Celebrating Our Nation’s Caregivers: Helping Families Face New Realities During COVID-19 Pandemic

Published November 13, 2020

Join us in recognizing National Family Caregivers Month this November!

Turn-Key Health, a CareCentrix company, recognizes the critical role of family caregivers and their ongoing support, especially those who support loved ones with serious illness.  As we celebrate National Family Caregivers Month this November, we acknowledge their tireless efforts to optimize individual patient care and care coordination and improve quality of life in the home.

Caregiving often places significant stress on the life of the caregiver, making it challenging for them to maintain their own physical and emotional health. They are called upon to fulfill so many duties, including a smooth transition from care facilities to the home after discharge.  Supporting these unsung heroes during these uncertain times must become a priority for the country — now and into the future.

Growing Need for Caregivers

More than one in five Americans (21.3 percent) are caregivers, having provided care to an adult or child with special needs at some time in the past 12 months. This totals an estimated 53 million adults in the United States, up from the estimated 43.5 million caregivers in 2015.

Key findings about the nearly 48 million caregivers caring for someone over the age of 18 include:

  • 19% provide unpaid care to an adult with health or functional needs
  • 24% care for more than one person
  • 26% have difficulty coordinating care
  • 26% care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
  • 23% say caregiving has made their own health worse
  • 61% of family caregivers also work

Many family caregivers feel powerless to the demands caused by caring for a loved one, leading to emotional, physical and financial difficulties. In fact, 36 percent of family caregivers consider their situation highly stressful, with half of this high-stress group providing more than 20 hours of care each week. Once these individuals reach their limit of fatigue and depression, they often become unable to continue their caregiving duties.

Playing a Critical Role

As the country continues to age, there is a critical need to support in-home caregivers. Caregivers increasingly provide and monitor complex care at home, navigating the care system, advocating for their care recipient and paying for services to help the person with care needs.

To support caregivers in their quest to accomplish all that needs done on a day-to-day basis, Turn-Key Health offers Palliative Illness Management™ (PIM).  PIM is an innovative, high-touch, home-based program designed to motivate patients and caregivers to be fully engaged in choosing and implementing a plan of care that optimizes quality of life and results in treatment decisions in concordance with individual goals, preferences and values.  PIM clinician teams provide caregivers significant assistance, support and much relief from the ongoing burdens of taking care of loved ones with serious illness.

During National Family Caregiver Month, we applaud the extraordinary work of family caregivers, especially because many of them probably received little to no preparation or training for taking on these responsibilities. This is a serious and important consideration in the context of planning for home-based care.