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Family Matters in Health Care Delivery

Jennifer L. Wolff, PhD
JAMA. 2012;308(15):1529-1530. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.13366.
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The relevance of family, broadly defined as encompassing blood relatives as well as trusted friends and partners, influences health and health care across the life span. The considerable economic value conferred by families to patients and the health system is also widely acknowledged. According to a Congressional Budget Office report, “The value of donated care probably exceeds that of any other category of long-term care financing but is difficult to quantify in dollar terms.”1 According to an Institute of Medicine report entitled Retooling for an Aging America, “the entire health care workforce, including both formal and informal caregivers need to have the requisite data, knowledge, and tools to provide high-quality care.”2

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