Rees et al identified ways to support a person providing long-term care to a spouse or partner. This support can improve patient care, the caregiver's quality of life, and avoid or delay hospital admissions. The authors are from Taunton and Somerset Hospital in England, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and the University of Bristol.


Ways to support a long-term caregiver of a spouse or partner:

(1) Recognize the burdens faced by the caregiver and offer appropriate support.

(2) Try to have the caregiver present during consultations with the patient when appropriate.

(3) During joint interviews inquire about both the caregiver's and the patient's concerns.

(4) During joint interviews encourage the couple to discuss issues not previously addressed.

(5) Identify the caregiver's needs and address them separately from those of the spouse or partner.

(6) Provide written instructions for patient care.

(7) Provide information about support groups and other resources for both patient and caregiver.


Additional suggestions may include:

(8) Consider the impact on the caregiver of decisions made for the spouse or partner.

(9) Make appropriate suggestions for interventions to reduce the caregiver burdens if the caregiver appears to be overwhelmed.


To read more or access our algorithms and calculators, please log in or register.