Across the world, people are living longer. The global average life expectancy has more than doubled since 1900 and is now approaching 70 years. In the United States, nearly 100 million people will be 65 years or older by 2060. This is nearly double what this population is today.
The challenges of an aging population, particularly for our health care system, are many. They include the large numbers of people who are (or will be) living alone; the vast number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease; and an increase in Medicare expenditures. But, there’s also the impact of an aging population on more than 34 million unpaid caregivers in the U.S. Eighty-five percent of these caregivers provide care for a loved one or relative and have little to no training or support.
In early 2015, AARP conducted a national survey of family caregiving and identified that many family caregivers struggle with tasks that nurses typically perform. Family caregivers spend an average of 24.4 hours per week providing care, while nearly one in four spends more than 40 hours – that's a full-time job without the full-time pay. Knowing this strain on family caregivers, it’s important to understand how to best support them.
Nurses are well situated to support family caregivers, and help provide them with the skills, knowledge and resources needed to care for family members and loved at home. To facilitate this connection, The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at the University of California Davis created the Family Caregiving Institute, where nurse leaders develop systems and tools that train and support family caregivers in their role as caregivers, including how best to manage and deliver complex nursing tasks.
The Family Caregiving Institute is dedicated to the well-being of those who care for others, helping family caregivers by equipping them with knowledge and tools to deliver quality care. Another goal of the institute is to improve abilities of health care professionals to partner with and support family caregivers. For example, nurse leaders at the school will work to develop resources for practicing health professionals that will empower them to be more effective in anticipating and meeting the needs of caregivers. Important partnerships are another important par of this work, including one with AARP that led to the development of a video series to help train family caregivers in medical tasks.
Improving the training and support of family caregivers is another way we are helping to improve the quality and outcomes of patient care.
SEE 2018 ANNUAL REPORT