CHARLESTOWN, R.I. -- The health care system is changing and the vital role of the family caregiver is receiving increased national recognition. The family caregiver has reached a position of unprecedented importance, because they are partners in care provision, health care decision-makers and significant purchasers of goods and services. Over 25 million people in America currently provide care for their family members at home, and that number is expected to dramatically increase.
But information regarding the buying habits, needs and opinions of family caregivers has not been compiled into an informative, strategically impactful format until now. The Caregiver's Advisory Panel (TCAP), a market research and consulting firm, has addressed these and many other questions in its annual study, "Caregiving in the U.S. - Needs, Issues and Insights."
The first research panel of its kind, TCAP is comprised of thousands of family caregivers from all regions of the United States who represent virtually all caregiving situations and circumstances.
The study, which is based on survey responses from more than 1,200 family caregivers, has uncovered significant insights into the buying habits and needs of this powerful consumer segment.
For example, the study discovered that 96 percent of caregivers influence decisions regarding the purchase of caregiving health products, and 79 percent of caregivers purchase all or nearly all of those products.
Further, the study identifies whom caregivers trust as a source for practical caregiving information: caregiver and disease-specific organizations, doctors, specialty therapists and home health professionals were the five most preferred sources.
"The response rate to the survey was approximately 70 percent, and I think that clearly confirms our belief that caregivers have been longing for a way to communicate their needs to the providers of products and services that they rely on," said Paul Alper, founder and president of TCAP.
The study provides answers to the many other questions about the caregiver population, including caregiver demographics, caregiving situations and relationships, diseases cared for, activities of daily living that caregivers help with, product usage and satisfaction, brand awareness, interest in new products and services, channel preferences, brand loyalty and shopping preferences.
The study also includes four category specific sections investigating incontinence care; wound care and prevention; bathing and skin care; and nutrition. A comprehensive research prospectus is available at the firm's Web site and research specifications are also available upon request. The strategic report and data digest subscriptions are available for purchase.
In addition to the annual study, TCAP also offers customized market research (proprietary quantitative and qualitative studies) and product evaluations by panel members. The company was founded by Paul Alper of Alper Associates, Inc., a strategic marketing consulting practice.
"Over the past three years, Alper Associates has had several consulting assignments from manufacturers of skin care, wound care, adult incontinence and nutritional products for which we needed to do research into the needs and wants of family caregivers," Alper said. "Since no database was available for market research, we decided to create and launch a panel with thousands of family caregivers to meet the informational needs of health care product manufacturers, financial services companies, home health service providers, and home health care/medical supply retailers. We're passionate about helping translate caregiver needs into insight for innovation."
In an effort to assemble its national panel of caregivers, TCAP has forged collaborative relationships with caregiver support organizations, including the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA), Children of Aging Parents (CAPS) and the Well Spouse Foundation. Suzanne Mintz, President and Founder of NFCA said in a letter to her membership, "I encourage all NFCA members to join TCAP. It's a win/win for all of us."
Well Spouse Foundation President George Hopper, in speaking about its board's recent approval of a collaborative partnership with TCAP said, "It is Well Spouse's hope that by participating with TCAP research, our members will help provide the insight that leads to health care products and services that better meet the medical needs of disabled or chronically ill spouses and partners."