Barriers, facilitators, and motives to provide distance care, and the consequences for distance caregivers: A mixed-methods systematic review

Eva Bei, Val Morrison, Mikołaj Zarzycki, Noa Vilchinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Rationale: Distance caregivers (DCGs) are a growing population with substantial contributions to informal care. While much is known about the provision of local informal care, evidence from the distance caregiving population is lacking. Objective: This mixed-method systematic review examines barriers and facilitators of distance caregiving, determinants of motivations and willingness to provide distance care, and the impact on caregiver outcomes. Methods: A comprehensive search strategy was conducted in four electronic databases and grey literature to minimise potential publication bias. Thirty-four studies, including 15 quantitative, 15 qualitative, and 4 mixed-method studies were identified. Data synthesis involved a convergent integrated approach to integrate quantitative with qualitative findings, followed by thematic synthesis to identify key themes and subthemes. Results: Barriers and facilitators of providing distance care included contextual and socioeconomic aspects of geographic distance, communication and information resources, and local support networks that shaped the distance caregiver role and caregiver involvement. The main motives for caregiving given by DCGs were cultural values and beliefs, societal norms, and perceived expectations of caregiving encompassing the sociocultural context of the caregiving role. Interpersonal relationships and individual characteristics further shaped DCGs’ motivations and willingness to care from a geographic distance. DCGs experienced both positive and negative outcomes as a result of their distance caretaking responsibilities including feelings of satisfaction, personal growth, and enhanced relationship with the care recipient but also high levels of caregiver burden, social isolation, emotional distress, and anxiety. Conclusions: The reviewed evidence contributes toward novel understandings about the unique nature of distance care and have important implications for research, policy, healthcare, and social practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115782
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Barriers to care
  • Caregiver outcomes
  • Distance caregiving
  • Motives
  • Willingness to care

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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