Informal Caregivers : An Informal Caregiver

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. The second type is referred to as an informal caregiver. These individuals are unpaid and are typically a spouse, partner, family member, friend, or neighbor who are involved in assisting others with activities of daily living and/or medical tasks (“Population,” 2014). According to the Family Caregiver Alliance National Center on Caregiving, it is estimated that in the United States (US) “approximately 43.5 million caregivers have provided unpaid care to an adult or child in the last 12 months” (Population, 2014). They also state that “the value of services provided by informal caregivers has steadily increased over the last decade, with an estimated economic value of $470 billion in 2013, up from $450 billion in 2009 and $375 billion in 2007” (“Population,” 2014). With informal caregivers providing a large amount of valuable services it is the duty of all health care professionals to provide resources, and tools to support their efforts in providing care. With occupational therapy placing a high value on a holistic view for treatment it only stands to reason that providing education to caregivers would fit into the scope of practice. It is typical for a spouse or close family member to assume the role of caregiver after an injury or illness. In most cases these individuals are ill-equipped to manage the daily challenges required to care for another individual. This places informal caregivers at a high risk for emotional, mental, and physical health problems.
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