COVID-19 presents unique challenges for caregivers, study finds

COVID-19 presents unique challenges for caregivers not present in other patients including in managing infection, engaging support services and patient independence, a study done by researchers at Ann Arbor-based University of Michigan found. 

Researchers surveyed COVID-19 intensive care unit patients hospitalized in Southeastern Michigan between the start of the U.S. pandemic and October 2020. They interviewed 32 patients after discharge and 32 caregivers. 

While the desire for patient independence was seen across many disabling illnesses, Sheria Robinson-Lane, PhD, RN, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing, says cognitive changes in severe COVID-19 cases can present special challenges for families and caregivers. 

"The cognitive changes that can occur with a severe COVID-19 infection are perhaps more unexpected for families, not usually discussed, and can make caregiving … extra stressful," Dr. Robinson-Lane said in the press release. 

Because COVID-19 is highly transmissible, managing infections prior to vaccines was especially difficult because caregivers could be easily at risk for infection themselves. As a result, they had to balance their self-care needs with potential risks to public health. 

Dr. Robinson-Lane added that caregivers had to manage their own COVID-related illness, were not always allowed at patients' bedsides and had to deal with continued isolation after discharge. 

The study also confirmed previous research that showed the bulk of caregivers are women, with 75 percent of caregivers in the study identifying as female and 75 percent of patients identifying as male. 

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars