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UNMC Professor Contributed to National Report on Family Caregiving

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A new report released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine calls for changes in the area of family caregiving of elders, something it says nearly 18 million Americans are involved in.  

It says at the same time the population is aging, the pool of available family caregivers is shrinking, with smaller family sizes, more childless couples and more families separated geographically contributing to this shrinking pool.

UNMC College of Nursing Professor Karen Schumacher contributed to this report as a member of the national Committee on Family Caregiving for Older Adults. She says there have been some major changes in the expectations of family caregivers over the years:  

“What we’ve seen recently is expansion in the complexity of health conditions that family caregivers are getting involved in such as injections, administering IVs at home, very complicated medication regimens, symptom management…. It’s become a very complex role. And some of those activities are activities that used to be done by health professionals and now increasingly we’re expecting family caregivers to do them as well.”

Schumacher says their report stresses the significant physical, emotional and economic demands on caregivers, and it calls upon the Department of Health and Human Services to undertake a transformation in the way family caregivers are recognized and supported.  

 

A copy of this report is available at nationalacademies.org/caregiving