Current and potential support for chronic disease management in the United States: The perspective of family and friends of chronically ill adults

Family members and friends can be an important source of self-management support for older adults with chronic diseases. We characterized the U.S. population of potential and current “disease management supporters” for people with chronic illness who are independent in activities of daily living, the help that supporters could provide, and barriers to increasing support. We used a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults (N = 1,722). Forty-four percent of respondents (representing 100 million US adults) help a family member or friend with chronic disease management; another 9% (representing 21 million U.S. adults) are willing to start. Most are willing to assist with key tasks such as medication use and communicating with providers, although they feel constrained by privacy concerns and a lack of patient health information. The majority of U.S. adults already helps, or would be willing to help, one of their family members or friends with chronic illness care. Supporters’ specific concerns could be addressed through innovative programs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)