Approximately one in four American adults have multiple chronic conditions. As people live longer and acute illnesses become chronic conditions, the need for formal and informal caregiving has grown tremendously. In 2015, it is estimated that approximately 43.5 million caregivers provided unpaid care to an adult or child. And the need for caregiving is only expected to increase as our Nation ages. Adults over the age of 80—who have a high likelihood of physical and cognitive impairments and great need of caregiving services—represent the fastest-growing population of older adults in the U.S. And it isn’t only older adults who may need caregiving services—one in 15 children in the U.S. have multiple chronic conditions that could require caregiving services.
As in all areas of health and healthcare, improving our understanding of the science of caregiving will lead to better health outcomes and quality of life for patients and their caregivers. Accordingly, the National Institute of Nursing Research and its partners across the National Institutes of Health are hosting a research summit that will provide perspectives across the spectrum of caregiving, including the importance of caregiving across the lifespan as well as current and future directions for research to improve the health of patients and caregivers. This summit will bring together representatives of the research, advocacy, clinician, education, and caregiver communities, and comes at a crucial time for our Nation.
The summit’s keynote speaker is Judy Woodruff of PBS NewsHour. In addition, the Directors of Ceremonies for the event are Gail Hunt of the National Alliance for Caregiving on August 7th and Dr. Laura Gitlin of the Center for Innovative Care in Aging at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing on August 8th. Five panels comprised of distinguished scientists and advocates from across the caregiving community will discuss:
- Issues and Challenges in Caregiving
- Creating Change in Caregiving: Research to Policy
- Caregiving Research Focused on Children, Teens, and Young Adults
- Caregiving Research Focused on Acute, Serious Illnesses and Conditions
- Caregiving Research Focused on Chronic Conditions/Dementia/Alterations in Cognition
NINR’s partners for this event include the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Aging, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences’ Office of Rare Diseases Research, the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, the NIH Office of Disease Prevention, and the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health. The broad spectrum of research interests represented by these partners illustrates the level of dedication to caregiving research across the NIH.
Portions of this event are made possible by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, with generous support by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing; Oncology Nursing Society; The Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Department of Population Sciences, Division of Nursing Research and Education; and The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI).
The summit will be held August 7–8, 2017 in Ruth Kirschstein Auditorium, Natcher Building (Building 45) - NIH Campus, Bethesda, MD. Additionally, the summit will be live-streamed and archived for on-demand public viewing at: https://videocast.nih.gov/.
There is no doubt that the needs of our Nation’s caregivers and their loved ones are significant. Just as significant, however, are the opportunities to build the research base for caregiver and loved-one support. I look forward to the productive discussions among all the communities in attendance at this Summit and their impact on this area of science.
For more information, please visit https://www.ninr.nih.gov/caregivingsummit.