Consulting Online Healthcare Information: E-Caregivers as Knowledgeable Decision Makers

Consulting Online Healthcare Information: E-Caregivers as Knowledgeable Decision Makers

Mary Schmeida (Kent State University, Kent, OH, USA) and Ramona McNeal (University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA, USA)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/IJCCP.2016010104
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Abstract

Home caregivers provide multidimensional support to family and friends who are aged, disabled, and unable to care for self. Often experiencing the negative effects of caregiver stress, they face potential physical and emotional strain, changes in health requiring emergency treatment, and financial burden. Today, families are turning to mobile technology to lessen their burden and to cope with the stress of caring for members through activities including healthcare information searches. The purpose of this study is to explore how the Internet is helping caretakers to make decisions on the selection of doctors and treatment options. Multivariate regression analysis and individual level data from the Pew Internet and American Life Project is used. The authors' findings suggest that while caregivers are using the Internet for making decisions on family health needs, they are not as likely to use it to protect their own health.
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Background

Home caregivers provide support to family and friends who are aged, disabled, and unable to care for self. The number of U.S. adults providing unpaid care to an adult 18 years or older has increased from 27% in 2010 to 36% for August-September 2012 (Pew Research Center, June 2013, p. 8). In addition to assisting with activities of daily living, newer reports (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2014) show the scope of home caregiving has broadened as they assume traditional nursing tasks, such as medication management, wound care and working with medical equipment. This multitasking role requires both physical effort and informed decision making.

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