Costs of Caregiving – Part II

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Guide
  • In Part I of this blog, I told you something you probably already know if you are raising a baby or child with reflux—the financial burdens can be great. In fact, the financial aspect of having a baby with reflux had such a big impact on our family, we dedicated an entire chapter in our book, Making Life Better for a Child with Acid Reflux, to “money matters.”

    After understanding the potential costs of reflux (Part I) the next logical step is to look at the affordability of caregiving for your family. This information is in no way meant to scare you, but rather to help you plan as much as possible, and seek financial assistance if it is needed.

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    Affordability is sometimes defined as expenditures (what you are paying) relative to your ability to pay. With that written, one of the questions I am trying to help you answer is this: when do the costs of taking care of a family member with a chronic illness, like reflux, become financially catastrophic for your family?

    For your particular family, the answer to this question is going to depend on the severity of your baby or child’s reflux, and your present financial resources. In general, there are some rules of thumb to consider.

    There are actually researchers out there who are trying to figure out when the cost of caring for a family member with a chronic illness is financially catastrophic, and they have come up with at least two streams of thought. First, some researchers use a ratio of out-of-pocket expenses to family income. Based on their research, these researchers say that if the family is spending between 10 to 20 percent of their income on out-of-pocket medical expenses, then the family has reached the catastrophic threshold. Second, other experts in this area say medical care becomes financially catastrophic when the costs of the care endangers the family’s ability to maintain its customary standard of living.

    Both the cost and affordability of caregiving must be understood in order to avoid a catastrophic situation. The rules-of-thumb above can be starting places for you and your family in your financial discussions. The most important point to remember is that taking care of a family member with a chronic illness can be serious financial business.

    In the next part of this blog, I will recommend some ideas that may decrease your costs and increase your resources.

Published On: November 27, 2006