The experiences of working carers of older people regarding access to a web-based family care support network offered by a municipality
2017 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, ISSN 0283-9318, E-ISSN 1471-6712Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Policy makers in Sweden and other European Member States pay increasing attention as to how best support working carers; carers juggling providing unpaid family care for older family members while performing paid work. Exploring perceived benefits and challenges with web-based information and communication technologies as a means of supporting working carers' in their caregiving role, this paper draws on findings from a qualitative study. The study aimed to describe working carers' experiences of having access to the web-based family care support network 'A good place' (AGP) provided by the municipality to support those caring for an older family member. Content analysis of interviews with nine working carers revealed three themes: A support hub, connections to peers, personnel and knowledge; Experiencing ICT support as relevant in changing life circumstances; and Upholding one's personal firewall. Findings indicate that the web-based family care support network AGP is an accessible, complementary means of support. Utilising support while balancing caregiving, work obligations and responsibilities was made easier with access to AGP; enabling working carers to access information, psychosocial support and learning opportunities. In particular, it provided channels for carers to share experiences with others, to be informed, and to gain insights into medical and care issues. This reinforced working carers' sense of competence, helping them meet caregiving demands and see positive aspects in their situation. Carers' low levels of digital skills and anxieties about using computer-based support were barriers to utilising web-based support and could lead to deprioritising of this support. However, to help carers overcome these barriers and to better match web-based support to working carers' preferences and situations, web-based support must be introduced in a timely manner and must more accurately meet each working carer's unique caregiving needs.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2017.
Working carers, Unpaid carers, Family care support, Information and communication technology, Web-based, Municipal care
Research subject Health and Caring Sciences, Caring Science
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-61515DOI: 10.1111/scs.12361OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-61515DiVA: diva2:1083414