Who Are the Family Caregivers?: Epidemiologic Research

Saturday, 26 July 2014: 4:10 PM

Maria Joana Campos, RN, MScN
Escola Superior de Enfermagem do Porto, Oporto College of Nursing, Porto, Portugal
Abel Paiva Silva, PhD, MScN, RN
Oporto College of Nursing, Porto, Portugal


Nowadays, many numbers of family members assume a great responsibility for taking care of a dependent person at home.

Taking care of a dependent person is not an easy task; it involves a new kind of skills and knowledge to be prepared for this new role.

Oliveira and Colleagues (2011) comparing patients with readmissions in hospital settings, and found less acute diseases (19.8%) and ontological diseases (5.5%), but more infections (44.0%) and exacerbation of chronic diseases (25.3%). These kinds of health problems may be associated with family caregiving skills or lack of preparedness to caregiver role.

 So, we need to know more about it to provide professional care for family caregivers.

Caregivers dispend a lot of time on care, which has implications in its own health and dependent person´s health (Campos, 2008).


So, we proposed a study with the main objective:

  • Characterize families with dependent people: income, household, the attributes of de person with dependence and the attributes of caregiver.

  • Describe the intensity and regularity of care providing by family caregivers and the perceptions of self-efficacy in role acquisition


  Quantitative research was used. We use an epidemiological study using a random sample. We used the formula published by WHO (Lwanga e Lemeshow, 1991) (n = Z2 p (1-p) /d) for these kind of studies.

Our sample is 2351 classic families. We have used a Geographical Database Referencing Information, which allows knowing the geographic distribution of households, and geographically stratified random selection of sub-regional accomplished through a system Geographic Information, using Arcgis®.

 The data were collect by a form. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences - SPSS (version 18.0, SPSS Inc, Chicago, USA).


Of these 2351 households, 1745 (74.22 %) had someone at the time of data collection opened the door, but 143 (8.2%) refused to answer the preliminary inquiry. We have identified 121 dependent people at home, 100 have one family caregiver and 20 have more than one.

Regarding the primary family caregiver, they are mostly women (81 % , n = 81 ) , the age ranges are from 18 to 83 years , with an average 59.51 ( SD = 13.66 ) . The findings shows us that 70.2 % (n = 66) of the caregivers feels very competent, 19.1% (n = 18) moderately competent, 9.6 % (n = 9) competent and (n = 1) incompetent in relation of perception of self-efficacy.


In the context of home care and with regard to family caregivers , although the perception of self-efficacy does not refer to the skills that people have , but the idea they have about what they can do ( Bandura , 1986; Le Boterf 2003 ) , this may be a predictor of behaviour. However, to realize the competence of caregivers, other variables will have to enter the equation.

Must be developed a full range of services, including home care for support family caregivers in is needs and prepare for new role.