Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

Possible Questions for Assessment of Families and Caregivers

Areas to Assess
Possible Questions
Relationship to care recipient
Duration of caregiving
Physical environment (home, facility)
Household status (number in home, etc.)
Financial status
Employment status (work/home/volunteer)
Quality of family relationships
What is the caregiver’s relationship to the care recipient?
How long has he/she been in the caregiving role?
Does the care recipient live in the same household as the caregiver?
Is the caregiver married? Does he/she have children? How many people live in the caregiver’s household?
Are other family members or friends involved in the care?
Is the caregiver currently employed? Full-time or part-time?
What is the caregiver’s household income?
How would the caregiver rate his/her quality of family relationships?
Caregiver/care recipient willingness to assume/ accept care
Perceived obligation to provide care
Culturally based norms
Preferences for scheduling and delivery of care and services
Is the caregiver willing to assume the caregiver role? Is the care recipient willing to accept care?
Does the caregiver feel he/she is obligated to provide care?
What types of care arrangements are considered culturally acceptable for this family?
What are the caregiver’s (and care recipient’s) preferences for scheduling and delivery of care and services?
Self-rated health:
  • Health conditions and symptoms
  • Depression or other emotional distress (e.g. anxiety)
  • Life satisfaction/quality of life
How does the caregiver rate his/her own health?
Does the caregiver rate his/her health better, about the same, or worse than it was 6 months ago?
Does the caregiver have any health conditions or symptoms?
How often in the past 6 months has the caregiver had a medical exam or received treatment for physical health problems from a health-care practitioner?
How often does the caregiver feel anxious or angry when he/she is around the care recipient?
How often does the caregiver get a full night’s sleep?
How does the caregiver rate his/her life satisfaction and/or quality of life?
Perceived challenges
Does the caregiver have a social support network or is he/she isolated?
Does the caregiver suffer any work-related difficulties due to the caregiving role?
Does the caregiver suffer from any emotional and/or physical health problems as a result of caregiving?
How much does the caregiver’s health stand in the way of doing things he/she wants to do?
What has been the financial strain, if any, on the caregiver due to his/her caregiving role?
How much disagreement has the caregiver experienced with other family members over particular care issues?
Perceived benefits
Does the caregiver feel satisfaction in helping a family member?
Does the caregiver feel he/she has developed new skills and knowledge as a result of caregiving?
Has there been an improvement in family relationships (general closeness, communication, similarity of views, and degree of getting along) as a result of the caregiving situation?
Caregiving confidence and competencies
Appropriate knowledge of medical care tasks (wound care, etc.)
How knowledgeable does the caregiver feel about the care recipient’s condition?
What are the skills and abilities needed to provide care for the care recipient?
How would the caregiver rate his/her confidence and competence in these areas?
Does the caregiver have the appropriate knowledge of medical care tasks (wound care, ability to administer medications correctly, etc.) and transfer techniques (moving from bed to chair, etc.)?
Helping network and perceived social support
Existing or potential strengths (e.g. what is presently going well)
Coping strategies
Financial resources (health-care and service benefits, entitlements such as Veteran’s Affairs, insurance benefits)
Community resources and services (caregiver support programs, religious organizations, volunteer agencies)
Can the caregiver rely on his/her social support network for help (i.e. respite)?
What are the caregiver’s coping strategies?
Are these healthy/ constructive?
Has the caregiver accessed all financial benefits and entitlements he/she or care recipient is eligible for (e.g. Veteran’s Affairs)?
What other community resources/services is the caregiver utilizing or aware of (e.g. caregiver support groups, religious organizations)?

Adapted from: Family Caregiver Alliance. (2006). Caregivers Count Too! A Toolkit to Help Practitioners Assess the Needs of Family Caregivers. San Francisco: Family Caregiver Alliance.