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Supporting family caregiver engagement in the care of old persons living in hard to reach communities: A scoping review

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Today, 8.5% of the world's population is 65 and over, and this statistic will reach 17% by 2050 (He et al., U.S. Census Bureau, international population reports, P95/16‐1, An ageing world: 2015, U.S., 2016). They are the people who, with increasing age, will find themselves more closely interfacing with the national health system, which in many countries shows strong imbalances between rural and urban areas. In this context, a fundamental role is played by the relatives who find themselves becoming informal caregivers to compensate for lack of services. To date, however, little has been done to help these people. In this article, we want to identify the nature and extent of research evidence that had its objective to help informal caregivers in rural, hard to reach areas (Grant & Booth, Health Information & Libraries Journal, 2009, 26, 91). Following the approach set out by Arksey and O’Malley (International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 2005, 8, 19), we conducted a scoping review in May 2018 and closed the review with an update in September 2018. We identified 14 studies published from 2012, the European Year of Active Ageing, promoted by the European Commission, which had three domains of implementation: emotional support to decrease the emotional burden of caregivers, educational support to increase their skills, and organisational support to improve the mobility of caregivers and carereceivers. Although informal caregivers play a fundamental role in many countries, the studies that have been involved in alleviating their caring burden are few; nevertheless, they provide interesting indications. This lack of attention confirms how this portion of the population is still neglected by scientific research and risks having unequal access to health and social care. Future research is needed, not only to create and improve services to caregivers in rural, hard to reach areas, but also to evaluate and focus on the participation and the engagement of caregivers in the co‐design of these services.
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Keywords: caregiver engagement; family engagement; hard to reach contexts; health; informal caregiving; rural areas; scoping review

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2019

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