Advantages and Challenges: The Experience of Geriatrics Health Care Providers as Family Caregivers.

Academic Article


  • PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: Very little is known about family caregivers who are also geriatrics health care professionals. This exploratory study examines the dual roles of such professionals, the impact of their geriatrics expertise on the care of family members, and the influence of those caregiver experiences on their clinical practice. DESIGN AND METHODS: The research team recruited 16 geriatrics health care professionals who participated in 60- to 90-min individual interviews, based on a semistructured guide. Questions explored participants' dual experiences as geriatrics professionals and as family caregivers. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using qualitative data analysis software. Using a thematic analysis approach, the authors identified recurring themes, coding responses into both major themes and subthemes. RESULTS: The authors found 3 major themes: (a) dual role advantages and disadvantages, (b) emotional impact of dual roles, and (c) professional impact of family caregiving. Participants reported their own geriatrics expertise provided both advantages and disadvantages in caring for their older family members. Although their expertise introduced a significant emotional intensity to their personal caregiving experiences, those experiences positively influenced their professional insight, empathy, and advocacy for the caregivers of their own patients. IMPLICATIONS: In addition to the well-known burdens of caregiving, a further set of complex stressors is imposed on geriatrics health care professionals serving as family caregivers. The challenges they face despite their expertise also highlight critical challenges facing all caregivers.
  • Authors

  • Wohlgemuth, Clare M
  • Auerbach, Heidi P
  • Parker, Victoria
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • August 2015
  • Published In

  • Gerontologist  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Caregiver stress
  • Caregivers
  • Caregiving
  • Emotions
  • Empathy
  • Family
  • Female
  • Geriatrics
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Qualitative Research
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Social Support
  • Social roles
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 24381174
  • Start Page

  • 595
  • End Page

  • 604
  • Volume

  • 55
  • Issue

  • 4