Family Caregiving During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has negatively impacted persons with existing chronic health conditions. The pandemic also has the potential to exacerbate stresses of family caregiving. We compare family caregivers with non-caregivers on physical, psychosocial, and financial well-being outcomes during the pandemic and determine family caregivers most at risk for adverse outcomes.We conducted a cross-sectional online survey of 576 family caregivers and 2,933 non-caregivers from April-May 2020 in Pittsburgh, PA region with a national supplement. Outcome measures included concurrent anxiety, depression, fatigue, sleep disturbance, social participation; and financial well-being); and perceived changes due to COVID-19 (loneliness, financial well-being, food security). We also measured socio-demographic; caregiving contextual variables; and COVID-related caregiver stressors (COVID Caregiver Risk Index).Controlling for socio-demographics, family caregivers reported higher anxiety; depression; fatigue; sleep disturbance; lower social participation; lower financial well-being; increased food insecurity (all p < .01) and increased financial worries (p=.01). Caregivers who reported more COVID-related caregiver stressors and disruptions reported more adverse outcomes (all p < .01). In addition, caregivers who were female, younger, lower income, providing both personal / medical care, and providing care for cognitive / behavioral / emotional problems reported more adverse outcomes.Challenges of caregiving are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Family caregivers reported increased duties, burdens, and resulting adverse health, psychosocial, and financial outcomes. Results were generally consistent with caregiver stress-health process models. Family caregivers should receive increased support during this serious public health crisis.
Authors: Scott R Beach, Richard Schulz, Heidi Donovan, Ann-Marie Rosland