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The effect of disability on the needs of caregivers

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Purpose ‐ The perception among carers and health professionals is that the health care system remains limited in its effectiveness and accessibility to non-institutionalized people with a mental illness. The purpose of this paper is to determine the effect of the care recipient's main disabling condition (either physical or mental) on the carer's perceived need for assistance in their role as carer. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Based on the data collected from the Australian Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, the investigation involves the non-institutionalized recipients of care with profound and severe disabilities, aged 15 years and over, residing in private dwellings and their primary informal carers. Findings ‐ Regression analysis reveals that carers of those with a mental disability are 2.7 times more likely to report care needs unmet compared to carers of those with a physical disability. Further analysis using interactions shows that carers who are the adult children of mentally disabled parents report a comparatively very large amount of perceived unmet need. Originality/value ‐ If equity is measured in terms of perceived need rather than finite resources a case is made that primary carers of people with a mental disability experience greater burdens in care.
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Keywords: Australia; Carers; Disabilities; Mentally handicapped people; Physically handicapped people

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 5, 2009

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