Almost 20 million U.S. residents are performing complex medical and nursing tasks for those they care for, performing duties generally reserved for health-care professionals, according to a report from the Home Alone Alliance. This number represents about half of all people who care for friends and family members at home.
These tasks include administering injections, managing tube feedings, and handling medical equipment. According to the report, some of the most common tasks performed by at-home caregivers include:
- managing medications (82%)
- assisting with mobility devices (51%)
- managing special diets (41%)
- wound care (37%)
- incontinence management (30%)
In addition, 70% of caregivers assist with managing chronic pain, which the study authors said increases caregivers’ stress and worry – particularly because of the ongoing opioid addiction epidemic.
Although most caregivers are doing this work, many are “alone in learning how to perform these tasks,” according to an AARP representative. Although many caregivers are concerned about making a mistake, most continuing performing these tasks because they feel they have no choice.