To use or not to use. A literature review of factors that influence family caregivers’ use of support services.

Mast ME.
J Gerontol Nurs. 2013 Jan;39(1):20-8; quiz 29.

SOURCE:  Department of Nursing, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, USA.

Many family caregivers of frail older adults postpone or decline accessible and affordable services such as respite, despite their acknowledgement of unmet needs for support and time away from the burdens and stress of caregiving. How caregivers perceive their need for services, and the factors that influence their decisions to use or not to use services, remain poorly understood. This article reviews the literature on family caregiving and the complex interrelated factors that influence caregivers’ choices regarding support services. It organizes these factors into four areas: (a) service characteristics, (b) personal predisposing factors that affect perceived need, (c) experiential coping and decision-making patterns, and (d) relational factors. It also examines the implications of this evidence for nursing assessments and interventions with frail older adults and their family caregivers.