What Are the Factors Identifying Caregivers Who Need Help in Managing Medications for Palliative Care Patients at Home? A Population Survey.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of palliative medicine, 2020, 23, (8), pp. 1084-1089
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Background: For most people, the last 12 months of life are spent living in the community, with the support of family and friends for a number of caregiving functions. Previous research has found that managing medicines is challenging for caregivers. Currently there is little information describing which caregivers may struggle with tasks associated with managing a loved one's medicines. Aim: The aim of this study was to identify factors that flag caregivers who are likely to experience problems when managing someone else's medications. Setting/Participants: The annual South Australian Health Omnibus Survey provides a face-to-face, cross-sectional, whole-of-population view of health care. Structured interviews, including questions covering palliative care and end-of-life care, were conducted with 14,625 residents in their own homes. Results: Of the 1068 respondents who had provided care for someone who died of a terminal illness in the last five years, 7.4% identified that additional support with medicine management would have been beneficial. In addition, three factors were predictive of the need for additional support in managing medicines: aged <65 years; lower household income; and living in a metropolitan region. Conclusion: The findings of this study provide insights to inform the development of palliative care service models to support informal caregivers in the management of medications for people with a life-limiting illness.
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