Labor and Cost in AIDS Family Caregiving

Deborah Ward, Marie Annette Brown, Vicki R. Strang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


When the costs of care for persons with AIDS are calculated, the assumption is made that the care provided by the family or other social support network members is a social and not also an economic contribution. This article challenges theflawed assumption of “free” care, focuses on the labor and economic dimensions offamily home care, and presents a calculation of the dollar value of this care for persons with AIDS (PWAs). The sample consisted of 53 persons, each of whom identified themselves as the primary caregiver for a PWA. Studyfindings revealed caregiver estimates of 5 hours a week of housework performed specificallyfor the PWA. Caregivers spent an average of 8.5 hours a day performing personal care tasks for the PWA. The three most common activities were providing companionship, running errands, and performing food/meal-related activities. Gendercomparisons revealedthat women performed more hours of housework than men but that both provided similar types of personal care for similar numbers of hours. Using a market valuation method, the value of a day's caregiving work was estimated to be $43.78. The annual value of unpaid care, including housework, for one PWA was calculated to be $25,857.88. These data documenta significant economic contribution byfamilies and friends caringfor PWAs. This subsidy must be included as part of the policy andplanning work essential to addressing the AIDS epidemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-25
Number of pages16
JournalWestern Journal of Nursing Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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