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Always on Call
When Illness Turns Families into Caregivers

Editor(s): Carol Levine

Combining powerful personal stories with astute analysis and recommendations, Always on Call reveals the hidden struggles of the more than 25 million family caregivers in the United States. While family members have always provided care for one another, recent changes in health care have placed tremendous new responsibilities on them--responsibilities that, only a decade ago, were a routine part of hospital care. The prevalence of chronic rather than acute illness, trends toward shorter hospital stays, increased outpatient care, and limited insurance benefits for in-home care now leave family caregiving as the only option for many Americans.

This book, first published in 2000 and now substantially updated, presents an intimate look at the world of family caregiving. The compelling narratives by caregivers capture the intensity of the caregiving experience, while chapters by noted health care professionals, many of whom speak of their own experiences, analyze the impact of caregiving, urge more professional advocacy on behalf of caregivers, and offer insightful suggestions for building partnerships for change and fostering improvement. This second edition includes:
- caregiving as a workplace dilemma
- the added burdens of end-of-life caregiving
- clinician-family conflicts (and new approaches for resolving them)
- new federal and state policy initiatives
- resources for families and professionals
- a new section on innovative caregiving programs
- new chapter on the financial impact of caregiving

Designed for family caregivers, health professionals, administrators, pastoral care providers, policymakers, patient and caregiver advocates, and human resource professionals, Always on Call is an essential book for understanding the current realities of family caregiving. Equally important, it builds a compelling case for change.

A United Hospital Fund Book

Biography of Editor(s)

Carol Levine directs the United Hospital Fund's Families and Health Care Project. She is a former editor of the Hastings Center Report. In 1993 she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for her work in AIDS policy and ethics. She edited Always On Call: When Illness Turns Families into Caregivers (2nd ed., Vanderbilt University Press, 2004).


  • In bold and compassionate essays, caregivers, activists and physicians take on the current 'process of market-driven health care' and turn it inside out, offering resources for caregivers and practical ideas for momentous change.
    --Publishers Weekly
  • Levine and her authors cover most of the essential dimensions of caregiving, including several richly detailed and emotionally powerful caregiver narratives that touch on a wide range of caregiver experiences. These intimate accounts reflect the grinding hardship, mundane routines, constant challenges, and spiritual fulfillment of caregiving.
    --The Gerontologist
  • . . . a wonderful book. the straightforward and simple style makes it a friendly resource for professionals and non-professionals.
    --Journal of Social Work in Long-Term Care
  • Always on Call provides useful advice to anyone who ever has been or will be a family caregiver, and it adds insights and policy suggestions that should enrich the broader health-care debate in this country.
    --Philadelphia Inquirer