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Caregiver Burden and Institutionalization, Hospital Use, and Stability of Care: Final Report

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This study assessed a variety of longitudinal models to examine the effect of different types of caregiver burden on outcomes important to policymakers: nursing home admissions, hospital use, and stability of the family and formal care networks. Analyses were carried out on the 1982 National Long-Term Care Survey (NLTCS) and the 1984 NLTCS Longitudinal Follow-up, along with the 1982-1983 Informal Caregiver Survey. Among some of the findings: informal caregiver networks were found to be highly stable over time; formal caregiver networks fluctuated more, apparently responding more to time-specific needs. Caregivers who reported higher levels of "personal burden" (a dimension that included a number of elements such as lack of free time, having to provide care when the caregiver was sick, the caregiver experiencing worsening health, having to provide constant attention, etc.) were more likely over time to use or increase use of formal services. Caregivers who reported higher levels of "interpersonal burden" (a dimension that measured stress-producing characteristics of the care recipient such as senility, forgetfulness, yelling, and embarrassing behavior) were more likely over time to seek institutional placement for the elderly disabled care recipient. [89 PDF pages]