CVS/pharmacy and Caring Today Survey Shows Family Caregivers Find Caring for Loved Ones More Rewarding Than Anticipated

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

WOONSOCKET, R.I. and WESTPORT, Conn., July 10 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study released today by CVS/pharmacy and Caring Today magazine found that family caregivers find the caregiving experience more enjoyable than anticipated and form a greater bond with the care recipient than expected. Additionally it revealed that prepared caregivers have a more positive experience than those who were unprepared.

The CVS/pharmacy and Caring Today 2007 Caregiver Insights Study: Well- Being and Care Management was conducted to better understand the impact of caregiving on caregivers' lives. The survey examined many aspects of family caregiving, including relationships, impact on health and emotional well- being, available resources and medication management.

According to the study, the vast majority of participants (76 percent) reported that, in general, they enjoyed the tasks associated with being a family caregiver. In addition, 54 percent indicated that they have bonded with their care recipient more than they had anticipated.

The study also found that the level of preparedness makes a difference in the caregiving experience. While only 26 percent of respondents found themselves prepared for the role of caregiver, the ones that were prepared were significantly less likely to experience feelings of depression. Prepared caregivers were also significantly more likely than unprepared caregivers to eat properly, feel focused and continue to see friends.

"While it's difficult for anyone to really be prepared to take on the monumental challenge of being the primary caregiver for someone, this study shows that it's never too early to start thinking that one day this might be a reality -- and to start learning about resources out there to help," said Victor Imbimbo, president and CEO of Caring Today, LLC.

Caregiving and Medication

The CVS/pharmacy and Caring Today study also surveyed trends in medication management by caregivers. Caregivers reported that their care recipients take an average of 4.5 prescription drugs and 46 percent take five or more. The vast majority (87 percent) of respondents reported that understanding medication is very important to them. Caregivers' primary concerns are not knowing enough about how drugs interact (36 percent) and not being able to recognize side effects (21 percent).

"Caregiver confusion about medications is understandable, especially when administering more than one," says Papatya Tankut, vice president, Pharmacy Professional Services at CVS/pharmacy. "Caregivers can have questions about side effects, adverse interactions, and timing of dosages. We encourage them to discuss these questions with their pharmacists, in addition to the prescribing physician."

The study revealed that fewer than half of caregivers (46 percent) talk with the pharmacist to learn more about the medications their care recipient is taking. The survey also found that in less than 44 percent of responses, all of a person's medicines are coordinated by one doctor. And in as much as 20 percent of the cases, the care recipient's prescriptions are filled at multiple pharmacies.

"To avoid potential interactions, caregivers should inform their doctor and pharmacist of all the prescriptions, over the counter medications, herbal remedies and vitamins a patient is taking," advised Tankut.

Help for Caregivers

CVS Pharmacists are always available for in-store consultations with caregivers regarding medication management for their loved ones. In addition, CVS/pharmacy offers tools and resources for caregivers to help better manage medications for their loved ones.

As part of the "Extra Care for Caregivers" program, www.cvs.com/care will launch in July. The website will feature answers to frequently asked questions on caregiving and a downloadable medication management tool. The medication management tool is an easy way for a caregiver to track the various medications the care recipient is taking. In addition, caregivers can link to additional services like power of attorney forms and the National Council on Aging's BenefitsCheckUp tool, which can help caregivers find and enroll in federal, state, local and private programs to help pay for prescription drugs, utility bills, meals, healthcare and other needs.

Survey Methodology

The CVS/pharmacy and Caring Today 2007 Caregiver Insights Study conducted by Anderson Analytics is an online survey of 514 qualified adults 18 and over fielded between April 26, 2007 and May 20, 2007. The survey participants are from a proprietary panel and were prescreened to qualify for the study. Margin of error of +/-4.3% at the 95% confidence level.