Preparing Caregivers for Their Growing Role

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<p>Changes in the world of health care have shifted more responsibility for medical care into the hands of informal caregivers. These individuals--usually patients' family members or friends--are frequently asked to play an active role in managing care despite often lacking instruction or support from physicians, nurses, or other formal providers.<br><bR>In <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=28473&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecommonwealthfund%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D483778%26%23doc483778">"Coordination Between Formal Providers and Informal Caregivers,"</a> published in the new issue of <em>Health Care Management Review,</em> a team of Commonwealth Fund-supported researchers led by Queens College's Dana Beth Weinberg, Ph.D., studied a group of knee-replacement surgery patients to explore the importance of coordination between formal providers and informal caregivers. Better communication, they discovered, prepares caregivers to effectively provide and manage care--which in turn leads to better outcomes for patients.<br><br>"Patients whose caregivers reported better preparation had better freedom from pain, functional status, and mental health," the study found.</p>