A 2012 study by the AARP Public Policy Institute and the United Hospital Fund reported that nearly half of caregivers perform complex medical and nursing care at home, such as managing multiple medications, preparing meals to adhere to a special diet, and attending to wounds. Caregivers reported that these tasks are difficult and many would like to receive training, particularly for medication management since the result of making a mistake is so dire.
In order to build on those findings, we asked caregivers:
Do you manage medications for the people you help care for, such as checking to be sure they are taken properly or refilling prescriptions, or is this not something you do for them?
Thirty-nine percent of caregivers say yes, they manage medications. Women are more likely than men to say they manage a loved one’s medications: 47% of female caregivers do so, compared with 38% of male caregivers. Caregivers age 30 and older are more likely than those between the ages of 18 to 29 to say they manage medications. There are no significant differences among education, income, or ethnic groups.
Of those who manage medications, 18% say they use online or mobile tools, such as websites or apps, to do so, which translates to 7% of all caregivers. College graduates are the most likely group to use technology to track medications. Otherwise, there are no significant differences among caregivers along age, income, or ethnic lines.
Nine in ten caregivers own a cell phone and one-third have used it to gather health information
Eighty-seven percent of caregivers in the United States own a cell phone and, of those, 37% say they have used their phone to look for health or medical information online. This is significantly higher than the rate of mobile health search among non-caregivers at the time of the survey: 84% of non-caregivers own a cell phone and 27% have used their phone to look online for health information.