Family Caregiving: A Vision for the Future
Sexual and Gender Minorities
The authors of this review both served on the National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Committee that produced the report, "Caring for an Aging America". In this commentary we summarize key findings and recommendations most relevant to clinicians and researchers in geriatric psychiatry and related disciplines. The report notes the growing prevalence of family caregiving in the United States, especially those caring for high-need patients with multiple chronic conditions, disability, and/or cognitive impairment. To support the capacity of family caregivers to perform critical caregiving tasks, the report recommends a major shift in healthcare policy toward collaborative partnerships among patients, their defined family, and providers of care. Optimizing the role of family caregivers will minimally require systematic attention to the identification, assessment, and support of family caregivers throughout the care delivery process. Research is needed to develop the tools and protocols to efficiently assess caregivers, and identify ways in which they can be integrated into existing clinical practices. We also need research to identify how to best implement, maintain, and evaluate caregiver support programs within clinical and community settings. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should be charged with developing, testing, and implementing provider payment reforms that motivate providers to engage and support family caregivers. Payment reforms should include clearly articulated performance standards that hold providers accountable for caregiver engagement, training, and support by explicitly including caregiver outcomes in quality measures.