Family Support

Health Affairs published a study showing family members aka “informal caregivers” provide two extra “shifts” of care per resident weekly in assisted living communities. This equates to 65 hours per month per resident, according to the study.

These informal caregivers need training and compensation. The burden on family caregivers is greater in assisted living than in nursing homes.

Informal caregivers — called the “invisible workforce” — provide “substantial” amounts of care even after loved ones move to a community or facility that has paid staff members. Although the authors could not determine whether the level of informal care was based on preference or low staffing levels, they said it raises questions about how residents without such informal caregivers have their needs met.

Visitor bans during the pandemic, which essentially eliminated this “invisible workforce,” contributed to the burnout in long-term care facilities due to increased care demands on staff members on top of the “extra work” they needed to perform related to COVID-19 protocols and infections, the investigators said.