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on a positive impact

Providing Relief to Informal Caregivers in Switzerland

Informal caregivers — people who are not paid to provide care — are rarely recognized as valued in a country’s health system. However, they are critical to ensuring individuals and patients in need of continuous care are well supported beyond the doctor’s office.

In Switzerland, an estimated 300,000 people are currently caring for an elderly, sick or chronically ill person at home. Informal caregiving can be as demanding as a full- or part-time job. However, support and training to cope with this demand are rarely available. This can put a strain on the mental and physical wellbeing of caregivers and compromise the support they provide to the people they care for.

Grounded in an appreciation for informal caregivers and their vital role in stronger health systems, the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies in Switzerland, together with the Johnson & Johnson Corporate Citizenship Trust, has partnered with the Swiss Red Cross (SRC) to offer relief to relatives who care for dementia patients. This program provides participating households with a qualified, SRC-employed caregiver who can take on home care for a few hours in the form of “relief hours.”

In 2017, the Johnson & Johnson and Swiss Red Cross partnership provided 49,021 relief hours for dementia caregivers. This respite greatly benefited the mental and physical health of caregivers, consequently improving the quality of care they provide to their patients.

If health systems are truly to meet the health needs of all their citizens, it is essential to recognize the role of informal caregivers and provide them with the support and skill-building opportunities needed to build their capacity to provide long-term care. This is particularly important for caregivers in underserved and marginalized communities with fewer resources available.

Building the resiliency of informal caregivers and continuing to explore new models of care will improve the health of communities and will be vital to building strong health systems that provide quality health to all.