RAND Caregiving Initiative

Man laughing with elderly woman in wheelchair, photo by SolStock/Getty Images

Most people know a family in which someone has dementia or another chronic condition that affects their ability to care for themselves. That means most of us know someone who is caring for that friend or relative, often at significant cost to their own health, career, and financial security. At some point, the person giving or receiving care may be you.

RAND recognizes that caregiving support is in short supply for these family caregivers and the more than 12 million Americans who need their help with eating, bathing, or managing medications. In addition to the emotional and physical demands of caregiving, workforce productivity suffers as full-time workers often become full-time caregivers. By 2050, people needing help with basic activities will more than double in number, and the United States is woefully unprepared.

The caregiving system is fragmented, costly, and sometimes insufficient. Most efforts to date have been done in isolation: For example, some have focused only on family members who provide care; some on the formal caregiving workforce; and some have looked only at one population in need of care. Promising approaches to getting effective and affordable care to people in the setting they desire are being developed and tested. But most have not been well integrated into the broader health care and social systems, reducing their potential impact.

We need a comprehensive approach that explores solutions across the caregiving landscape—from making care more affordable, to supporting family caregivers, to getting high-quality care to people in the setting they desire. To help head off this looming crisis, RAND has launched the Caregiving Initiative.

What Will the RAND Caregiving Initiative Do?

Identify Solutions that have been developed or proposed, including policies (Family and Medical Leave Act, long-term care insurance or new financing options), innovative technologies (telehealth, remote monitoring, robots or artificial intelligence), and caregiver interventions from the United States and around the world.

Evaluate Solutions for effectiveness, cost, and feasibility; assess relative strengths and weaknesses; consider the best combinations of solutions; and determine which innovative approaches can be sustained. We will explore solutions to common needs shared across groups, as well as those of specific groups (children with disabilities, disabled adults, people with dementia).

Develop New Simulation Models to project future care needs and evaluate the effects of interventions and policy solutions. We will also examine diverse needs and potential solutions for different geographic areas and subpopulations, especially particularly vulnerable groups.

Test Solutions using a network of senior centers, nursing homes, and local communities. We will test policies, technologies, and new ideas in real world settings; and determine how to scale interventions to the state and national levels.

Our Goals: Better Outcomes

  • Improve health and quality of life for people in need of care and their families
  • Help people with disabilities remain in the community
  • Implement more efficient and cost-effective care
  • Better support the caregiving workforce

Integrating Family Caregivers into the Formal Care Team

This project will develop a framework for integrating family caregivers into the formal care team by examining existing efforts, identifying barriers and how they may be overcome, identifying facilitators and how to leverage them, and developing a multi-sector framework for how to move this effort forward.

Read the News Release
  • Commentary

    Recognizing Family Caregivers as Part of the Health Care Team

    Recent shifts in health care practices have left family caregivers increasingly responsible for medical tasks. Given family caregivers' central role in medical care, there are efforts underway to improve family caregiver integration into the health care team, but there are barriers to effective integration and engagement.

How Can You Help? Support the RAND Caregiving Initiative

The RAND Caregiving Initiative invites you to join us in this critical effort to improve the effectiveness, quality, and cost of caregiving. Whether you are an employer, a provider, an insurer, a funder, a policymaker, or a caregiver yourself, the RAND Caregiving Initiative needs your expertise, experience, and financial support.

Our Vision: Solutions that are sustainable

  • Identify effective and sustainable solutions, not merely study problems
  • Unify emerging and innovative solutions across sectors
  • Quantify the impact of solutions across a variety of outcomes and stakeholders
  • Scale up existing efforts
  • Inform policies to sustain solutions

Our Approach: Comprehensive and systematic

  • Assess policies and approaches to close the caregiving gap
  • Identify technologies most likely to help
  • Examine combinations of policies and programs to determine which are most effective

Contact Us

Peter S. Hussey
Director, RAND Health Care