Informal Cost of Dementia Care – A Proxy-Good Valuation in Ireland
This paper values the informal costs of dementia care in Ireland based on recently agreed national costing framework. Drawing on a survey of 270 Irish dementia caregivers, the hours of informal care per day are estimated using variables of individual characteristics, functional limitations and behavioural problems. This estimation finds that an interlinked workcohabitation effect significantly predicts the total informal care available and suggests that increasing burden on carers may alter overall welfare. Given conflict in carers’ personal priorities, this paper calculates the market value of formal services to inform equitable distribution of dementia care required. By associating “proxy-good’ market values to dementia symptoms requiring specific types of care, the per diem costs of care are estimated to range from €240.96 (early-stage) to €570.04 (late-stage). As burnout is a major risk factor in prolonged care, this paper indicates the formal value of the output of care from a public health service perspective. Policy initiatives to improve technical and allocative efficiency of formal dementia services are required to reduce reliance on informal care.
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