ERIC Number: ED296233
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Family Caregivers' Perspectives on Institutionalization Decisions.
Townsend, Aloen L.
Family caregivers may face ethical dilemmas when deciding whether a parent or spouse should enter a nursing home. There is considerable evidence that decisions about institutionalization are usually stressful and difficult for family members. This study obtained qualitative and quantitative data from two studies conducted at the Margaret Blenkner Research Center of the Benjamin Rose Institute to illustrate six ethical issues involved in family caregiving and institutionalization. The first study involved a survey of 614 family members living with and caring for an impaired elderly spouse or parent and a follow-up study 4 years later with 146 of the original families, 35 of whom had institutionalized the elder during that time. The second study was a 6-year panel study of family decision making and caregiving which involved 400 caregiving families, 32 of whom had institutionalized an elderly parent. Combining both studies, 67 families were interviewed before and after the elder's institutionalization. Results of the interviews revealed dilemmas arising because of: (1) difficulties inherent in defining what is best for the individual elder; (2) problems in delineating caregivers' responsibilities toward the parent or spouse; (3) conflicts of interest or competing obligations; (4) policies, services, and reimbursement mechanisms for long-term care; (5) tension between such values as autonomy and paternalism; (6) different perceptions among caregivers; and (7) the quality of family relationships. (Forty-one references are supplied.) (NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHHS), Bethesda, MD. Center for Studies of the Mental Health of the Aging.; Retirement Research Foundation.
Authoring Institution: Benjamin Rose Inst., Cleveland, OH.
Note: Based on a paper presented at "Ethical Issues in Health Care for the Elderly: A National Interdisciplinary Conference" (Memphis, TN, April 1986).