Predictors of digital support services use by informal caregivers: a cross-sectional comparative survey
- Hassan AY, Lamura G, Hagedoorn M
- Predictors of digital support services use by informal caregivers: a cross-sectional comparative survey
- BMJ Open
- doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-059897
OBJECTIVES: Digital support services may provide informal caregivers with remote access to information and training about care issues. However, there is limited specific data on how factors such as demographics, socioeconomic resources and the caregiving context may influence caregivers' use of digital support services. The aim of this study is to identify associations between informal caregiver's characteristics and the use of the internet to access digital support services in two countries: Italy and Sweden.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: A sample of 663 respondents who have access to the internet participated in a cross-sectional survey by completing the online questionnaire. Respondents were recruited by the Italian National Institute of Health and Science on Ageing and the Swedish Family Care Competence Centre.
PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Logistic regression analyses were performed to assess predictors of caregivers' frequent use of the internet to access digital support services.
RESULTS: Educational attainment (OR 3.649, 95% CI 1.424 to 9.350, p=0.007), hours per week spent caring (OR 2.928, 95% CI 1.481 to 5.791, p=0.002), total household income (OR 0.378, 95% CI 0.149 to 0.957, p=0.040), care recipient relationship to the caregiver (OR 2.895, 95% CI 1.037 to 8.083, p=0.042) and gender of care recipient (OR 0.575, 95% CI 0.356 to 0.928, p=0.023) were significant predictors in the multivariate analysis for the Italian caregivers group. Hours per week spent caring (OR 2.401, 95% CI 1.105 to 5.218, p=0.027) and age of caregiver (OR 2.237, 95% CI 1.150 to 4.352, p=0.018) were significant predictors in the multivariate analysis for the Swedish caregivers group.
CONCLUSIONS: Digital support services could be important tools to empower informal caregivers. When it comes to policy and practice in relation to caregivers, similarly to other broad vulnerable groups, there is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach, and it is therefore important to consider the specific characteristics and needs of both caregivers and care recipients.