The Saskatchewan Caregiver Experience Study: Implications for Research, Practice, and Policy
|Background: A total of 70-80% of community care for older adults is provided by informal or family caregivers. With Canada’s aging population, the number of caregivers to older adults is growing. The Saskatchewan Caregiver Experience Study gathered perspectives and mapped the experiences of caregivers in Saskatchewan and identified their priority support needs. Method: In this qualitative descriptive study, an online qualitative survey asked three open-ended questions regarding: (1) the challenges that caregivers experience; (2) the positive aspects of caregiving; (3) the support needs and priorities of Saskatchewan caregivers. Content analysis was the method used for data analysis. Results: 355 caregivers responded to the survey. The challenges Saskatchewan caregivers reported experiencing are exhaustion, living their own lives, navigating complex systems, self-doubt, and caregiving at a distance. Positive aspects were related to the rewards of caregiving, having the ability and opportunity to care, ensuring quality care for the care recipient, and the experience of personal growth through being a caregiver. Support priorities were help when they need it, an ear to listen and a shoulder to lean on, assistance in optimizing the care recipient’s health, having healthcare professionals that care, and improved policies, legislations, and regulations. Discussion: The Saskatchewan Caregiver Experience Study has implications for research, practice, and policy. Caregivers to older adults have previously shared an interest in research engagement. Researchers should capitalize on this interest by co-creating solutions to improve the caregiver experience. In practice, recognition of the caregiver experience by healthcare professionals is essential in planning services to support care recipients and caregivers in ways that are meaningful and effective. In policy, leveraging informal care in place of institutional long-term care has become a key strategy in maintaining healthcare system sustainability. Findings from this study can be used to adapt policies to improve the support that caregivers to older adults receive and facilitate positive aging in the community. Conclusion: By mapping the Saskatchewan caregiver experience, this study can help to inform how communities, governments, and our healthcare system can best support caregivers in their role.
|Hall, S., Rohatinsky, N., Holtslander, L., & Peacock, S. (2023, April 25). The Saskatchewan Caregiver Experience Study: Implications for Research, Practice, and Policy. Poster presentation at the Encircling Care Summit, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
|CC0 1.0 Universal
|caregivers, older adults, Saskatchewan, qualitative description
|The Saskatchewan Caregiver Experience Study: Implications for Research, Practice, and Policy