Examining Increasing Efforts To Assist Care Providers

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The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday examined efforts toprovide assistance to an estimated 45 million adults in the U.S. whocare for a family member with a severe or long-term illness. Accordingto the Journal, "care giving responsibilities can exact adrastic emotional, physical and financial toll" on people who lookafter an ill or aging relative, which can lead to "high rates ofdepression, stress and other physical and mental health problems."

However, the Journalnotes that increasing evidence has shown that caregivers can betterhandle their responsibilities and the accompanying stress when they areprovided with counseling and support group opportunities, in-homeskills training and additional help. Some advocacy groups currently arelobbying for increased federal funding for caregiver assistanceprograms, and some experts are calling for formal evaluation programsthat health care groups can use to determine what kind of supportcaregivers might need, according to the Journal. Inaddition, more hospitals are offering caregiver services and socialworker assistance to family members when their relatives aredischarged. Experienced caregivers also are "being tapped to helpothers new to the role," the Journal reports (Landro, Wall Street Journal, 11/28).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily HealthPolicy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The HenryJ. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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