Family caregivers who receive a high level of care from a family doctor found to have lower stress levels
People caring for family members at home (family caregivers) face more substantial psychological and physical challenges than non-caregivers. Therefore, health care professionals should pay attention to the stress of family caregivers. Although it has been reported that most family caregivers favor psychological support for their caregiving responsibilities from their family doctor, no studies have examined whether the primary care functions of that physician can affect the stress related to caregiving.
A new study published in the Journal of General and Family Medicine examined the relation between a family doctor's primary care function and the stress related to caregiving among family caregivers. Questionnaire data from 406 family caregivers who had a family doctor were collected and analyzed. The results revealed that family caregivers experiencing higher primary care functions had lower stress levels related to caregiving.
Furthermore, this study showed that among the elements of primary care functions, longitudinality, including focusing holistically on the individual, and comprehensiveness regarding the building of doctor-patient relationships that make consultation easier when needed were associated with lower stress.
Although many studies have shown that enhanced primary care functions benefit people, the results of this study indicate that high primary care functions reduce the stress of family caregivers. This finding could be a valuable resource for considering the importance of strengthening primary care functions and how to support family caregivers.
More information: Gen Nakayama et al, Association between family caregivers' primary care experience when they report as patients and their stress related to caregiving: A pilot cross‐sectional study, Journal of General and Family Medicine (2023). DOI: 10.1002/jgf2.631