In this Lesson from the Field, we examine changes in the burden experienced by caregivers of persons who experience homelessness associated with lack employment, employability or education, and mental health challenges when the care recipient receives support from an outreach professional known as a social street worker (herein identified as worker). In addition, we focus on caregivers’ perception of change in the quality of their relationship with the person for whom they care and whether the caregivers receive support from the worker.
In the Netherlands, due to the transformation toward a participation society, persons living in compromised circumstances must increasingly rely on caregivers for support and shelter instead of relying on services, such as support from social community teams.
Workers provided by a Dutch organization covering the northwest of the Netherlands gained the consent of their clients to contact the clients’ caregivers. Caregivers were invited to participate in the research and completed consent. A total of 111 caregivers of persons receiving support from workers completed surveys.
Caregivers who had more contact with the worker worried less about the person for whom they provided care. No changes were found regarding tension between caregivers and the person for whom they cared. Most caregivers (73%) perceived positive changes in the quality of the relationship with the person for whom they provided care, and 52% received support from the worker.
Most carers did not perceive changes in their burden, but did perceived positive changes in the quality of the relationship with the person for whom they cared and received support themselves.
Our study underpins the need to recognize the caregiver’s burden of caregivers who support marginalized people, to connect with these caregivers, and to support them.