Inclusion of Caregivers in Veterans’ Care: A Critical Literature Review

Nathan A. Boucher, Megan Shepherd-Banigan, Kevin McKenna, Roxana E. Delgado, Kimberly Peacock, Courtney H. Van Houtven, Megan Van Noord, Nina R. Sperber

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


More direct inclusion of informal caregivers (i.e., family, friends) in patients’ care will make care more patient- and family-centered and has the potential to improve overall quality of care for patients. We need to understand what potentially comprises “inclusive care” so that we can define what “inclusive care” is and develop targets for care quality metrics. We conducted a critical literature review to identify key components of “caregiver inclusion.” Focusing on extant literature from 2005 to 2017, 35 papers met inclusion criteria. Directed content analysis with constant comparison was used to identify major themes related to a concept of “inclusive care.” Our analysis indicates that “inclusive care” entails five components: clear definition of caregiver role, system level policies for inclusion, explicit involvement of caregiver, provider assessment of caregiver capability, and mutuality in caregiver–provider communication. We discuss the evidence behind these five components using the Donabedian health care quality conceptual model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-474
Number of pages12
JournalMedical Care Research and Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • caregivers
  • decision making
  • health care delivery
  • veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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