Family carers' experiences using support services in Europe: Empirical evidence from the EUROFAMCARE study

Giovanni Lamura, Eva Mnich, Mike Nolan, Beata Wojszel, Barbro Krevers, Liz Mestheneos, Hanneli Döhner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This article explores the experiences of family carers of older people in using support services in six European countries: Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Sweden, and the UK. Design and Methods: Following a common protocol, data were collected from national samples of approximately 1,000 family carers per country and clustered into comparable subgroups to facilitate cross-national analysis. Results: Carers' use of available support services is limited across Europe but is considerably higher in Germany, Sweden, and the UK than in Poland, Greece, and Italy. Service use is more prevalent among wives and carers with stronger support networks and less frequent among working daughters with high jevels of burden, suggesting the need for a reconsideration of eligibility criteria and better targeting of service responses. Access to and use of services is characterized by a divide between carers in northwestern Europe, who experience few difficulties other than the older person's refusal to accept the support offered, and carers in southeastern Europe, where service affordability and poor transportation present remarkable barriers. Concerns regarding the timeliness and quality of support are common to all countries. Implications: European Union-wide efforts to improve carer support need to focus on improving the care system's ability to provide timely, high-quality care delivered by staff who treat the older person with dignity and respect, and to enhance cooperation between health professionals (in all countries), informal networks (especially in southeastern Europe), social services (particularly in Sweden and the UK), and voluntary organizations (in Germany and the UK).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)752-771
Number of pages20
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008


  • European comparison
  • Family carers
  • Service use and access
  • Support services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology


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