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Comparison of financial support for family caregivers of people at the end of life across six countries: A descriptive study

Palliative Medicine 2019, Vol. 33(9) 1189–1211 (Editor's Choice)

Each month, one article from Palliative Medicine, the EAPC's official research journal, is selected as 'Editor's choice' and the author invited to contribute a short post to the EAPC blog explaining the background to the full article in the journal. This month's 'Editor's choice' is described below with access to the free PDF version.  (You can also read the blog post version here)

 

BACKGROUND:

Family caregivers of people at the end of life can face significant financial burden. While appropriate financial support can reduce the burden for family caregivers, little is known about the range and adequacy of financial support, welfare and benefits for family caregivers across countries with similarly developed health care systems.

AIM:

The aim is o identify and compare sources of financial support for family caregivers of people approaching the end of life, across six countries with similarly performing health care systems (Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States).

DESIGN:

A survey of financial support, welfare and benefits for end of life family caregivers was completed by 99 palliative care experts from the six countries. Grey literature searches and academic database searches were also conducted. Comparative analyses of all data sources documented financial support within and between each country.

RESULTS:

Some form of financial support for family caregivers is available in all six countries; however the type, extent and reach of support vary. Financial support is administered by multiple agencies, eligibility criteria for receiving support are numerous and complex, and there is considerable inequity in the provision of support.

CONCLUSION:

Numerous barriers exist to the receipt of financial support, welfare and benefits. We identified several areas of concern, including a lack of clarity around eligibility, inconsistent implementation, complexity in process and limited support for working carers. Nonetheless, there is significant potential for policymakers to learn from other countries' experiences, particularly with regard to the scope and operationalisation of financial support.

KEYWORDS:

Family caregivers; carers; costs; end of life care; financial burden; informal caregivers; palliative care

 

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