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Linkages between informal and formal care-givers in home-care networks of frail older adults


In ageing societies, policy makers aim for more contact between informal and formal care-givers as it may enhance the quality of care. So far, the linkage between formal and informal care-givers is generally studied from a one-sided or a single dyadic perspective, without taking into account that care networks of community-dwelling older adults often exist of multiple informal and formal care-givers. The current study examines discussion of care between all potential informal–formal care-giver dyads in a care network, and relates this to characteristics of the older care recipient, the care network and the care-givers. Seventy-four Dutch older care recipients provided information on all care-givers who helped with five different types of tasks; 410 care-givers reported on the contact between all care-givers identified. Multi-level logistic regression was conducted in 2,150 informal–formal care-giver dyads and revealed that in 26 per cent of all these dyads discussion on care occurred. This was more likely when both care-givers performed multiple types of tasks, the informal care-giver was residing with the care recipient, and contact within the formal and the informal sub-network was higher. To enhance discussion of care between informal and formal care-givers in care networks where no discussion occurs at all, home-care organisations may need to allocate formal care-givers who form a bridge with an extra-residential care-giver of care recipients living alone.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Marianne Jacobs, Department of Sociology, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1081, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands E-mail:
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Ageing & Society
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