AMA Guide Highlights Importance of Caring for Caregivers

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Caregiver burnout  is associated with stress, depression, and physical symptoms in some cases.
Caregiver burnout is associated with stress, depression, and physical symptoms in some cases.

(HealthDay News) -- Physicians have a role to play in caring for caregivers to help prevent burnout, according to a guide for physicians published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

The role of caregiver is one of compassion and responsibility, which places mental, physical, and financial burdens on individuals, thereby increasing the risk for experiencing burnout. Physicians should recognize the challenges associated with informal caregiving and the impact that caregiver burnout can have on patient care.

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According to the report, causes of caregiver burnout include confusion at being thrust into the role of caregiver; unrealistic expectations relating to the potential positive effect of caregivers; lack of control due to lack of money, resources, and/or skills; and unreasonable demands, often placed by caregivers themselves. Caregiver burnout can create symptoms of stress and depression, negatively affecting both the patient and the caregiver. Burnout can have harmful effects if left unaddressed, including mental and physical impairment in some cases. Physicians have an important role to play in providing support and guidance for caregivers by encouraging them to take care of themselves as well as conducting systematic assessments to identify needs.

"The new AMA guide provides an important resource to help physicians support and guide caregivers to do their best to cater to their loved ones, while being responsible for their own health too," AMA President David O. Barbe, M.D., M.H.A., said in a statement.

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