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Older Patients and Caregivers Differ in Assessments of the Quality of Chronic Illness Care

Caregivers who often accompany patients to physician office visits are well-positioned to provide additional information on the quality of patients’ chronic illness care.

A new study suggests older patients with chronic illnesses and their caregivers can differ in their assessments of the patient's quality of care.

Researchers compared patients’ self reports and their caregivers’ independent ratings of the quality of chronic illness care, and found the agreement between patients and caregivers was low.

Patients who were following a more complex treatment plan (taking many medications) or having more difficulty following a treatment plan were less likely to agree with their caregiver about the quality of care.

Patient-caregiver dyads had greater agreement on objective questions than on subjective questions.

The researchers believe that for some patient-caregiver dyads, the caregiver’s report may be more accurate than the patient's report. This may be particularly true for caregivers who are providing substantial support in managing the patients’ health care or for patients with cognitive impairment.

To learn more, see Geovannetti et al. (2013). Do older patients and their family caregivers agree about the quality of chronic illness care? International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 25(5), 515-524.

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