Assessing the Family Caregiver is a new but crucial concept for geriatric care managers and professionals in aging .As geriatric care managers and aging professional, we are health and social services oriented. For almost 3 decades we have assessed the care receiver for problems with function, social connection, and psychological issues. If we suspect depression we have completed that screen. If our client plans to move, has cultural needs and preferences, exhibits signs of dementia, need ways to improve quality of life, or a spiritual connection, we have assessed the care receiver for those problems.
All our assessments have left out the major fact – care is an exchange. To receive care, the patient/client usually needs a family caregiver to give or supervise it. That family caregiver is the glue that holds it all together and his or her inner bond begins to break with the strain of caring.
Other countries have seen what the US has yet to grasp. In the United Kingdom a seminal law passed in 1995 called the Recognition and Services Act , which provided British caregivers a statutory right to request an assessment at the same time that a frail elder or adult with disabilities is assessed.
So developing a caregiver assessment is critical, especially in this era of penalties to hospitals for readmission. The caregiver is the key to keeping an older person in the community and not back in the hospital. If they are not trained, have physical problems that inhibit caring, find some tasks, like changing adult diapers uncomfortable, have no car to pick up meds or drive to the doctor’s follow up appointment, you have a problem and probably a readmission.