Caregiver burden and the client perspective on veterinary care

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‘In the Spotlight’ features bring together collections of published papers on topics of interest and importance to the veterinary professions.

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Caregiver burden and the client perspective on veterinary care

Published 1 February 2022 | Updated 21 July 2023

The concept of caregiver burden has come from human healthcare, where it is used to describe difficulties encountered while providing care for an individual with illness, especially a chronic illness or disability. The stress on the caregiver can have financial and social consequences as well as impacts on the physical and mental health of the caregiver.

While we are used to considering the effect of disease or disability on the quality of life of our patients, we are less used to thinking about the potential effects that caring for an animal with a chronic condition or disability has on their owners. There is now some literature that explores the concept of caregiver burden as it relates to the owners of veterinary patients, especially to companion animals with long-term conditions.

The purpose of this collection is to bring together published resources relating to the concept of caregiver burden. As this is a relatively new concept in veterinary medicine, it also contains some papers relating to broader client perspectives on looking after animals with certain conditions as well as their perceptions of accessing veterinary care.

The papers are grouped to give a general introduction to the concept of caregiver burden, and some insight on the client perspective through links to some of the “What is your client thinking?” articles from the Veterinary Record.

This is followed by papers relating to the client perspective on caring for animals with a particular illness or disability. This section does not specifically look at issues of the animal’s quality of life which are covered in a separate in the Spotlight feature on Quality of life Assessment tools.

The final section looks at client perspectives on aspects of veterinary services and their expectations in terms of information provision and shared decision making.

As with our other collections, papers are chosen for relevance and accessibility, with the full text of articles either being available through the RCVS Knowledge Library or from other publications of which a significant number of veterinary professionals are likely to have access.

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