They are the forgotten healthcare providers. Their work is widespread, but almost completely unrecognized by society. No matter how efficient the system may be, without their efforts, it would not generate the same results for patients or society.
We all appreciate the work of healthcare professions, such as doctors, nurses, auxiliaries, pharmacists and administrators. But there is a key element that is unfairly neglected; it is often the most essential: the patient’s caregiver.
A caregiver is usually the partner, the mother, the father, the daughter, the son, the brother, the sister; someone very close to the patient. Without them, the patient might not be able to deal with an illness or process, or even get better. If this selfless unpaid activity is important in acute episodes, it is even more so in chronic problems. If it is important in physical illnesses, it is so much more so in disability and mental health disorders.
The day to day work of a caregiver can often be the equivalent of a full working day. This obviously has a significant physical and, in many cases, emotional impact. In turn, it prevents you from pursuing a normal working life or means making other sacrifices, in order to dedicate and important part of your time, of your life to your loved one.
It is estimated that in Europe, 80% of healthcare is provided ‘informally’ through caregivers, and that the economic value of this care could be equivalent to between 50% and 90% of the cost of long-term healthcare provision in the EU.
Despite the enormous social and economic value, the caregiver usually receives no remuneration or social recognition. However, these are not the motivations of caregivers; some do this selfless and essential work through obligation, desperation or because they have no other options. Many others do it because they find it a great source of personal satisfaction and emotional gratification.
The caregiver's work is, therefore, fundamental. And it will be much more so in the future, given the aging population and the prevalence of chronic diseases.
In mental health, this care goes even further. It includes, among other things, the task of ensuring that the rights and interests of the people they provide care for are recognized and protected. This struggle against marginalization and stigmatization goes hand in hand with being involved in the therapy and care decisions of these patients.
Ferrer is aware of the immense work of caregivers and their indispensable contribution to the sustainability and efficiency of our health systems. For this reason, Ferrer is also developing support programs for caregivers based on cutting-edge technologies for various mental health issues, to complement their care and help them improve the care they give their loved ones.
This is also why Ferrer supports charities for caregivers and their patients, helping to raise awareness of this fundamental pillar of our health systems and their indispensable work.