Judith Bom on her PhD thesis: “Living at home for as long as possible is not the best solution for everyone”.

Judith Bom recently obtained her PhD at Erasmus University Rotterdam. She showed that informal caregivers can be stressed by the care and that people who are entering a nursing home do not appear to be worse off than they were at home. An interview.

Name: Dr. Judith Bom


PhD defense: 17 June 2021 at the Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Thesis: Formal and Informal Long-Term Care in an Ageing Society

What was your research about?
“With an ageing society, it is important to think about how we can continue to provide the best possible care for our elderly. Stimulating informal care and living at home for as long as possible are two possible solutions in this respect. In my dissertation I looked at the health effects of providing informal care and the determinants of a nursing home admission.”

How did you conduct your research?
“I combined large CBS datasets with data from various annual surveys. This allowed me to link information about individuals, for example their self-reported well-being or informal care activities, to aspects such as income or the use of care. This allowed me to follow individuals over a longer period of time and get a better picture of the effects of, for example, providing informal care or the reasons for a nursing home admission.”

What emerged?
“That informal caregivers can be overburdened by the care. They may experience a great deal of stress or even depression. While informal care may seem like a free alternative to formal care, it is important to realise that there is a price to pay.”

And what else?
“We found that people who are admitted to a nursing home are no worse off there than they are at home. Looking at loneliness, for example, we see that older people report relatively high levels of loneliness both before and after entering a nursing home. The findings seem to indicate that nursing homes provide care to people who already have low levels of well-being.”

So how will the research proceed?
“I will be working as an assistant professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam and continue with research and teaching on long-term care.”

What benefit did you get from Netspar?
“My dissertation was written as part of a larger Netspar project to which I have greatly enjoyed contributing. In addition, I have had the opportunity to present my work at various Netspar meetings in recent years. This has given me the opportunity to get to know many interesting research projects and researchers.”

Want to know more?
News item EUR (in Dutch) | Phd thesis

Photo: (c) EUR

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