to identify and that caregivers may represent a fertile target for adherence interventions to improve chronic disease management and prevent chronic disease," the study authors concluded.
The report is the latest product of a three-year collaboration between Harvard, Brigham and Womenâs and CVS Caremark to research pharmacy claims data as a means to better understand patient behavior, particularly on issues of medication adherence. For this most recent study, researchers conducted an online survey of 2,000 retail pharmacy customers, of which 38 percent, or 762 respondents, described themselves as caregivers.
Key findings of from the caregiver group included:
* 45 percent said they somewhat or strongly agree that they are more likely to forget to take their own medications even though they provide family members with their medicine.
* 46 percent said caring for their family is more important than caring for themselves and 52 percent said they are more likely to sacrifice their own health to make sure they properly care for family members.
* 53 percent reported that managing their personal health and caring for another is stressful and that they eat to cope with that stress.
Further, when comparing caregivers with non-caregivers, caregivers said they are 10 percent more likely to forget taking their medicines, 11 percent are likely to stop taking their medications if they feel better and 13 percent said they are likely to forget refills.
"We found there is a compelling relationship between caregiving and medication adherence," said William Shrank, MD, MSHS, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, the lead author of the study. "Caregivers appear to be so focused on helping family members that they often forget to take care of themselves, behavior that can have severe consequences for their health and well-being."
The authors of the study said they hope to raise awareness among medical professionals that caregivers, as a population, may require added support to more actively manage their own health.
"These results highlight an important opportunity for our industry to work with a target population to increase adherence," said Troyen A. Brennan, executive vice president and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark and a co-author of the study. "Doctors need to identify caregivers so they can provide appropriate support. In addition, pharmacists are uniquely positioned to intervene and encourage caregivers to take their medicine because the caregiver is often the person who is picking up medications for both family members and themselves."