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Carers in the welfare state: on informal care and support for carers in Sweden
Ersta Sköndal University College, Institute for Civil Society Studies.
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

 

The general aim of this dissertation is to describe and analyse patterns of informal care and support for carers in Sweden. One specific aim is to study patterns of informal care from a broad population perspective in terms of types of care and types of carer. A typology of four different care categories based on what carers do revealed that women were much more likely than men to be involved at the ‘heavy end’ of caring, i.e. providing personal care in combination with a variety of other caring tasks. Men were more likely than women to provide some kind of practical help (Study I).

Another aim is to investigate which support services are received by which types of informal caregiver. Relatively few informal caregivers in any care category were found to be receiving any kind of support from municipalities or voluntary organizations, for example training or financial assistance (Study II).

The same study also examines which kinds of help care recipients receive in addition to that provided by informal carers. It appears that people in receipt of personal care from an informal caregiver quite often also receive help from the public care system, in this case mostly municipal services. However, the majority of those receiving personal, informal care did not receive any help from the public care system or from voluntary organizations or for-profit agencies (Study II).

The empirical material in studies I and II comprises survey data from telephone interviews with a random sample of residents in the County of Stockholm aged between 18 and 84.

In a number of countries there is a growing interest among social scientists and social policymakers in examining the types of support services that might be needed by people who provide informal care for older people and others. A further aim of the present dissertation is therefore to describe and analyse the carer support that is provided by municipalities and voluntary organizations in Sweden. The dissertation examines whether this support is aimed directly or indirectly at caregivers and discusses whether the Swedish government’s special financial investment in help for carers actually led to any changes in the support provided by municipalities and voluntary organisations. The main types of carer support offered by the municipalities were payment for care-giving, relief services and day care. The chief forms of carer support provided by the voluntary organizations were support groups, training groups, and a number of services aimed primarily at the elderly care recipients (Study III).

Patterns of change in municipal carer support could be discerned fairly soon. The Swedish government’s special allocation to municipalities and voluntary organisations appears to have led to an increase in the number of municipalities providing direct support for carers, such as training, information material and professional caregiver consultants. On the other hand, only minor changes could be discerned in the pattern of carer support services provided by the voluntary organizations. This demonstrates stability and the relatively low impact that policy initiatives seem to have on voluntary organizations as providers (Study IV).

In studies III and IV the empirical material consists of survey data from mail questionnaires sent to municipalities and voluntary organizations in the County of Stockholm.

In the fields of social planning and social work there appears to be a need to clarify the aims of support services for informal carers. Should the support be direct or indirect? Should it be used to supplement or substitute caregivers? In this process of reappraisal it will be important to take the needs of both caregivers and care recipients into account when developing existing and new forms of support. How informal caregivers and care recipients interact with the care system as a whole is undeniably a fertile field for further research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Social Work, Stockholm University , 2005. , 67 p.
Series
Stockholm studies of social work, ISSN 0281-2851 ; 22
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-167ISBN: 91-7155-119-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:esh-167DiVA: diva2:320938
Public defence
(English)
Available from: 2010-05-27 Created: 2010-05-27 Last updated: 2011-04-18Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Informal Care in Sweden: a Typology of Care and Caregivers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Informal Care in Sweden: a Typology of Care and Caregivers
2006 (English)In: International Journal of Social Welfare, ISSN 1369-6866, E-ISSN 1468-2397, Vol. 15, no 4, 332-343 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study describes and analyses the types of informal care provided in Sweden and whether it is possible to distinguish different types of carers. Data were collected in a Swedish county in 2000, by means of telephone interviews. The net sample consisted of 2,697 individuals 18–84 years old, and the response rate was 61 per cent. The results showed that there were large differences in the numbers of male and female carers when the data were divided into a typology of care categories based on different caring tasks. Women were much more likely than men to be involved at the ‘heavy end’ of caring, i.e. providing personal care in combination with a variety of other caring tasks. Men were more likely to provide some kind of practical help for a mother or a neighbour/friend. Even though the Swedish welfare state has been described as universal and characterised by an extensive system of benefits and services intended to cover the entire population, the results here indicate that informal care plays an important role and that the gender role patterns are similar to those observed in other types of welfare state. When discussing support systems it is important for social policy to develop programmes that take into account the support needs of both caregivers and care recipients, and not to see their needs in isolation from the social care system as a whole.

