TABLE 6-2 Health-Related Responsibilities Assumed by Informal Caregivers





Provide emotional support

Discuss ongoing life challenges, troubleshoot problems, facilitate and participate in leisure activities


Encourage patient self-care activities

Prompt patient’s engagement in health care, encourage lifestyle (diet, exercise) and treatment adherence


Manage household activities

Inventory, purchase food and medications, prepare meals


Arrange medical care

Schedule tests, procedures, and services


Facilitate transportation

Provide transportation to medical appointments and emergency hospital visits

Patient extender

Facilitate provider understanding

Attend appointments; clarify and expand on patient history, symptoms, concerns; introduce topics to provider

Technical interpreter

Facilitate patient understanding

Clarify providers’ explanations, technical terms, record and remember discussions with providers

Decision maker

Make medical decisions

Select among treatment alternatives; decide among settings of care


Coordinate care across providers and settings

Ensure flow of information among providers

Financial manager

Handle financial issues

Resolve issues relating to insurance claims, secondary coverage, co-pays, and benefit limits

Health provider

Deliver medical care

Administer medications, operate equipment


Provide task assistance

Hands-on personal care task assistance


Assess health status

Ensure that changes in health status are noted and properly addressed

SOURCE: Wolff, 2007.

cent) also fulfill medically oriented tasks such as helping with wound care, injections, equipment, or medication administration (Wolff and Kasper, 2006). A study following stroke and traumatic brain injury patients and their caregivers from hospital discharge found that during the home health period, families provided three-fourths of total patient care hours (Levine et al., 2006).

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