Home Post-Stroke Caregiving Tops $11K a Year
Helping older survivors with daily activities costs more than previously estimated, researchers say
By Alan Mozes
THURSDAY, Feb. 18, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- The time spent caring for an older stroke survivor in the home totals about 22 hours a week, or more than $11,000 a year, a new study finds.
Paying bills, shopping and traveling to and from doctor's visits adds up, say researchers who found the true cost of post-stroke home care services for American seniors is much higher than previously estimated. Stroke survivors received about 10 more hours of caregiving from family or friends compared to seniors who had not had a stroke, the study found.
Study author Dr. Lesli Skolarus said more than half of seniors living at home after a stroke have some kind of caregiver on hand.
"Our team found stroke survivors receive an average of about 22 hours of [caregiver] help per week," she said, compared to about 12 hours a week for a comparable group of seniors with no stroke history.
"If all of this care was provided by a paid caregiver, the total cost would be huge," said Skolarus, an assistant professor in the neurology stroke program at the University of Michigan. "This includes basic and instrumental activities of daily living along with health care, money matters and transportation activities."
Skolarus said previous studies arrived at a 16-hour weekly tally, and pegged the national value of post-stroke home care services for at-home Medicare recipients at roughly $27 billion a year. But the true stroke caregiving bill approaches the $40 billion mark, her team concluded.
The study authors said prior analyses haven't accounted for the full value of the care that informal providers -- such as family and friends -- typically offer beyond the basic daily living assistance given older adults not in post-stroke recovery.
Skolarus and her colleagues were to present their findings Wednesday in Los Angeles at the annual meeting of the American Stroke Association. Data and conclusions presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
The study team focused on nearly 900 stroke survivors included in the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study and compared them with a similar group of seniors with no prior stroke. All were Medicare recipients living at home.