Differential impacts of care-giving across three caregiver groups in Canada: end-of-life care, long-term care and short-term care
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Using data from Statistic Canada's General Social Survey Cycle 21 (GSS 2007), this study explores whether differences exist in the impacts of care-giving among three groups of caregivers providing informal care either in the caregiver's or recipient's home, or in other locations within the community: (i) those providing end-of-life (EOL) care (n = 471); (ii) those providing long-term care (more than 2 years) for someone with a chronic condition or long-term illness (n = 2722); and (iii) those providing short-term care (less than 2 years) for someone with a chronic condition or long-term illness (n = 2381). This study lays out the variation in sociodemographic characteristics across the three caregiver groups while also building on our understanding of the differential impacts of care-giving through an analysis of determinants. All three groups of caregivers shared a number of sociodemographic characteristics, including being female, married, employed and living in a Census Metropolitan Area (CMA). With respect to health, EOL caregivers were found to have significantly higher levels of 'fair or poor' self-assessed health than the other two groups. Overall, the findings suggest that EOL caregivers are negatively impacted by the often additional role of care-giving, more so than both short-term and long-term caregivers. EOL caregivers experienced a higher proportion of negative impacts on their social and activity patterns. Furthermore, EOL caregivers incurred greater financial costs than the other two types of informal caregivers. The impacts of EOL care-giving also negatively influence employment for caregivers when compared with the other caregiver groups. Consequently, EOL caregivers, overall, experienced greater negative impacts, including negative health outcomes, than did long-term or short-term caregivers. This provides the evidence for the assertion that EOL care-giving is the most intense type of care-giving, potentially causing the greatest caregiver burden; this is shown through the greater negative impacts experienced by the EOL caregivers when compared with the short-term and long-term caregivers.
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