Between State, society and family: the care of female caregivers

ABSTRACT Objective: to investigate the care provided by family female caregivers of elderly dependents who have been monitored by public home care and its social repercussions, discussing the facets between State, society and families. Method: descriptive cross-sectional study, with 45 caregivers of elderly patients accompanied by Home Care Services. Data were collected by means of a structured script. The discussion was elaborated in light of the works "Cuidado e cuidadoras: as várias faces do trabalho do 'care'" (Care and female caregivers: the several faces of the care work) and "Gênero e trabalho na França e no Brasil" (Gender and work in France and Brazil). Results: Most caregivers were women (95%) who performed home care at several places and incorporated hospital equipment into everyday life. They have been caregivers for four and a half years, working 18 hours a day on average; they presented average age of 55 years; 82% were ill, and 43% had no income. Conclusion: the study demonstrated the relevance of the care of female caregivers to society as well as their invisibility to public health and social policies.