Q:

What is the impact of high caregiver strain on Canada's health care system?

A:

Role overload and caregiver strain in Canada has a bearing on an individual employee’s health as well as the workplace in terms of the cost of benefits and the time spent away from work, according to Region of Peel. As of 2014, Canada’s health care system loses up to $1.1 billion annually in costs related to caregivers experiencing strain, as shown in a study reported in Region of Peel.

An employee under a high level of work-life strain misses an average of 11.8 days every year, according to Region of Peel. Staff who are exposed to three or more risk factors, such as smoking, inactive lifestyle and obesity, spend 50 percent more time away from work than employees with no such exposure. The more risk factors that a caregiver is exposed to, the more the loss to an employer.

According to Sage Open, there is a direct relationship between caregiving burden and the costs of carrying out family caregiving. The financial costs are tied to expenses incurred while giving care, and others emanate from forgone financial or monetary benefits in employment that result from taking on a caregiving role. Many family caregivers have low productivity levels at the workplace because of fatigue. Caregiving strain also brings about adverse health effects such as insomnia and frequent headaches.

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