Informal Long-Term Care: Policy Brief

Table of Contents

Introduction

Informal caregiving is a widely accepted alternative to official care providers when a person’s relatives and close circle are in charge. The service is often called unpaid, although it does not necessarily mean that it leads to saving money, as the budget may be reallocated to other needs. Informal care providers are also often uneducated on proper ways to tend to a person. Interpersonal relationships have a special significance, and they may adversely impact caregiving, which is avoidable while cooperating with formal care providers. Thus, informal care suffers from multiple issues that require new policies to be implemented to amend them.

Main body

The proposed policy’s main idea is to combine formal and informal forms of caregiving to compensate for their drawbacks. The notion that they oppose each other is still prevalent, but it is hard to overlook the benefits that their complementary cooperation provides (Murphy & Turner, 2017). First of all, the forms of care provision address different needs of a care receiver, and relying only on one of them may not be fulfilling (Burchardt et al., 2018). Informal caregiving has adverse employment effects, especially on women who tend to be primary providers of care (Barbieri & Ghibelli, 2018). This means that they have fewer opportunities to either be employed or work more hours, which affects the family’s budget (Barbieri & Ghibelli, 2018). Combining both types of caregiving may alleviate those problems and the issue of informal caregivers experiencing a decrease in their quality of life (van den Broek & Grundy, 2018). Thus, the suggested policy will address how it will tackle the gaps made by relying only on one form of care.

The model of integrated care suggested in the policy is complementary, meaning that formal care is used to compensate for the shortages of the informal one. Initially, family members and friends might find it difficult to care for a person without experience. However, the model implies that they will observe a formal care provider’s actions and learn the fundamentals. Consequently, informal caregivers can be responsible for a care receiver’s minor needs, while trained specialists are occupied with major ones (Li & Song, 2019). The task distribution is an inherent part of the model, and it allows families to resolve the issues mentioned before. While financial implications remain vague, it is important to reiterate that informal care faces employment issues, and using a formal provider to work properly might be profitable in perspective (Barbieri & Ghibelli, 2018). Moreover, the proposed model’s higher costs can be justified by the absence of deterioration of quality of life and the increased satisfaction from caring for a person (Schneider & Kleindienst, 2015). Overall, the integration of both caregiving forms that prioritizes complementary task distribution can fill the gaps in informal long-term care.

Other similar solutions to the issue exist, but they might not be equally potent. For instance, another integration model is supplementary, and it implies that care providers are interchangeable and able to perform similar tasks (Li & Song, 2019). However, such an approach would be more suitable for families that have trained caregivers, as an average family is likely to have difficulties ensuring the same quality of care as professionals. Furthermore, the model has weaker evidence compared to the complementary one (Li & Song, 2019). A possible semi-integrative solution is a nationwide educational program for informal caregivers. While it does tackle the issue of insufficient knowledge, other underlined problems, including costs, employment, and unmet needs, remain unresolved. Thus, the suggested policy has several alternatives, but they do not seem to remove as many burdens for informal caregivers as it does.

The model under discussion adheres to the main biblical principles. It implies that a family will be actively involved in caring for the members and not leave it entirely to other people, which is an act worthy of a believer (The Lockman Foundation, 1995). If one’s parents are those in need, caring for them ensures compliance with the respective commandment (The Lockman Foundation, 1995). One of the Proverbs states that there is safety in consulting a specialist, which is relevant for the model’s reliance on formal caregivers (The Lockman Foundation, 1995). Caring for others, not necessarily family members is also a virtue, and it is something that unrelated and formal care providers can bear in mind (The Lockman Foundation, 1995). Thus, The Bible endorses the proposed integrated care model, emphasizing the importance of familial and professional support.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this brief describes a potential policy for informal long-term care. The need for change comes from numerous issues associated with that form of caregiving. The suggested model integrates the formal and informal provision of care and focuses on the former’s instrumental role in supplementing the latter. The new approach removes the burden from families and care receivers’ close circle, resolving the issues of insufficient information, employment, quality of life, and others. The integrated model is supported by the biblical principles of helping others, respecting one’s family and elderly, and consulting those who are wiser. While the model might be costly, it is more viable than its alternatives and guarantees improvements in care providers’ mental health and satisfaction.

References

Barbieri, D., & Ghibelli, P. (Eds.) (2018). Formal versus informal long-term care: Economic and social impacts. Zenodo. Web.

Burchardt, T., Jones, R., & Obolenskaya, P. (2018). Journal of Social Policy, 47(03), 479–503. Web.

Li, J., & Song, Y. (2019). Formal and informal Care. In D. Gu & M. E. Dupre (Eds.), Encyclopedia of gerontology and population aging (pp. 847-855). Springer.

Murphy, C., & Turner, T. (2017). . International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 37(3/4), 134–147. Web.

Schneider, U., & Kleindienst, J. (2015). Monetising the provision of informal long-term care by elderly people: Estimates for European out-of-home caregivers based on the well-being valuation method. Health & Social Care in the Community, 24(5), 81–91. Web.

The Lockman Foundation (1995). New American Standard Bible. Foundation Publications, Inc.

van den Broek, T., & Grundy, E. (2018). . Ageing and Society, 40(6), 1291-1308. Web.

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