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The Cultures of Caregiving: Conflict and Common Ground among Families, Health Professionals, and Policy Makers

By Carol Levine and Thomas H. Murray
(Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004)

As the population ages and the health care system focuses on cost-containment, family caregivers have become the frontline providers of most long-term and chronic care. Patient care at home falls mainly on untrained and unprepared family members, who struggle to adjust to the new roles, responsibilities, and expenses. Because the culture of family caregivers – their values, priorities, and relationships to the patient – often differs markedly from that of professionals, the result can be conflict and misunderstanding.

In The Cultures of Caregiving, Carol Levine and Thomas Murray bring together accomplished physicians, nurses, social workers, and policy experts to examine the differences and conflicts (and sometimes common ground) between family caregivers and health care professionals – and to suggest ways to improve the situation. Topics addressed include family caregivers and the health care system; cultural diversity and family caregiving; the changing relationship between nurses, home care aides, and families; long-term health care policy; images of family caregivers in film; and the ethical dimensions of professional and family responsibilities.The Cultures of Caregiving provides needed answers in the contemporary crisis of family caregiving for a readership of professionals and students in medical ethics, health policy, and such fields as primary care, geriatrics, oncology, nursing, and social work.

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