2018 Conference Presentation
Background and objectives: While comparative information on subjective wellbeing and health from different countries is increasingly available, there is only limited information on quality of life of elderly LTC service users and their care-givers. Such information would be useful for policy-makers developing care services in Europe considering significant differences in the way long-term is provided and organized in different European countries.
Our goal in this study is to compare quality of life of carers in Austria, England and Finland. Carers’ quality of life may be affected by factors like care burden and health (Colombo et al. 2012) but also by cross-country differences in services and support provided for carers. In a comparative study design it is hence important to control for the effects of other risk factors (e.g. care burden) in order to evaluate cross-country differences in quality of life that are related to LTC systems.
Data and methods : Our data contain approximately 600 interviews of carers providing informal care to home care clients in Austria, England and Finland. Carers’ quality of life was measured using the ASCOT interview schedule for carers (INT4). Preference-weighted QoL scores (both current and expected) were computed using country-specific preference weights. In addition to ASCOT qualify of life, the data set contains information about care tasks and hours, characteristics of the care recipient, receipt and quality of services, health and long-term illness, social contact, caring environment and socioeconomic background of carers.
In order to distinguish the effects of care system from other factors affecting carers’ quality of life, we applied matching and risk-adjustment models as alternative approaches to estimate cross-country differences in carers’ quality of life.
Results and conclusions: Preliminary results from Finland indicate that self-assessed health and care hours are associated with carers’ quality-of-life. Comparative analysis on quality of life of carers in Austria, England and Finland is ongoing and the main results will be presented at the ILPN conference. Findings from the comparative study have potential to help decision-makers in their efforts to develop support systems that help carers to cope better with demanding care tasks.