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Informal-formal caregiver relationships within care networks of older adults

2012 Conference Presentation

Informal care The Netherlands

7 September 2012

Informal-formal caregiver relationships within care networks of older adults

Marianne T. Jacobs, VU University, The Netherlands
Marjolein I. Broese van Groenou, VU University, The Netherlands
Peter Groenewegen, VU University, The Netherlands
Dorly J.H. Deeg, VU University, The Netherlands


Objective. The informal-formal caregiver relationship is gaining importance as the prevalence of mixed care networks increases and policy is aiming for professional support of informal caregivers. Detailed information about contact between informal and formal home caregivers is still lacking. The aim of the current study is to describe characteristics of the informal -formal caregiver relationship in care networks of older adults living at home.

Data and methods. 41 older adults with both informal and formal care are involved in the study via homecare organizations in Amsterdam. They provided information on caregivers for five types of tasks. For each identified caregiver we collected information on residency with the older adult (0=no, 1=yes), care load (hours per week for each type of task), duration of the care given to the older adult and the frequency of contact (1=never, 7=daily) with each of the other identified caregivers. 41 older adults identified 127 informal and 113 formal caregivers. Analyses were performed on 332 informal-formal caregiver relationships. In these preliminary analyses only descriptive analysis on the informal-formal relationship are included, further analyses will include characteristics of the care receiver and the care network.

Results. Older adults have on average 3.1 informal (range 1–9) and 2.8 formal caregivers (range 1–6). The hours the informal caregiver gave care was on average 6 hours per week, spent on 1.32 different types of tasks (range 1–4). Formal caregivers provided care for on average 3.4 hours per week on 1.22 different types of tasks (1–3). In 70% of all 322 informal-formal caregiving relationships, the two caregivers never met each other. The frequency of contact between the two caregivers increased significantly when informal caregivers spend more hours of care (r=,51, p).