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Keywords

caregivers, health equity, health inequalities, nurses, social determinants of health

 

Authors

  1. Savela, Roosa-Maria
  2. Nykanen, Irma
  3. Schwab, Ursula
  4. Valimaki, Tarja

Abstract

Background: Although the academic literature has focused on family caregivers' health outcomes, little is known about the social and environmental determinants of health and the extent to which they relate to health disparities among family caregivers caring for older adults.

 

Objectives: The purpose of the study was to describe the prevalence of diseases and the association with social and environmental determinants of health among family caregivers caring for older adults in Finland.

 

Methods: A cross-sectional analysis was conducted. The study participants were interviewed on sociodemographic factors, comorbidity, and the World Health Organization Quality of Life Questionnaire. Independent-samples t-test, analysis of variance, and chi-square analyses were used to assess the social and environmental factors' association with health outcomes.

 

Results: A total of 126 family caregivers participated in this study. The mean age of study participants was 74.4 years, and most were female, married, and from an urban area. Family caregivers' older age and lower financial satisfaction were the main factors associated with the health inequalities. Older age was associated with age-related eye disorders, hearing impairment, coronary heart disease, and comorbidity. Family caregivers' lower financial satisfaction was associated with diabetes, depression, and higher body mass index. Other factors linked to health disparities were family caregivers' gender, educational attainment, and the municipality of living.

 

Discussion: This study provides evidence about family caregivers' social and environmental determinants of health. To enhance health equity, nurse-led interventions, a life course approach, and intersectional actions are required.