Contributing to evidence-based health policy decisions
P S Arno, C Levine, and M M Memmott. The economic value of informal caregiving. Health Affairs, March/April 1999; 18(2): 182-188. [Abstract] This study explores the current market value of the care provided by unpaid family members and friends to ill and disabled adults. Using large, national data sets we estimate that the national economic value of informal caregiving was $196 billion in 1997. This figure dwarfs national spending for formal home health care ($32 billion) and nursing home care ($83 billion). Estimates for five states also are presented. This study broadens the issue of informal caregiving from the micro level, where individual caregivers attempt to cope with the stresses and responsibilities of caregiving, to the macro level of the health care system, which must find more effective ways to support family caregivers.