National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-163 (URN)10.1111/j.1468-2397.2006.00400.x (DOI)
Available from: 2010-05-27 Created: 2010-05-27 Last updated: 2011-04-18Bibliographically approved
2. Informal care and support for carers in Sweden: patterns of service receipt among informal caregivers and care recipients
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Informal care and support for carers in Sweden: patterns of service receipt among informal caregivers and care recipients
2004 (English)In: European Journal of Social Work, ISSN 1369-1457, E-ISSN 1468-2664, Vol. 7, no 1, 7-24 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study describes and analyses the kinds of support received by different categories of informal carers, and the kinds of help that care recipients receive in addition to that provided by various categories of carers. Data were collected in a Swedish county in 2000, by means of telephone interviews. The net sample consisted of 2,697 individuals 18-84 years old, and the response rate was 61%. The results showed that relatively few carers in any care category received any kind of support aimed directly at them as carers. The most widespread form of support received by providers of personal care was relief services. Those most likely to be receiving care from the public care system were people also receiving personal care from an informal caregiver. Nevertheless, the majority of those receiving personal care from an informal carer did not receive any help from the public care system or from voluntary organizations or for-profit agencies. These results indicate that social policy and social work need to clarify the aims of the services they provide. They also need to take the needs of both caregivers and recipients into account when discussing support systems.

National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-164 (URN)10.1080/136919145042000217465 (DOI)
Available from: 2010-05-27 Created: 2010-05-27 Last updated: 2011-04-18Bibliographically approved
3. Direct and Indirect Support for Carers: patterns of Support for Informal Caregivers to Elderly People in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Direct and Indirect Support for Carers: patterns of Support for Informal Caregivers to Elderly People in Sweden
2002 (English)In: Journal of gerontological social work, ISSN 0163-4372, Vol. 38, no 4, 67-84 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study examines what support services are offered to informal caregivers and whether the support is aimed directly or indirectly at the caters. Data were collected by means of two mail questionnaires in a Swedish county. The first questionnaire was aimed at each municipality in the region. The second questionnaire was sent to a random sample of 284 voluntary organizations in the region. Only the municipalities proved to have relief services, day care centers and two forms of payment for carers. The voluntary organizations' support for carers was focused on support groups and training as well as services for elderly care recipients. The results indicated that the support services for carers were both direct and indirect and that the municipalities and the voluntary organizations largely offer different kinds of support.

National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-165 (URN)10.1300/J083v38n04_07 (DOI)
Available from: 2010-05-27 Created: 2010-05-27 Last updated: 2011-04-18Bibliographically approved
4. Support for Carers of Older People: the Roles of the Public and Voluntary Sectors in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Support for Carers of Older People: the Roles of the Public and Voluntary Sectors in Sweden
2003 (English)In: Social Policy & Administration, ISSN 01445596, Vol. 37, no 7, 756-771 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study examines the support services offered to informal caregivers, whether directly or indirectly, in Sweden over the period of a special investment initiative between 1999 and 2001. Data were collected in a Swedish county using two separate mail questionnaires in 1999 and 2001. The first questionnaire was addressed to each municipality in the region. The second questionnaire was sent to a random sample of voluntary organizations in the area. The findings showed that only the municipalities provided direct forms of relief service, day care and financial support. The voluntary organizations’ support for carers focused on support groups and training as well as services for older care users themselves. There was a significant increase between 1999 and 2001 in the number of municipalities providing information material and training for carers and using professional caregiver consultants. On the one hand, the Swedish public social care system appears to be following the international pattern in paying more attention to informal caregivers and investing in support services for them. On the other hand the findings did not show any growth in support provided by the voluntary organizations. Here Swedish welfare is dissimilar to other European countries, where it is increasingly common for voluntary organizations to play an important role as providers of support for carers.

National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:esh:diva-166 (URN)10.1046/j.1467-9515.2003.00370.x (DOI)
Available from: 2010-05-27 Created: 2010-05-27 Last updated: 2011-04-18Bibliographically approved

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