The emotional and practical support needs of family care-partners of Veterans for reducing depression and promoting wellbeing

University of South Australia 2021

Researchers: Dr Dannielle Post, Professor Gaynor Parfitt, Associate Professor Katherine Baldock, Dr Kate Gunn, Cleo Field, Donna Reggett

This project aimed to identify key factors and drivers of psychological and physical wellbeing for family care-partners of veterans across Australia. The findings of this project will inform recommendations for the provision of emotional and practical supports necessary to assist family care-partners to maintain their psychological and physical wellbeing, with the overarching intention of preventing depression.

In this study, the caring role has been demonstrated to have wide-ranging impacts on care-partners, on their physical and psychological health, on their ability to undertake self-care, including engaging in social activities and time spent with family and friends, and their ability to participate in paid employment outside of the home.

The findings demonstrated that care-partners’ capacity to go to work and engage in high-quality work deteriorated due to their caring role, and survey responses provided insight into the day-to-day experiences of employed care-partners. For some care-partners, work was no longer something they could do while caring, resulting in them leaving the workforce to focus on full-time care of their veteran. The sense of burden expressed by care-partners was higher, and the sense of personal gain and competency lower, in this study than recent validation studies in the carer population. This further reflects the potential for veteran care-partners to be at increased risk for negative outcomes associated with their caring role.