According to the National Alliance for Caregiving,1 in any given year more than 65 million people provide care for a chronically ill, disabled, or aged family member or friend. The caregiver burden must be considered when planning discharge to home for a chronically critically ill patient. All members of the interdisciplinary team can be instrumental in providing support for these caregivers in the transition to home.
We know there is a high incidence of depression in caregivers of the chronically critically ill, and the caregiver burden is as much emotional as physical. We also know that lifestyle restrictions of the caregiver in personal and social areas may diminish over time, depending on a patient’s functional status. However, a patient’s physical and psychological problem behaviors can continue over time.